Thinking of you

Most days I crawl into bed, beneath my white quilt scattered with colorful feathers and a soft, fuzzy throw blanket(we keep it cool at night to promote sleep). This is where I think of you. You, as in my blog and readers. Several months ago I was all about writing everyday and seemed to have a pretty good routine down. Now, I thought 21 days was a magic number in helping one establish a habit. I wrote practically everyday for that amount of time and see here I’ve been missing many, many days as of late. I wanted to put myself out there, be more open and vulnerable. I can say, it is harder than one would think. Some of the journal prompts were so easy and seemed quite silly to me, but others made me delve into myself more than I had done in awhile. A couple made me wonder why I hadn’t thought about that particular thing before. I actually had to look some facts up(on Google if course☺️), to be able to answer the journal prompt fully.

This afternoon, while waiting for the charcoal to be ready, I read a short blog post on writing for just ten minutes a day. Now I could at least try to do this. So, thank you, Kara, from http://www.kelizabethfleck.com/ , for inspiring me to hop on my blog for just a bit of typing a day.

You may see a journal entry or just something that I felt I needed to write that particular day.

Now to read for a bit before this cold room induced sleep over-takes me.

In Memory

As I sit here waiting on the instructor for the neonatal resuscitation program(NRP), my thoughts again drift back in time. Every two years, for the past ten years, I have attended this exact class. Last night I was anxious and couldn’t sleep. It isn’t due to being nervous about taking this class, but to the place that I have to go to take it. It is held at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. On the same floor as my daughter was on. It is held in a classroom on the neonatal intensive care unit(NICU). Some of my readers may know that six years ago, I gave birth, prematurely, to a dark-haired baby girl. We knew(doctors and myself), that my baby girl would have something wrong with her, we just weren’t exactly sure what. When I went into labor at 33 weeks and they couldn’t stop the contractions, she was born. The hospital was concerned about transporting me to the original facility I was supposed to deliver at, the one with the specialty pediatric ward, so I had her at a rural hospital. When she was placed on my chest, she was a beautiful pink color and looked like a perfect little doll. She was also hard like a baby doll. Something was definitely wrong with her. The nurses swept her off my chest onto the radiant warmer next to me. There was a flurry of activity, then they took my baby away. I’m not sure how long it took for someone to come tell me news about my baby, but it seems like an eternity. They told me I was to come to the small nicu area. That Vanderbilt’s Angel team was there ready to transport my baby. They said they never let anyone go back here. That made me nervous to think that they’re letting me and my husband go back. I’m thinking my daughter was in a dire state for them to offer this. They told me that they had given her several drugs to help her and that she was sleeping and may not respond to me. There she was, lying in the radiant warmer, attached to many tubes, she was intubated(a tube down the throat to administer oxygen) and she wasn’t breathing on her own. The staff gently placed her in my arms for me to hold and see her since at her birth, I wasn’t able to. Too soon for me, they took her back. Out to the special ambulance that Angel transport had waiting. They would take her an hour away to the hospital I was supposed to deliver at. I wasn’t able to go with her. It took several hours for me to be discharged. By the time I got to see my daughter again, it was midnight, 7 hours after her birth. The attending doctor we saw that night was absolutely horrible. He pretty much interrogated my husband and I before he let us back to see our daughter. After doing some scans, they noted that she had a severe brain anomaly. We were so tired from the day that we briefly saw her and then went back to the rooms the hospital kindly provided patient’s parents. The next morning, we went back to see her again. An older doctor was there this time. The first words out of his mouth were, “You did nothing to cause what is wrong with your baby. It is not your fault.” I immediately liked this doctor. What a different approach he had than that awful doctor the night before! This doctor kindly and patiently explained his findings. Unfortunately, her cerebellum didn’t form properly during development. The cerebellum is responsible for multiple functions of the body. Which includes breathing and swallowing, two major needs to live. He told us that we could take time to decide what we wanted to do. How long we wanted to keep her on life support. He said that we could keep her on it for as long as we wanted, but said her quality of life wouldn’t be good for an extended period on life support.

The next day, a new nurse was there caring for our baby, Ansley. This nurse had been a former hospice nurse and was amazing. She had me do some care on our baby, like changing her diaper, giving her a sponge bath and changing out soiled clothes and linens. She also helped us make foot and hand cast of Ansley. My husband and I had decided to take her off life support the next day. We wanted family to have time to come visit her while she was alive. It was a hard decision, but we just could see our little baby suffer any longer. She would be lying there, unmoving. Some of it was due to the drugs they were giving her, but she had no motor control of her body. If they hadn’t given her those drugs, she would be in constant contracture(which is when your muscles seize up and won’t release). We took photos of her and loved on her. Family came and went.

The next day came too quickly. I didn’t want to let her go. I held her while they removed life support. Her little heart beat strongly, but she wasn’t breathing now that the tube was removed. It was about an hour before her heart stopped.

Today as I walked out of the big, double doors, at the hospital after my class, I was overcome with sadness thinking that I had carried my baby out these doors. She wasn’t alive when I carried her out. I was able to take her to the funeral home myself.

So, you now see why I get so anxious each time I need to renew this certification. The class is top-notched. That’s why I still go back. But, the memories are strong. This never will go away. I don’t wish them too. The pain isn’t as raw now as it was six years ago, though it is still there, inside of me, like my memories of my precious daughter. In a few weeks, she would be turning six here on earth. My May baby.

Squishy baby birth

My sister had her baby on Thursday, the nineteenth, at 7:07 A.M. I was happy and honored to be in attendance during her labor and birth. It had been awhile, I would guess three years since I’ve attended a birth now. I used to be attend births many times during one month.

It was, at least to me, a nice and easy labor and birth. Though I felt weary after as I’m not used to getting up so early in the morning(3:30 A.M. I was awoken).

I spent most all of the day at her house helping out with laundry, dishes, and food. Also making placenta prints, along with assisting in photographing the placenta. Then I helped with preparing the placenta to be dehydrated and made into nourishing capsules. https://www.mamanatural.com/why-eat-your-own-placenta/

Friday we got our things ready to hit the road as my sister had her baby and we’d been camping on her land for the past month.

We are at our home base in Tennessee for two weeks before heading to Missouri for a rally with other fulltime RV families. This is my first rally to attend and I’m excited to meet more folks like us.

Saturday I did a major Costco haul as I hadn’t been near one in over a month. I also hit up the grocery store. Whew, it was a long day getting stocked up on food and then the fun part, finding places to put it all in an RV.

Today was completely a time for relaxation. We caught up on some shows on Netflix and Hulu as it was a rainy day.

I’m hoping tomorrow I will be back into my routine of journaling and reading. But, these past few days have been good and busy. I am still waiting on the rest of the photos from our RV photo shoot. I’m excited to share these with you all!

Windy days and yummy food

I’m not very good at writing, journaling, or blogging everyday, it would seem. I haven’t felt much into it these past couple of days, but tonight I did feel like it. Like I was missing an old friend to chat with. I am not using any journal prompts tonight. I really just wanted to pop on here to say a quick hello before I retire to bed. Actually, I’m in bed, so I should say, go to sleep.

It’s been nice weather-wise here. But extremely windy. The children have enjoyed playing outside and getting muddy. Oh the mud! I know as a child it is such fun to be covered in as much mud as possible. To an adult, especially a mom, not so much. I’m all for playing outside. It’s just the mud is so very messy. I believe half of my children’s wardrobe has a brownish hue to it now.

While they’ve been enjoying the mud, I’ve been cooking. I’ve made homemade sweetened condensed milk, bourbon balls, and cream cheese banana bread. The sweetened condensed milk is very good, but more of a pudding-like texture, perhaps due to using coconut sugar. I’ve noticed coconut sugar makes things a bit more on the “fluffy” side. I didn’t have any other sweetener aside from honey and maple syrup, so I assumed coconut sugar would be the best bet. I made the bourbon balls because I had a bag of vanilla wafers my daughters didn’t want to eat and my sister had made a comment last week about wanting some. I made the banana bread because Brent didn’t get any from the loaf I made last week. The sweetened condensed milk was for the bourbon balls. In the past, I’ve made the bourbon balls with corn syrup, but I didn’t have any and with no vehicle to go get any, I found a recipe that used the sweetened condensed milk.

Well, I believe that’s about it for tonight and hopefully I’ll be back to my journal entries.

Journal Entry No. 17

Today was cold with light snow being blown by strong winds. The girls and I snuggled in bed a bit longer this morning since it was so chilly out and Brent is out of town. It was close to 9:00 A.M. before we were done with breakfast and started book work. After this was done, we watched Pippi Longstocking. Then the girls went outside to play with their cousins while my sister and I went for a walk.

I made lactation cookies today for my sister. My phone was disabled for many hours due to an update(the recipe is saved to my phone), so I used a different recipe this time, but my favorite is this one: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/08/lactation-cookies-recipe-increasing.html?m=1

So, on to my journal Entry for today.

What five things would I spend $5 on for fun or self-care?

  • Coffee
  • Books
  • Chocolate
  • Glass of wine
  • Flowers

Journal Entry No. 16

If I could snap my finger and be any where, I would be in Belize right now. It’s cold and rainy here where I am currently.

I would be lying in a hammock near the beach, sipping on a Mai Tai. The breeze would carry the salty scent of the ocean spray and cool me off. The sound of the ocean waves would sing a sweet melody to my ears. My hunger would be satisfied on a sweet snack of local cashew nuts until it’s time for dinner.

Now, I’ve never been to Belize, but it sounds like a very nice place to relax. I also read up about the Mayan ruins there, which would be interesting site to visit, if I ever got up from the hammock.

Journal Entry No. 15

As I sit here in my bed, in my RV, listening to the patter of rain on the top of the metal roof and the wind whipping about, I feel somewhat restless. Most of the time I enjoy a rainy day as I am able to catch up on reading or spend time watching a movie with Brent.

I did get to watch a movie this morning and with a break in the rain, go for a short walk with my sister, Danielle.

This journal prompt is about “excess baggage” that I might be carrying around. I’ve contemplated it all day. I suppose what I carry about that negatively effects me is that I have a small voice in the back of my head that tells me I’m not smart or good enough. I’m not “real” enough. Or I’m “too different” from other people to relate to them. Perhaps this is why I’ve felt uneasy most of the day thinking about these negative self-beliefs I hold of myself. I would feel so free and light if these thoughts were banished from my consciousness.

How have you released negative self-belief? Is it a continuous journey or do you feel that you truly have over-come it?

Not a journal entry ☺️

Today I didn’t have time to read, pray/meditate, or do my journaling. But, I wanted to hop on here to jot a few things down that I did. Yesterday we had a photographer come to our RV and shoot photos of us. I can’t wait to see how they turned out(and share them with you all)! She did lifestyle photographs of us inside and outside of the RV. It’ll be wonderful to have this time of our lives documented in photographs.Today, my in-laws came to visit as we are only a couple hours away from them currently. Brent and his father went off to search for some family grave sites that his Dad has been searching for for awhile now. My mother-in-law and my three daughters, plus my sister’s boys(she was grocery shopping and going to the chiropractor), walked down to a little creek off of the property we are staying at. The children had fun splashing about in the creek while Mary and I caught up with each other. Brent and Bill found the grave site. Bill was very happy as he’s tried a couple times before to find this. He enjoys documenting and researching his ancestry. Then we all sat down to a delicious dinner of Feijoada, Brazilian black beans. I also made sautéed collard greens and a salad with vinaigrette. I don’t have a particular recipe for any of these dishes. The beans, I believe, are best made with homemade bone broth(preferably from a smoked beer-butt chicken). The salad consists of chopped tomatoes, diced onion, chopped fresh parsley, fresh lime juice, olive oil, a dash of vinegar, salt and cracked black pepper to taste. I like to make this a couple hours in advance so the flavors can meld together. I’ll be back to blogging my daily journal tomorrow and will share some photos of us and our RV as soon as I get them.

Journal Entry No. 14

These are in no particular order, but it is a list of things that make me happy.

  • My daughters
  • Beaches & oceans
  • Brent
  • Good food eaten with friends and loved ones
  • Books
  • Sunshine
  • Hammocks
  • Babies
  • Flowers
  • Fresh, warm bread

  • Coffee

  • Art
  • Music
  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • Massages
  • Baths
  • Hot tubs
  • Swimming pools
  • Walks and hikes outside
  • Yoga
  • A clean home
  • Birds
  • Owls
  • Turtles
  • Cooking
  • Traveling to new places