Bald

I have hinted before that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last November.  It has really shaken things up here.  Not only did it make a crappy year even crappier (stupid 2010), it has changed how often we see my parents as well as altered my babysitting help. It has darkened my mortality, but it has brought out the optimism and fighting nature of my mom.  Granted, it helped that she realized she needed back on antidepressants.  And yes, my dad and brother are grateful.

But with cancer-fighting comes chemo.  And with chemo comes the dramatic loss of hair.  As my mom struggled with the thought of being bald, my dad made the decision to finally shave his head, something my mom had wanted him to do for years.  It was a huge thing for my dad because he’s been bald for years, and the thought of loosing ALL of his hair nearly killed him.  Since my dad was doing it, my baby brother volunteered.  That was a huge deal because his widow’s peak gets more noticable by the month, and he prefers to hide it.

Since my dad and baby brother were shaving their heads, my mom asked me what I was planning to do.  For five agonizing minutes I thought.  “Mom.  (deep breath)  (another deep breath)  What about the Little Brother?”  Yeah, I couldn’t do it.  (And apparently, neither could he.  Wuss.)

But since my mom, my dad, the most favorite uncle – The Friendly Giant- were shaving their heads, Tornado E decided to do the same.  What could we say?  Sure, he doesn’t know exactly why everyone is doing it.  It’s not the same sacrifice.  But he did in solidarity too.

So we took him to get his head shaved.

After two passes with the razor, Tornado E turned to me and said, “Mommy, I’m done now.”

Um, no.

With just one more pass to go on the razor, Tornado E turned to me, “I like it like this.  Can we stop now?”

Um, hell, no.

When it was all shaved off, Tornado E looked at himself in the mirror, giggled, and whirled around the barber shop like the tornado he is.  He loved it.  We loved it.  My mom cried when she saw it.  Some of the moms at school cried when they saw it.

The next day, Tornado E jumped around the house in the middle of some daydream.  He looked up and called, “HEY, MOMMY!  You need to buy me a wig now that I’m bald!”

Um, no.

I’m thankful that I didn’t allow his head to get flat.

Picking a favorite relative

Tornado E: Mommy, when you were a little girl, you didn’t have me.  You had to get older and become a grown up first.  Then you had Tornado S and me and Tornado A.

Me: That’s right.

Tornado E: And Grandma is older than you?

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: Is Grandma S older than Grandma?

Me: Yes, she is.

Tornado E: Is Grandma S older than Papi?

Me: Yes, she is.

Tornado E: Is Grandma S older than Papa?

Me: Um, I don’t think so.

Tornado E: Is Papa older than Grandma?

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: Is Papa older than Papi?

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: Is Papa older than Grandma-Great?

Me: No.

Tornado E: Oh.  Grandma-Great is older than Papi and Grandma?

Me: Yes, she is.

Tornado E: Is Grandma-Great older than Grandma S?

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: Ok.  Grandma-Great is my favorite!  Do you know why?

Me: No.

Tornado E: Because she’s the oldest!

Well, I guess that’s one way to pick your favorite relative.  Grandma-Great, please come by and pick up your prize; you get to enjoy the company of your great-grandchildren at no extra charge. Don’t you want to spend time with the people who dubbed you the favorite?

Surpirse, Surprise.

We were at church when Tornado E noticed something about his tooth.

Tornado E: My tooth is broken.

Me: (whispers) Mouse voice.

The Husband: (whispers) Let me see.

The Husband looked into Tornado E’s mouth.

The Husband: (Whispers) Did you know he broke his tooth?

Me: (Whispers) No.  But he would’ve cried when it happened, right?

The Husband shrugged.

We went out to breakfast for my Dad’s birthday.  My brothers and sister-in-law were there, and I sat on the farthest end from Tornado E, who procured a seat of honor next to my Dad.

Tornado E: Papi!  My tooth is broken!  It’s wably!

Me: What?!

My Mom: Let me see, Tornado E.

My Mom looked into Tornado E’s mouth as my Dad put on his glasses.

My Mom: It’s loose, all right.

Me: What?!

My Dad: Wait. I think he’s already missing a tooth.

Me: WHAT?!

I jumped out of my chair and ran around the table to inspect for myself.  Sure enough, my eldest baby, who won’t be five for another week, had a loose tooth.  WHAT??!!!!!

SIL:  Fae, your face!  It’ll be ok.

Sure, laugh.  You’ll be looking the same way when you have a baby ready to lose a tooth.

My mom: I guess I’ll have to make a tooth pillow soon with my wedding dress.

I sat down in my seat and called The Husband to demand why he failed to mention Tornado E’s tooth was loose.  Failing getting a hold of him, I texted my BFF.

Me: Tornado E’s tooth is loose!

BFF: Omg!  Omg!

Me: Right?

So when we returned home, I confronted The Husband.

Me: Why didn’t you tell me Tornado E had a loose tooth?

The Husband: He has a loose tooth?!

Me: Yeah.  That’s why it was broken.

The Husband: Tornado E!  Come here!  Let me see your tooth!  Isn’t he a little young?

Me: Yeah!  I think so.

This morning as I tried to wake up, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, exiting the bathroom, Tornado E came running up to me.

Tornado E: Mommy!  I lost my tooth!

Me: What?!

Tornado E: See!

There is was a space where a tooth should be.

Me: So where’s the tooth?

Tornado E: I don’t know.  I was jumping on my bed dreaming, and then my tooth fell out.  It went this way and that way.

Me: Um, what about the tooth fairy?  Remember how your uncles were telling you about the tooth fairy?

Tornado E: Well, the binky fairy will find it because she’s made out of light and can find anything.

But what about me?  What about the picture I wanted of you holding up your tooth and smiling with a gap?  What about the tooth I was going to hide until you were an adult and surprise you?  What about the tooth pillow?  What about me who is losing my mind that you are old enough to lose a tooth??

Swimming with the tide or against it?

I got the boys into swim lessons through the city.  (YEA!)  After answering several questions about Tornado E’s ability, they placed him level 2.  Which I thought was awesome.  Until I saw the other kids in his class.  Who towered over him.  Then I became worried.  I mean what if- Hold on.  The boy can swim, so why should I worry?  They would move him if he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.

The crazy thing is he kicked ass!  He listened to the teachers.  He swam with his head down more than any other child.  He kicked.  He stroked.  He jumped off the small diving board with glee.  He loved learning “the frog stroke” (aka the breaststroke).  That’s my boy.

And I can’t help but take a little credit, since I taught him last year.  I guess I over taught him, but I wanted him to be able to swim if he fell into the pool.

Now it’s Tornado S’s turn to learn to swim.  I placed him in the preschool class.  I figured if I can get him in, I would.  With breastfeeding every two hours and not having a swimsuit that would fit my huge boobs, it was better if Tornado S learned from someone else.  Except Tornado S won’t go near his teacher.  He won’t go near the water.  Are you kidding me?

On the first day, I tried to comfort him and leave him in the car of his teacher, but he clung to me and would follow me if I left.  After five minutes, we left.  On the second day, The Husband came with us and watched Tornado E and Tornado A as I tried to convenience Tornado S to stay.  After fifteen minutes, I gave up.  Every time I moved, Tornado S moved, keeping my legs between his coach and him.  He told us he was scared and that the pool didn’t have steps.   On the third day, my mom went with us, and she took Tornado S into the pool area to his class as I was too busy breastfeeding.  She made him sit and left him.  He cried, and a female lifeguard talked to him, convinced him to eventually move into the shade of the lifeguard stand.  She almost got him to put his foot in the water, when I stood up to put Tornado A in the stroller.  Tornado S stood up, pointed, and ran for the gate.  D’oh.  On the fourth day, my mom came with us again, and because she had  more luck getting Tornado S to stay, I asked if she would take Tornado S again.  Only every time she tried to leave a crying Tornado S, he would say he needed to use the potty.  So she was obligated to take him, where he would squeeze out a couple drops and cry all the way back to the coach.  This happened like four times, but at least he stayed the whole time.

I tried to introduce him to his teacher.  We tried to get Tornado S to tell his teacher about Kit Fisto.  My mom introduced Tornado S to his classmates.  I’ve taken him swimming in my parents’ pool where he’ll blow bubbles, walk the wall, and even kick while I hold him as he tells me where he wants to go.  My mom offered him McDonald’s if he went to class (which he did, he just didn’t go swimming).  I offered a brownie if he would swim.  I bought him new sandals that he could wear to the pool that he picked out all by himself.  Friday, I showed him the Kit Fisto scene from Star Wars Clone Wars volume 1 where Kit Fisto fights the bad guys underwater.  When the boys started to pretend they were pirates, I explained pirates swam, which Tornado S doubted.  So I showed them the scene where Jack Sparrow saved Elizabeth Swan by diving in the rescue her.  The next step is to take him to the public pool during operational hours and swim with him.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

Gravel

Reported by my mom

Tornado E was watching TV on my parents’ bed as my mom read.

Tornado E: Grandma, why do I have gravel here?

Grandma: (looking up from her book) What, hun?

Tornado E: Why do I have gravel here?

Grandma: (Looking where he has his hands) Babe, that’s not gravel.  That’s your testes.

Tornado E: Oh.  So what are they for?

Grandma: Um.  Ask your mom.

Thanks, Mom.

My dad said they’re to keep a man balanced.

What would you answer?

Another recap

  1. I love my Blackberry and its internet.
  2. I do surprisingly well on little to no sleep.
  3. Except I forget the occasional word like fair, party, nap.
  4. It takes less than an hour to destroy a great room with toys.
  5. It takes more than an hour to ask, convince, threaten, trick Tornado E and Tornado S to clean up a great room.
  6. Apparently my Nazarene grandma thinks it’s better for us to be Lutheran instead of Catholic.
  7. Potty training is hard, and it requires more penis rules.
  8. I get giddy when I put Tornado A on my lap for his late night feeding.
  9. Stupid Swaddlers are leaking the absorbent stuff whenever Tornado A pees.
  10. I had forgotten how many diapers a newborn goes through.

When Tornado A came to town

It started Tuesday evening.  If they weren’t so strong, I would have said they were Braxton Hicks.  They were painless, but they felt like a giant fist was squeezing my uterus.  So we waited, sure that we would have to go soon.  At 1:30, I fell asleep on the couch; while, The Husband snored on the floor.  At 3:00, I woke to nothing.  I sat there waiting, but nothing happened.  After an hour of waiting, I joined The Husband in bed.  I felt so cheated by my body that I slept on my side, the position denied to me by my body, unless I wanted to be sore and stiff the next morning.  I gave my body the finger.

The next morning, it gave me the finger right back in soreness.

About 9:30, they were back.  Only they weren’t painless.  They were uncomfortable.  In between contractions, like the night before Tornado A would kick and hit, trying to stop whatever was squeezing him.  Everyone was on high alert.  After all, Tornado S came in six hours.  While the time in between contractions became shorter, the intensity barely got stronger.

Though I was starving through the day, I only nibbled here and there.  I didn’t eat anything but crackers and cream cheeses for lunch.  It was the last I would eat until Tornado A was in the world.

My mom kept calling.  The Husband kept asking to go to the hospital.  At 4pm, The Husband was beside himself and started asking if he could call the doctor.  It sounded more like a plea.  If anyone remembers, we got to the hospital to deliver Tornado S, and I was already 7 cm and nearly missed the window for the epidural.  The Husband was NOT about to let me deliver without massive amounts of pain killers.  That’s love, people.

So I gave in and let him call the doctor, who said I could come down whenever I was ready.  She happened to be on call that night, which was nice since I hadn’t met anyone else in the practice.  Of course, if I didn’t have her, I would be fine as long as someone was there to catch the baby.  I called my mom to ask her to take the boys.  The Husband went and got her, and I started to get things ready.

I dinked around for another hour or more so we wouldn’t drive in rush hour.  Sure, the hospital was only a couple of miles away, but that’s EIGHT lights, people.  And yes, when we drove there, we hit all of them red.  Thank God I wasn’t in real pain or I would have been demanding for some law breaking.

When we finally got to the hospital, we went into the main entrance because we didn’t know where else to go.  Because we’re not a tour-taking kind of people.

Me: Hi.  We’re looking for labor and delivery.

The two kids at the desk stared at me and blinked.  They looked at each other.  Then they looked back at me.

The Dude: Uh.  Um.

Me: Yeah, I’m in labor, and I need to get to labor and delivery.  Can you tell me where it is?

The Chick: Um.  Uh.

The Husband seethed behind me.

The Dude: Ok.  (pulled out a paper)  Just follow the map.  Go down this hall to almost the end and turn left.

He handed me “the map.”  I looked at it.  All it had on it were arrows in the shape of an upside down L.  Right.

I rolled my eyes and started down the hall.  When we were out of ear shot, The Husband started on his comedy rant, which is only reserved for the most incredibly stupid.  I wish I could remember it because I was laughing so hard, but I was in labor.

We find labor and delivery by following the large signs, not by the map.  The reception desk sent us on another hunt down more halls.  We found our special doors to find them locked, even after they tried to buzz us in.  Luckily my doctor was coming down the hall and was happy to let us in.  See ya, in a couple hours.

So we were admitted in triage.  And apparently when I get nervous, I start cracking jokes.  The nurse was happy to joke with me.  I got into my gown and was hooked up to machines.  I was 4 cm.  Woohoo.  I went to the bathroom Again.  (When I was in labor with Tornado E, I was dehydrated which means it was more painful.)  I wiped myself to find blood.  Ohmygodohmygodohmygod.  Calm Down.  Calm down.  We’re already at the hospital.  Just tell the nurse.

Me: Um, I’m uh bleeding?

The triage nurse: Oh. No worries.  That’s just your bloody show.

I started to laugh hysterically.  Three pregnancies and this was my first bloody show.  I had no idea.

The nurse decided to get ahead and get my blood drawn and get my IV going.  I hate needles.  I hate shots.  The Husband hates them even more and sat in a place where he could miss it.  Baby.  On the third vial, the needle slipped, I felt blood run down and pool into my palm.  Fun stuff.  The nurse was so embarrassed and kept apologizing.  My labor and delivery nurse showed up to collect me.  And also helped to wipe up my blood.

I was allowed to stay.  The doctor’s orders were to let me labor for two hours, and if there was no change, I would get Pitocin.  Fine.

It wasn’t long until my contractions stopped.  Stopped.  One more time with feeling.  Stopped.  And I became what I dreaded all day.  A watched pot.

One thing proved that not all was normal in Fae’s body.  Heartburn.  Horrible, terrible, wild fire heartburn.  I kept tapping my chest in a vain attempt to settle the fire.  When my mom arrived, fresh from her line dancing class with dinner for The Husband, she began asking if I could have water  or ice chips to cool down the blaze.  But the nurse and I both told her it would only make things worse.

The Nurse: The only thing that’ll make it better is having the baby.

My cousin came down from her station at the NICU to say hi and see how I was doing.  I assured her labor wasn’t that bad and that they had drugs to deal with the pain.  Hell, it isn’t so bad when your contractions stopped.

Two hours hit, and the call was made to the doctor.  If I was going to get Pitocin, I sure the hell was going to get my epidural.  The call was made to the anesthesiologist.  The Husband went out to get some coffee, and the nurse explained to my mom only one person could be in the room with me when I got my epidural.  I assured my mom that The Husband would not be in the room when I received my epidural.  At that moment, The Husband entered the room and was explained the situation.  He reassured my mom that he would prefer to be out of the room and proceeded to run out of the room.

The anesthesiologist came and gave me my shot.  But without contractions it was hard to let him know if it was working.  My feet were numb.

The Husband came back into the room just in time for the volcano in my stomach to spew.  My heartburn burned up my chest as I threw up the junk in my stomach.  Which was weird because it wasn’t what I ate for lunch.  Looking on the bright side, the nurse told me that I shouldn’t have heartburn any more.

I wish.

Then came the horribleness of the damn catheter.  We should have known then something was wrong with my epidural.  I don’t know how any one does it without drugs.  It was the most uncomfortable experience I ever had.  I started to weep.  I begged the nurse to take it out.  The Husband, my mom, and the nurse tried to soothe me and comfort me.  I got The Button to give myself another shot of painkillers.  I took both shots.  (I can still see the tape residue of the catheter and I still shudder.)

Then came the contractions.  We were now nearing midnight.  I couldn’t believe it was taking so long.  It was like starting again.  But then the intensity and the pressure began to increase.  I started to moan.  The nurse called for the anesthesiologist again, waking him from his nap.  I held on to the hope that he would be back and in fifteen minutes I would be fine.

And fifteen minutes came and passed.  He arrived at last.  The pain was worse than ever.  He asked me if it was a pressure or a sharp pain.  It was both.  He increased the dosage up because the medicine wasn’t up my spine far enough.  He left.

Ten minutes until relief.

Instead I vomited again.  The nurse got the go ahead to give me something for the heartburn.  But she insisted that I wear an oxygen mask.  God, I Hate oxygen masks.  I took it off the first moment I could.  Stupid oxygen mask.

And hell began.  I can’t put it lightly.  I’m a wimp with pain.  It’s why I take painkillers.  It’s why I will never pierce a sensitive body part.  It’s why I’ve never given blood.  I have never been in as much pain as I was that night.

I pressed my button.  I moaned.  I cried.  I squeezed that rails to the bed.  I refused to hold The Husband’s hand or my mom’s in fear that I would break them.

In the middle of one contraction, as my back arched, I felt and heard my water pop.  It burst out of me like a broken water balloon, landing all the way down to my ankle.  In my last labors, my water never broke.  Another first for me.  I wished someone had seen it because I was curious to know how it came out.  The Husband said he heard it but missed seeing it, since he was busy trying to calm me down.

The nurse checked me, and we were ready.  The doctor was called.  Nurses came in.  The room seemed so much more crowded, but I was just aware that I. Needed. To.  Push.  NOW.

Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.

No.  No.  No.  He’s ready.  He’s here.  Oh, God.  I have to push.

Calm.  You’ll be fine.  The doctor is almost here.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Fae, look at me.  Look at me.  You’re doing fine.

I can’t look down or I’ll push.  Oh.  God.  He’s here.  Please.  I have to push.

Breathe.  You’re doing great.  Hold on.  Breathe.  The doctor is almost here.  You’re doing fine.  The doctor’s here.  Let’s get the bed ready.

With my feet in stirrups, my hands gripping the bed rails above me, I arched like a possessed victim, crying.

Ok, Fae.  Next contraction I want you to push.  Bear down.

Push.  Push.  Push.

One push.  And Tornado A came spiraling out.  I felt his head come out and then the slowing at the shoulders, but I kept bearing down, feeling that if we stopped now I wouldn’t be able to take it.  I don’t know if I had it in me to push again.  But Tornado A kept coming out.  The Husband barely had time to cut the cord and get out of the way before I forced out the afterbirth.

They placed Tornado A on my stomach so I could see and hold him.  They whisked him away to test him and clean him up.

The doctor began to sew me up, and I moaned with pain.

The doctor: Fae?  You can feel that?

Me: Yes.

The Doctor:  Hmmm.  Let me numb the area.  You’ll feel a pinch.

Me: Ok.

The doctor waited a minute for the pain killer to take affect and started again.  I moaned, trying to be quiet.  Then I felt someone take my hand, and I opened my eyes.  My mom looked down at me and squeezed my hand.  The doctor had to numb me two more times, but at least, I could hold someone’s hand.

Once the doctor was done, I was able to take in my surroundings.  My cousin was in my room as the assistant to the natal nurse.  The Husband was holding Tornado A.  My labor and delivery nurse asked me if I wanted something to eat.  I shook my head, and she told me to tell her when I was ready to eat.  My doctor finished filling out paperwork and congratulated me.  My mom took pictures.  She held Tornado A for a little bit, but rushed off around 2 because she would have the boys the next morning.  The room cleared, leaving the nurse, The Husband, Tornado A, and I.

The Husband fell asleep on the couch, snoring.  I fed Tornado A, and the nurse brought me a turkey sandwich with apple juice, graham crackers, chips, and jell-o.  After Tornado A had fed (painfully because he didn’t latch properly), the nurse washed him again and insisted I eat.  Oh, glorious sandwich, which now I’m sure would suck under normal circumstances.

At four, we were admitted to our room.  A single room, so The Husband’s snoring wouldn’t wake anyone else and I could take care of the bathroom rituals, which accompany all post-delivery mothers (pee, wash, dab, spray, change pad, add witch hazel pads), with the door open to view Tornado A.  I finally slept.

April 9th Friday Recap

I’m really enjoying these weekly top 10 things I learned this week.  I hope you are too because I don’t see myself getting bored of them because I figured out how to do theme ones when I run out of 10 things.  Though I am running out of catchy titles.  Blame it on the lack of sleep (and the Damn black eyes I’m developing).

  1. Making chocolate nests for Easter is a lot harder than it looks.  Because it’s hard to mold the liquid chocolate and chow mien noodles.
  2. The best part of chocolate nests is to snap off the jelly beans and eat just the chocolate; next year it’ll be Jordon Almonds.
  3. Nice day + nice clothes + four boys + pool = 4 wet boys in nice clothes  (Yeah I should have seen it coming.)
  4. The more my grandma tells me about her mother, the more I’m in love with the woman and I wished I had met her.
  5. If I want The Husband out of bed, I should send in two tornado alarm clocks.
  6. Tornado S is still insisting on Kit Fisto for the baby name; we figured out a name that would use Kit as a nickname.  Either Tornado S’s a good sales man or we’re suckers.  (But it’s not set in stone.)
  7. Tornado E has learned to scream like a girl at first sign of trouble.  And I’m a little embarrassed by it.
  8. I now have a killer meat sauce for spaghetti.
  9. Two weeks out from the due date, The Husband starts turning into the Perfect Husband.  It’s weird.
  10. There are some conversations I have to have over and over with The Husband.  They are usually about bills.

And a bonus:

  1. My readers rock my world.

Hospital Week

If you want to read Tornado E’s birth story, go here.

I don’t think I ever mentioned that Tornado E was in the hospital for a week after he was born.  My heart always goes out to those parents whose babies are in the hospital for months.  It was heart breaking, and every pregnancy you end up thinking about the ones before. . . .

“Hmmmm,” said the pediatrician, but she stayed bent over Tornado E in his fish bowl, or at least that’s what I called it while I watched him sleep last night instead of sleeping myself.

Finally she stood up and looked at us, The Husband, my mom, and me.

“Tornado E’s heart rate is a little high.  It should be slowing by this time.  It could be nothing.  But there is the faint sound of fluid in his lungs.  I can’t hear it all the time, just once in a while.  It’s usually common for C-section babies to have this problem.  But you didn’t have him C-section, right?”

“No,” I said.

“Hmmm.  When you push the baby through the birthing canal, it pushes out all the fluid from the lungs.  It’s one of the reasons pushing takes so long.”

“She only pushed for fifteen minutes,” my mom volunteered.

“Hmmm.  Well, we’ll monitor him.  I want to make sure everything is fine.”

“What does that mean?”

“It’s possible that he’s already picked up an infection which is why his heart rate is so high.  I’ll let the nurses know.  I want someone to check on him in eight hours.”

Eight hours went by, and Tornado E’s heart rate was still high.  They took him to be monitored in the nursery, bringing him to me when he needed to be fed.  I never felt so alone.

The next morning the pediatrician was back.

“His heart rate is still high.  It still sounds like there is fluid in his lungs.  The tests are coming back negative on an infection, but that might mean we’re still early.  I want to give him an IV with meds.  He’ll need to stay for another ten days, unless he gets worse, and then we’ll send him next door to the children’s hospital.”

“TEN DAYS!  Is there any way to bring him home earlier?”

“Well, maybe.  Somewhere in those ten days his IV is going to need to be changed.  If it’s changed and he’s doing well, I’ll let him go home in seven.  But I’m not promising anything.”

At that moment, I hated his pediatrician.

“What about me?”

“Oh, you’ll be discharged at noon.  You’re fine.”

Yup, I hated her.

She left, leaving me alone with Tornado E, but the nurse came in to wheel him away for more monitoring and to get his IV.  No one had showed up to visit me yet.  The Husband HAD a meeting.  My parents and brother were picking my aunt up at the train station because she happened to be in town visiting my other aunt.  I wanted to cry.

“It’ll be ok,” said the nurse as she walked into the room.  She sat down on my bed and looked me in the eye.  She rubbed my arm as she spoke.  “It’ll be just fine.  You’ll see.  I’m going to work it out so you can have your room until five.  Then you can come as much as you like to visit your baby.  You’ll be able to stay as long as you want.  You can come and breastfeed him every meal.  And I know this sounds crazy, but this will be for the best.  Look on the bright side, you can let us do the 2am feeding; while you go and get the sleep you need.  You’ll need to sleep.  And when it’s time to take him home, you’ll get to be wheeled out again and get your homecoming.  Can I get you some more water or juice?”

I nodded.  And cried when she left.

Everyone arrived at lunch time where I told them the news.  The Husband was just as upset as I was, but my parents and aunt assured us everything would be all right as only parents of older children can.  We hung out at the hospital until 5pm, and we only were able to have Tornado E when it was feeding time.  They were now monitoring him for jaundice.

To cheer me up, my dad took us out for hamburgers because hamburgers are one of my absolute favorite meals.  Then we went shopping for a hand held pump.  Then it was time to race back to the hospital to feed Tornado E.

That was the worse. Tornado E was sleepy from the meds.  (Only after Tornado S I learned for the first week or so ALL newborns are sleepy.)  He didn’t want to feed.  He wanted to sleep.  But I couldn’t be there if he decided to eat later, when he felt like it.  And stupid breastfeeding, it’s so damn hard.  But later that night, I learned that hand pumping was harder.  Stupid hand pump.

The next day I rented a motorized breast pump from the hospital.  I figured if I liked it I could go buy one.  It might come in handy.  The next day or two we rushed back and forth for feedings.  It wasn’t until my dad and brother left for home while my mom stayed (as she had planned for the next three weeks) that my mom and I realized we could spend the whole day at the hospital.  They were giving us free parking after all.  The nurses let me wheel Tornado E done to the waiting room which we had all to ourselves.  We cooed at him.  We held him.  We let him sleep as we read our books.  Our days revolved around the hospital.

But when we came home, I always felt my heart break.  There was the stroller my brother and mom put together for me.  There was the pack-n-play all ready with diapers and wipes.  There was the bassinet at the foot of our bed made up with a blue sheet.  There were all the flowers people had sent to me to congratulate us.  But there was no baby.  He was in the hospital.

The day the IV fell out, The Husband and I were there trying to feed Tornado E.  Two nurses rushed over and snatched Tornado E from me.  They placed Tornado E back in his little hospital cart and started to put the IV in.  Tornado E thrashed and cried.  I waited.  The Husband was tense, shooting visual daggers at the back of the nurses.  Finally one of them turned and asked us to wait in the waiting room.  Once there, The Husband paced and railed at them hurting our child.  I tried to calm him down but soon realized that he would have to hold Tornado E before he calmed down, so I went to check on the progress.  They were still working on Tornado E.  I got it.  Tiny veins + Tiny needle + Trashing infant =  Fun times.  Finally they gave Tornado E back to us with a fresh IV sticking from his head.

A week after my talk with the pediatrician, the doctor came and gave the OK to come home.  Several doctors from the children’s hospital had been through to see Tornado E.  Never did they suggest sending him next door.  The tests kept coming back negative for the infection.  The tests kept coming back negative for jaundice even though that kid turned an alarming shade of yellow.  Tornado E’s heartbeat slowed and the fluid in his lungs disappeared.  But there was still two more days of antibiotics, but Tornado E could come home and have nurses come and administer the doses.

I dressed Tornado E, humming him a happy little tune.  I placed the button up clothes that I picked out on him, thanking the advice that all newborns should be dressed as such since new parents get nervous about pulling things over the heads of newborns.  Besides Tornado E’s IV would have snagged.  My mom snapped thousands of pictures of Tornado E and me as we were wheeled out of the hospital.  The Husband pulled up in the truck, beaming with pride.  The nurse, my mom, and I watched The Husband with suspicion as he put Tornado E into the car.  (Apparently no one trusts a new dad with a fragile infant.)  I slid into the car next to Tornado E, placing rolled swaddling clothes on either side of his head to keep it from sliding.  Wouldn’t you know, he was just a slight too tiny for his car seat.

We pulled away when Tornado E started crying because the sun was in his eyes.  I began to panic.

My mom turned around from the front seat, “Give him the pacifier, Fae.  Hmmm. Guess we’ll go buy some shades for the truck tomorrow.”

I placed the pacifier, the one I told my mom I would never use, into Tornado E’s mouth.  We were going home.

Go Forth, Little Children, and Spread the Word.

I knew when we decided to raise the boys Roman Catholic, I was looking for trouble.

The Husband and I agreed on it before we were engaged, when we were planning our future together.  So when the priest at the premarital counseling asked, we could tell him, without crossing our fingers, exactly what he wanted to hear.  The Husband and I had debated it, and I promised my sometimes atheist, sometimes agnostic (depending who he was talking/listening to) husband that we would always be willing and able to explore different spiritual paths if our children decided they weren’t going to be Catholic.

Being raised as a laid back kind of Catholic, I was fully open to the prospect there were more ways to God than one.  My father was Nazarene, and he was the person I went to for spiritual advice.  I went to my mom for moral advice.  My best friend from high school was Jewish.  In college, most of my friends were D.O.C or U.C.C. or Wiccan.  I took Bible courses so I could argue my beliefs with my Protestant friends.  But I knew I had slipped away from being fully Catholic to some hybrid that no one could understand but God and me.  So I knew I was going to have issues sending my boys to Catholic school or Sunday school.

I just figured I had a few years before I had to bite my tongue over the ridiculous of Original Sin.  (If you want to debate this, just let me know.  I personally despise St. Augustine and what he did to our beloved Christian faith.  Jerk.)

We’re sending Tornado E to a Lutheran pre-Kindergarten.  While I was a little nervous that the new director was a missionary for years and years in Mexico (Did I mention my Catholic family is so anti-converting, they don’t even convert their heretic spouses?), I assured myself that all they could teach four years olds was simple Bible stories and God loves them.

Until last week.

When Tornado E came home.

The Husband: So what did you learn about in school?

Tornado E: Jesus loves me.

The Husband: Yes, that’s right.

Tornado E: Jesus loves me and you and Tornado S-y and Mommy and everybody.  I need to tell everyone that Jesus loves them.  Can I go to all the houses and tell our neighbors that Jesus loves them?

At this point, I’m hyperventilating in the kitchen wondering if we still had to pay the rest of the tuition if I yank him out now or if I had to create a scene about teaching my four year old to apostatize.  I bet I could get their goat if I compared them to Mormons.

The Husband: Well, Tornado E, I’m pretty sure everyone knows that, so why don’t we play cars instead.

Tornado E: Oh, ok.

Me: (whispering to The Husband) What are we going to do?

The Husband: He’s four.  I’m sure he misunderstood.  We just won’t let him do it.  Though it would be funny to see him knock on doors.  Where’s his Bible?

I narrowed my eyes.  The Husband was taking this much better than I, and if I wasn’t so sure I was the Evil Genius in the household, I would bet he was enjoying this.  Atheist.

Later I mentioned it to my dad, who chuckled.  Obviously I’m the only one concerned.

Dad: Did you ever think, Fae, that they might have been talking about “Love thy Neighbor?”

Me: Of course not.  Because that would be too simple of an answer and would mean I was freaking out for nothing.

Dad: Well, anything is possible.

I’m getting a new family.

And I wonder who is the patron saint of nonconverting.

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