Monday, September 23, 2013

Part 5 of The Jedi Series: Breathing

It has been exactly 2 years since we brought our boy home from the NICU.  After a tumultuous pregnancy which you can read about HERE in it's entirety, and ultimately a happy enough ending, we finally brought our boy home after a 84 day stay. Our journey to bringing home a preemie and what it all entailed, started well before we came home, but what we learned in our NICU experience didn't prepare us at all for what lied ahead. Since all preemies are different, only a general outline of what to expect could be given and even then, it all depended on him. If I could go back and give myself some advice, I am not even sure I would. The things I know now, they had to be learned by living it. So naive I was, a mom of 4 healthy kids, I can surely navigate this preemie stuff no problem, right? It's not THAT big of a deal, it just means he's a little smaller and might get a cold easier, but hey on the bright side, no more scary pregnancy! He's out and he's alive. So that's that!

I was some kind of adorable in thinking this way.
In all reality, I had no idea that our journey from the NICU was just a little back pat and  being out of the NICU doesn't really change the game, it just means the game is at a different ball park. I know a lot about babies, and even having had 4 previously, this knowledge and experience didn't really give me any big advantage. For one, I may have baby experience, but I didn't KNOW my son when he came home. I knew his care routine  and enough to keep him alive and his apnea monitor from going off. I also didn't know much about preemies, I just knew my preemie. Sure, I knew the general outline "ball park rules" that I had picked up from the Nurses and Staff at the NICU. How to feed and handle reflux was up there on the most important things to learn. Second would be his list of medications that he would take every 2, 4, and 8 hours. Third would be, what to do if his apnea monitor (that was on him 24/7) went off. And FTW, they never did tell me how to recover after his apnea monitor goes off. (pro tip: after the apnea monitor is done screeching and you have the baby alive and settled, feel free to go gangbusters on delicious treats and also CRY your eyes out because that shit was scary. You deserve it.)

Everything else, I had to learn on the fly. And fly I did, straight into walls, straight into my pillow sobbing, and also soaring though the air wearing a super hero cape, holding my sweet boy Simba style and shouting "I WON! BEHOLD, HE IS MINE! MY CREATION!!" But if I really was able to go back in time and tell myself a few things, I think this is what I would say: 

This shit is not your fault.

Not even a little bit. There is nothing you did to cause this. It was not for lack of the Omega 3s and the fish oil that you forgot to take that one week you were alternating dry heaving and the spins, it is not because you dyed your hair, or because you had to bomb your house with Raid the week you found out you were pregnant. No fumes, no food, no not even that cough syrup that you desperately needed at 8 weeks because you thought if you coughed like that ONE more time, little Jr was going to be shake, rattled and rolled right out. Pregnancies are not a delicate condition. They are expected to go normally until proven otherwise. Your pregnancy lasted for as long as it possibly could and it was not because your body failed you or because you didn't try hard enough. So stop thinking you failed in some way. Instead, think of how amazing it is that you created a human that was whole and beautifully formed after just 6 months. Your body and you did that. You created life. Period. You are bad ass.

It's okay to feel sorry for yourself. 
Whoa, I didn't say go run and cry flapping your arms like a deranged seal. I meant, it's okay if you just don't feel like faking like you are just exuding gratefulness and positivity. That's right, I said FAKING. I called you out. Being grateful for what you have and being happy are two different things. You can be completely grateful that you and your preemie are alive, but also feel sad about things you didn't get to do. Didn't get to get fat. Didn't get to get a pregnancy massage. No belly cast. No couples birthing class that is all the rage. No normal child birth to make you one with nature and the fucking moon. You never even got to eat chicken and waffles which you had been craving your whole pregnancy. It's okay to say "this shit is for the birds" when you think of all the normal things you missed. You are still grateful for what you have, right? Right. So why are you lying to yourself when you really don't feel all that ding dang happy? Soak in it if you have to. Feel like shit when you think of things that didn't go to plan. And please don't feel like you "got off easy" because your friend's preemie isn't fairing as well as yours. Would your friend feel good knowing that you feel better about your situation or are MORE grateful, because her baby needed 3 blood transfusions and lost her hearing? I don't think she would. Would you like it if someone said they are so incredibly blessed because their baby wasn't as small as yours and only had to stay for 2 weeks in the NICU? No you would not.  (FYI: Someone really did tell me that when Jedi was in the NICU...I still feel like screaming at them to stop feeling sorry for my baby..and it's been years) 
And so, it is okay to feel how you feel. If you are happy, let yourself be happy. If you are not, that is okay too. You are not your feelings, your feelings are just a part of you. Keep it real, yo. 

Be Patient.
You don't know much about your baby, but your baby doesn't know much of freaking anything so PHEW. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your baby. Baby is not going to pack up his shit and head out on the shoe lace express if it doesn't feel properly bonded to you. No, because babies can't even tie shoes, so that would be a silly idea. Relax. You are just itching to show this baby who the Mama is and what the Mama do, LOVE AND SNUGGLES, DUH....but the baby might be happy just kickin it by himself in his baby burrito. Or on the opposite end, this baby might just be half marsupial and want to bury itself deep into your neck and never leave. He might be both (spoiler alert: HE IS) and that's okay. Preemies come with entirely different equipment in their brains. An extra sensitivity to light, touch and sounds can make a preemie either love something fast or cry faster than you can finish closing a door. Thankfully, he will grow out of this. And eventually, he will totally know what the Mama do.

Your kids are going to show you a thing or two.
 Your kids weren't there to see him prepping for heart surgery. They only know about it because you explained to them that everything was okay but he would have a scar on the side of his chest and very smart doctors were going to take the best care of him that was scientifically possible. You were there, and you remember when a nurse offered to hold your hand as they delicately inserted a tube in his throat to suction out the fluid that was building. This suction put stress on his already stressed heart, and doctors and staff came flying through the doors to help. Your kids did not see this. But you remember it as one of the more terrifying events of your NICU stay. The feeling of wanting to run down the hall, swinging open the door, and just escape, was incredibly tempting. Yet you couldn't even move an inch. You couldn't even open your hand for the nurse to hold. These flashbacks will come to you for the next few months when you see his scar stretch and grow into his fat rolls. But your kids will only that their brother has a scar. They will only see their brother not the delicate preemie that was carefully wrapped and hidden away under a soft blue light. They will treat him as another one of them. Your daughter will pile her Barbies on top of his legs so he can play. Your son will ask if he can hold him for awhile. Soon they will all be able to carry him from room to room. They will complain about his crying. They will say he smells. And they will show him things you can't. "Mom can we take him outside in his Bumbo seat and show him how to blow bubbles?" "Mom, look! We are having a tea party!" "Mom he can push his toy!" "Mom! Mom! Look! He thinks this is funny!"
They don't see that delicate preemie immune system that haunts you while you sweep and sanitize the bathroom.They see their brother. Their little smelly baby brother whom they love so much. When he is hospitalized because he is sick, they will worry like you worry. And when you get home, they will hug him just how you hug him. They are resilient little people. And they are going to teach you their ways. 

You are ready for this.
No one else took a class on your child but I bet you could teach one if you had to. You have made it this far lady and no ones given you the fail card, so you better believe you are the best woman for the job. If you had a special needs child or a child with a serious medical condition, you would get your bearings just like every Mom and Dad before you, and get with the program. They rocked it, and you will too. Don't believe me? Go look at that kid and tell me you couldn't or wouldn't. Yea. I thought so.

He will astound you.
In ways I can't even describe. He will test every limit of your heart and he will barrel right through them. He will make you get up every day with a smile on your face. You will cry at every milestone. You will revel in the little things because you know how delicate the line was between life and death. You will get pissy when he's pissy and then you will both be pissy and you will sigh. When he is asleep, you will threaten people with your eyeballs. You will laugh harder than you ever have. He will amaze you with his strength and resolve. You will wonder over and over again, how in the world you got so damn lucky. You will hug all your babies a little tighter and a little longer, knowing in your heart of hearts you would do damn near anything for them. Even a scary as hell pregnancy, a traumatic birth, and a not so great NICU stay. 
And he will astound you over and over again.

You'll never get used to it.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Humble's Big Ass Birthday Giveaway Bangarang!

This is my "grateful" face.
No joke.
I got the haaaappppyyyyyssss

        My birthday falls on September 5th again this year. More specifically, it is on a Thursday. This will be my 29th birthday, and other than celebrating the day my Mom became a Mom for the first time ever (GO MOM! YOU ROCK!) I also like to celebrate all my favorite things that have made me so happy while I have been moonwalking through this thing called life. My children are amazing, bright, and generally delightful. How I have materialized such magnificent humans from my most unworthy loins is an internal debate that of "how? just how? why me? how did I get so lucky?" and "WHO CARES CHARGE IT TO MY CARD!" and frankly, I am beyond happy that I get to see these people every day. Also, my family and my friends have made life thus far pretty furkin cool and I am forever in their debt. I am not the easiest person to be living this life with and their advice and invaluable support for me is really quite commendable on their part. In other words, they're probably crazier than I am and deserve unlimited beer stuff for putting up with my: antics, nuances, cry baby moments, bitchy come backs, and lack of care when they post about their dog(s). For keeping calm and not losing their shit when I am: lost, confused, didn't follow their directions, sad, scared of the dark, refusal to not park the car until "it feels right", my irate demands of being the main photog for most outings and also photo editor including but not limited to saying things like "Just take 20 pictures, I am posing, I'll delete the bad ones later" which they are extremely annoyed with. But they still like me enough to call me, check on me, tag me in a funny Star Wars pic, and invite me to be seen in public with them at various events, which is really nice of them.

This month is also not only a cause for me to celebrate my wins, fails, and the people that make my life a hip happening ride, it is also a time for me to reflect on things that have made me the person I am today. One of those things is the inspiration I have gathered from the great friends I have made on my blogging journey and the motivation to do even small things every day that help someone else. Not only because of the kindness that is shown to me, but because "it is good to do good things." My birth month is also Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, and because of my dear friend's story of her daughter's Cancer journey, I am passionate about giving as much awareness as possible to the cause.

 My friend Sheila Quirke shared the story of her sweet girl Donna for the first time, 2 years ago. Last year the series was reposted again by the Huffington Post. Because of Donna's story, a light was sparked not only in my heart but in the hearts of thousands of people all around the world. Sheila started a charity, "Donna's Good Things", as a way for her to continue to parent Donna by doing good things for others as well as sharing the good things others do, all in Donna's memory. Donna's Good Things has raised over 170K for St. Baldrick's, and continues to shine a light for Cancer Parents and Cancer Children by giving back to the local hospitals and organizations that helped Donna in her short life. This year, a new series has started with a new post being made every day, that shares the stories of Children who have been affected. I am inviting you to read these stories and also Donna's story this month because learning the stories of Children who have been affected, leaves a stronger impression than statistics.
"The hope is that by learning about children with cancer, readers will be more invested in turning their awareness into action" Mary Tyler Mom
You can like Mary Tyler Mom HERE
You can read the September Series on Childhood Cancer Stories HERE
You can like Donna's Good Things HERE
For more information on Donna's Good Things, CLICK HERE
And for more info on St. Baldrick's and to find an upcoming event near you, CLICK HERE


The first giveaway is from yours truly of course, because I like you for being here.

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The next Giveaway is from:
Emily's Embellishments

and is a Gift Card for 25.00 that is good for the purchase of any custom or in stock items that can be found at Emily's Embellishments on Facebook by clicking HERE
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The next giveaway is from:
Passions By Dev & Cyn

This prize includes the winners choice of a Sexy Skin for Him Set which includes:
A cooling and refreshing grooming set that features 1 Soft and Silky Shave Cream and 1 Liquid Body Silk
Sexy Skin for Her Set which includes:
1 Liquid Body Silk in a choice of 3 fresh and flirty scents: Coconut Lemongrass, Plumeria, or Pomegranate Ginger
1 Body Mist in Pomegranate Ginger Fragrance
1 Gold Dust Shimmering Body Powder
a 15.00 Gift Certificate to be used at Passions By Dev & Cyn
Passion Parties By Dev & Cyn can be found on Facebook by clicking HERE


Passion Parties At Passion Parties we offer in-home parties for primarily women(but they are great for co-ed & couples nights as well)

                Carrying everything from bubble bath & body lotion to bedroom toys & romance enhancers!
For Online Shopping click HERE

Phone consult is also offered to help place an order.


One lucky winner will score an Ultimate Applicator Skinny Wrap from
Meredith Seifert Skinny Wraps by It Works

"Tighten, Tone, Firm, and Detoxify in as little as 45 minutes"
More info and to place an order can be done at Meredith's site by clicking HERE
and also on her Facebook Page by clicking HERE

Can be shipped anywhere in the US.

Denise Lang is giving away a 25.00 Gift Card to Disney! It can be used at any Disney Theme Park, The Disney Store, and Online at

Ears To You Travel

is a Disney Vacation Planning service that is 100 percent free to use to help clients book their perfect Disney vacation, monitor for potential discounts and deals, assist with dining reservations, tours, and more!
For more info please check out Ears To You Travel by clicking

Denise is also available on her Facebook Page HERE

Here's your chance to win!

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Jenna Rose-Jamberry Nails

is giving away a set of Mummy and Me It's More! Nail Wraps featuring a really fun Halloween print!
To see more prints and order you can check out Jenna's site by clicking HERE
And by checking out her Facebook Page HERE
Adult Print

Good for 3-4 applications and valued at 15.00

Kids Print (other monsters are in the set!)

Good for 5-6 applications and valued at 15.00



Suny Island Blu Soap Co.

Put a little sun in your day with handcrafted soaps, lotions, body sprays and lip balms made with an island flair!
Many different scents are available such as, Island Rose, Pearberry, Dreamsicle, and Salty Mariner, just to name a few!
All are handmade in small batches, and crafted with natural ingredients.
Check out Suny Blu Island's shop HERE
and for an even BIGGER selection that ships internationally, click HERE

To like Suny Blu Island Soap Co. on Facebook, click HERE
Suny Blu Island is giving away a 15.00 Gift Certificate that can be used on any Instock purchase. (Disclaimer: Expires 30 days after winner receives GC)
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It's On The Walls

It's On The Walls Decals creates custom high quality vinyl decals that can be used to decorate any room in your home or office!
You can shop at their Etsy store It's On The Walls HERE
and you can like their Facebook page by clicking HERE
It's On The Walls is giving away 1 30x30 high quality vinyl wall decal (winners choice: In stock OR custom)
Red Marionette
Red Marionette handcrafts fun home and holiday d├ęcor that is sure to add a touch of whimsy. From fabric wall art, holiday stockings, party favors and holiday ornaments, you are sure to fall in love with something in their shop!
To check out Red Marionette on Etsy click HERE
and at their main site HERE
Their Facebook page can be found HERE
Halloween is coming! And to prepare for the season, Red Marionette is giving away this adorable ornament "Casey the Candy Corn" he is 3" tall and made from felt and puffed with polyfil.
And as a special gift to Humblers you can use the code HUMBLE for 10% off your purchase during the month of September!
Youthful Love Designs
Custom made clipboards and custom wood frames (clip frames) can be made to reflect your taste and style. A variety of patterns and text to choose from and makes a great Back to School gift!

To make your own custom clipboard or frame, you can contact Youthful Love Designs on Etsy by clicking HERE
To follow Youthful Love Designs on Facebook, click HERE
Youthful Love Designs is giving away 1 9x12 custom clipboard and 1 6x12 custom wood frame! FREE shipping in the US only
Michele's Usborne Books

 Usborne and Kane Miller books are the most exciting, engaging, and educational books on the market today. They are high quality, colorful, engaging, and kids LOVE reading them. There are almost 2000 fun titles covering a wide variety of subjects. 

Michele is a sales rep for Usborne and is offering a fun paper doll style sticker book, "Popstars and Movie Stars" The stickers are removable from furniture and can be repositioned.
To find more great Usborne titles you can check out Michele's site HERE
and follow her Facebook page HERE

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Stitches, Witches & Bows

Stitches, Witches & Bows designs cute and colorful bows, headbands, pony holders and clips. From big flower headbands to bright spiky bows, Stitches And Witches has just what you are looking for and is open for custom orders!
To visit Stitches, Witches & Bows on Store Envy, Click HERE
To follow Stitches, Witches & Bows on Facebook, Click HERE

Stitches, Witches & Bows is giving away this adorable alligator clip Trick or Treat Bow!

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The Mother Freakin Princess Giveaway

My sweet friend and fellow blogger, The Mother Freakin Princess, is giving away a Team Beachbody DVD "Hip Hop Abs"

To watch a demo of the DVD and learn about Team Beachbody click HERE
and to follow my amazing friend, The Mother Freakin Princess, click HERE
Lotus Candy

Lotus Candy specializes in bath products in an assortment of varieties and scents like jasmine + vanilla, candy cane, citrus sucker punch, and eucalyptus + lavender, just to name a few!
Lotus Candy Bath Candy

Lotus Candy Bath Fizzie
To find Lotus Candy on Etsy click HERE
To follow Lotus Candy on Facebook click HERE
The Winner of this giveaway will receive their choice of 1 set of 6 bath fizzies OR 1 set of 12 bath candies, in a scent of their choosing!
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But WAIT there's EVEN MORE!
I will be posting even MORE giveaways tomorrow! (9/04)

THANK YOU to all the businesses that have participated!