Almost perfect

During the last couple of weeks on my Facebook feed, there have been friends of mine who have “liked” several news stories about babies that showed up on my newsfeed. Being a mother I clicked on them, even though I knew they weren’t pleasant topics.

The first one was a blog post about OB nurses and the hell they go through helping deliver babies. Just about every thing the blogger talked about I had experienced in the delivery room, except one. I read in angst as the nurse described a mother losing blood and flat lining. One sentence stuck with me, (although I don’t remember exactly what it said) but it was to the effect that the new baby will never get to be held by its mother. I about cried and I’m not a crier.

What if that had happened to me? I am a worrier and I play out situations in my head with various outcomes. With my youngest son, busy nurses didn’t get me up in a timely manner after my c-section and I couldn’t get out of bed when they finally did return. I get light-headed thinking about how hard it was to stand up and the overwhelming nausea I felt when I finally did. I nearly passed out trying to make it back to my bed. The nurse kept telling me she was going to have to give me the smelling salts. Let me tell you that stuff was awful. I was completely out of it and apparently my blood pressure had tanked. It reminded me of the time I got a lung full of anhydrous ammonia when dad was farming and I was helping switch tanks as a kid and the hose popped off.

The second link that I clicked on was about a couple who had a decided to go ahead and have their baby who had a genetic disorder, trisomy 13. Always fatal, the disorder doesn’t allow children to live more than a couple of days if they survive birth at all. As I watched the video of the couple with their final moments with Thomas, I nearly cried. The dad was so gentle and tender, explaining all the things they could fix on his little boy. I remember with my first son feeling the trepidation of getting tested for trisomy 13. I was 32 when I had Shaun and with age there are more chances for birth defects. I was relieved when we found out he was perfect as far as chromosomes and genetics go. Although I was now 35, I had less worry with Chance taking the test. I think it was because I had been through the agony of waiting before. Our second test again was a good result.

Yesterday I noticed someone had liked a page on Facebook called Prayers for Shane. Of course I had to go look. Not knowing what anenecphaly was I went searching for an explanation. I was taken aback by the photos and what the disease does to the poor babies. But none the less, the little ones were beautiful. Last week on the Prayers for Shane page they had photos of the young family and the new baby Shane. The little guy passed away within hours of his birth. My heart ached for them. Made me want to squeeze my babies a little tighter when I get home tonight.

At some point I will have to stop reading all things related to babies and pregnancy. Being a worrier, those kinds of posts will likely get the best of me. My boys are perfect in their own ways and I need to remember that. Regardless of what they do to annoy their mother, they are mine, they are here and I love them. I don’t like the word blessed because it gets overused, but I am truly blessed. My boys are healthy, happy and pure joy.

Chance and Shaun showing off their pumpkins.

Chance and Shaun showing off their pumpkins.


My boys and their horses

At our house we have three mares. They are very similar to one another – two bays and a brown – all with not a noticeable amount of white on them. If you didn’t know the differences you would be hard pressed to figure out who was who.

There’s Kate, my husband’s old mare. I’m not even sure her age, but she’s a tad grumpy, fat as a hog and will remind me how hungry she is during evening feedings by bumping the gate if I don’t move fast enough. Then there’s my mare, Mare. I never really had a name for her and always just called her Mare, Sis or Sweet Pea. I’ve had her for a long time, and my heart jumps a beat whenever I can’t see her from the window. The youngest of the three, Baby, as my husband calls her, is just that. She’s a little wild, hasn’t been rode much and is full of it. I’d like to start riding her, but I’m scared..

Most every night oldest son and I will go feed the horses. He get’s rather upset if he can’t “help.” Recently he’s gotten better and wants to carry the buckets and dump feed. He still doesn’t realize how powerful the horses are and how they could hurt him. I have to remind him to get his head up and watch where he’s going.

Chance is nearly 8 months old and LOVES the horses. His eyes get big as saucers when he gets close to them. He gets all excited when he gets to sit on them. I adore his excitement when he’s sitting on the back of my old brown mare. She takes it all in stride as he’s screaming “riding” her and pulling on her mane.

The other day, on a night when I actually go to ride, Shaun wanted to ride too. I asked if he wanted to trot and he was confused. “Do you want to go faster?” I asked. I received an enthusiastic, “YES!” We had to video it to show his dad. I think he was pretty proud. I hope some day the boys will enjoy horses as much as I have.

Chance on the old brown mare.

Chance on the old brown mare.

It’s all a process

When I wrote last about Chance needing a helmet to fix his flat spot on his head, it was July. Here we are in September and he’s closing in on actually having a helmet to wear.

The helmets aren’t cheap and aren’t ordered until funding is secured. The clinic we went to suggested we try doing a pre-determination request with our insurance. Nearly two weeks later we got the answer I was expecting, “No. It’s not medically necessary.” Another call to the clinic again gave me a list of funding sources. I called a couple and after the first call I was rather discouraged. The guy basically laughed at me and told us we make too much money. I’m sorry, $2,800 is quite a chunk for people who work hard and have good jobs to come up with all at once. But, where there is a will, there is a way.

A week ago we took Chance back to the clinic in Wichita to get “casted” for a helmet. The process involves a cap with sensors that is connected to a computer. An orthotist then scanned his head using a “gun” – much like what they use to scan items in a store. The scan sent information into a computer program and wha la, there’s a 3D model of Chance’s head on the computer screen. From this they make the helmet for him to wear.

When faced with the option of what color to get Chance’s helmet in, I was drawn to the camo. He’s a little boy, and what mother of a little boy doesn’t gravitate towards camo? My husband wasn’t as keen on the camouflage as I was, so we opted for a solid color. Then it was a choice between white or black? Creative parents huh? I questioned the orthotist as to what we could do to the helmet to spiff it up on our own. Stickers were completely acceptable. Well there you go. Chance will have a half Oklahoma State Cowboys and half Kansas State Wildcats helmet! He may not know the difference between the teams or even if they exist, but people will know his parents are college football fans! At least when people stare (and I know they will) they will have something interesting to look at!

Chance waiting to get scanned for his helmet while big brother entertains him.

Chance waiting to get scanned for his helmet while big brother entertains him.


It’s been how long?

A few weeks ago in the mail I received a membership renewal for the Better Barrel Races association. Knowing what it was I didn’t even open it. The thought of me not riding my mare and going to barrel races hit me the wrong way that day, so I just tucked it away and forgot about it.

I have been a member of the BBR for a number of years, and have attended their World Finals in Oklahoma City several times. Last year I renewed knowing that I was already pregnant with Chance. I intended on riding after he was born, like I did with Shaun. I did ride most of the summer, but the last barrel race I went to was Labor Day 2013. My mare got sore after that and we didn’t get her feet figured out until nearly fall. By that time I was big and fat, so I didn’t get back on my mare until April of this year.

Now it’s already mid-August, and I can’t tell you the last time I got to ride. Between two kids, a full-time job and other activities, there’s plenty of room for excuses. Not to mention my horse is missing shoes, and I’ve missed the horse shoer the last three times he’s been here. I don’t know that she’s missing getting rode, but I know I am missing getting to go to the jackpots and rodeos. I look at the rodeo results and photos and think back to the last 10 years or so when I went to the Kansas Pro Rodeos. Now I wonder if I will ever have a horse to take to the rodeos.

My old mare is 22 this year, and deserves the best. Shaun keeps asking which horse is his and I tell him they are all OUR horses. I just can’t let go of that brown mare quite yet. I really don’t want last year’s run to be our last together, but she’s given me 16 great years and doesn’t owe me a thing. So if that run was our last together, I can accept that. She will have many more runs with Shaun and Chance hopefully.

2013 BBR World Finals, Oklahoma City, OK.

2013 BBR World Finals, Oklahoma City, OK.

Chance the rock star

I’ve heard siblings’ personalities can be like night and day, and with my boys I believe it. My second son is one of the easiest going, happiest kids I have ever been around. I’m pretty partial, but every where we have taken him he’s been great. He only cries when he’s hungry or annoyed and shares a lot of smiles. Tuesday was no different.

In the last month of my pregnancy with Chance I remember feeling as though he was stuck in a weird position and my right side always seemed to have some sort of ache or pain. I didn’t think much about it as Shaun was wedged in a similar position. There’s not much room to go in my 5-foot something frame. When Chance was born on his scheduled birthday, I was brought to tears because he was “so small” (as small as an 8 pounder could be) and I got to hear him cry. I didn’t get to see my first son or hear him cry due to complications with my cesarean so it was a little overwhelming.

After we got settled into a routine at home, I noticed Chance liked to sleep a lot and normally kept his head turned right. By his two month appointment we questioned our doctor about the flat spot forming on the back of his head. He suggested several positioning techniques and more tummy time. We tried what he suggested, but the flatness stayed. By his four-month appointment the “funny shaped” head was pretty prominent. I again expressed my concerns to the doctor and he felt the same as me. After some investigation he sent us to an occupational therapist in Wichita and we had an appointment with a helmet company.

As the days approached for the appointment I felt anxious. What would they do or say? Internally I was blaming myself for not giving him the room he needed in utero or not putting him to sleep in another position. I just wanted sleep and the way he went to sleep and stayed asleep was fine with me so I could get some rest. I am his mother, so it’s my job to do whats best for him and I’ve felt like I’ve failed.

After the appointment with the occupational therapist they told us he has torticollis. Basically his neck muscles are tight on his left side and thus the flat spot on his head. Also, due to his cranial measurements they suggested he get fitted for a helmet. Although i knew it was a possibility, I was still disheartened.

But after catching glimpses of the other kids in the occupational therapy clinic, my thoughts of worry and failure didn’t seem very important. We are blessed to have him and will work through what ever is thrown our way.

See Mom, I can sit up all by myself.

See Mom, I can sit up all by myself.

One puke, two puke

Now that we have two kids under the age of 5, puke probably should not surprise me. The smell, however, always gets me.

Our oldest son will be three in about two weeks, and the poor kid has the worst gag reflex. He can cough too hard and puke. The youngest is closing in on three months old, and occasionally spits up but nothing too terribly bad. I really don’t know that I could handle a chronic spitter-upper or one with projectile vomit.

Yesterday the four of us ventured out to go buy a new toilet – and that could be a story of its own, but it was a pretty simple task – and then go to the farm and feed cows. All went well until we were headed back to the house. Shaun wanted a drink and we’d saved his take-out cup from the night before. He got his drink and handed it back to Dad. Then all hell broke loose. He started crying and by the look of terror in his eyes, I knew something was wrong. I pulled over immediately and was about to get out of the pickup to get him out of his seat. My husband asked him what was wrong and if he could breathe. He said no. A few more seconds went by and here comes the puke. Luckily we were very close to where my husband works and we got him cleaned up. The car seat, however, may never be the same. We washed the cover and Lysoled it best we could for the ride home. Today at lunch time, the inside of my pickup reeked, and that cover is going straight in the washer when I get home!

After washing nearly everything in the pickup that was covered with puke, I thought my laundry was done last night. Nope, Chance had to spit up practically everything he consumed at 5:30 this morning. No crying from him though. He was happily laying in the wetness watching his noisemaker in his crib when I went to check on him before going to work. If only the oldest was that easy-going!

I really don’t know what it is about puke that resonates in my nose. I’m tempted to get masks to keep in the pickup and in the house so I can put those on and ward off the offending odor. Of course, the boys might get scared of the masked lady trying to clean them up.. At least I won’t have to smell puke for the rest of the day!

At least he's cute, no matter how big a mess he can make.

At least he’s cute, no matter how big a mess he can make.