Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Day of Remembering

It had been a really busy week. Like, the kind of week that should go down in history as the busiest week ever. Thanksgiving was over so christmas preparations were underway. On Sunday we had our normal busy day at church and a rehearsal for our Christmas musical. I was keeping another baby full time during the week and that night found out that a friend had an opening in her in home daycare. This was a true godsend! I knew I was at the end of the road with keeping another baby because I was nearing the end of my first trimester and wanted more time to soak up my last few months as mama to one baby. So, by a sweet miracle, it worked out for baby Melanie to start in my friend's care the beginning of the following week instead of at the beginning of January like I originally thought. Monday night we had our children's choir performance at a local nursing home. Tuesday night we had our private studio Chrismas recital. Wednesday night we had church and musical rehearsal. Thursday was my last day with Melanie and that night we went out to dinner to celebrate the end of a very long week before my 12 week OB appointment the next morning. I'll never forget that evening. It was beautiful outside and everything seemed perfect. 

The next morning we were laying in bed talking and praying together that we would have good news at my appointment. Those were such perfect moments. Just peace and sweetness. Then Kris's phone rang but he didn't pick it up. Then my phone starts to ring and it seemed odd so we checked it and saw that Kris's mom, Valerie, was calling. It was 7am and that seemed rather strange so Kris stepped outside to take the call and not wake Harrison. He came back in several minutes later and I remember laying there just knowing that something was wrong. He walked in and he told me what the only thing we knew. Cameron was pulled over and, for a reason unknown to us, was shot by the officer and killed. 

Heart stopped. Life forever changed. We just sat there and cried. What else can you do? 

I've written a little about what happened next. I dragged myself to my appointment and saw a healthy baby growing after my second miscarriage. Family, friends, church family, and complete strangers rallied around all of us with love, prayer, financial help, a plane ticket for me, and countless other expressions of kindness. Love in the face of pain and grief. Thank you all. 

But today is just a day of remembering. A day to grieve the loss of someone so special that it's hard to put words to the impact he had and life he lived in such a short time. A day to look around and be thankful for we have but still be entitled to to feeling hurt and angry for what we're missing. 

So we're spending it together. Kris, his brothers, parents, Harrison, Lincoln, and I all piled in a cabin and living little adventures in a place that Cameron loved and adventured in. 

We appreciate your prayers, as ever, and I hope that you can find a moment to remember Cameron today. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Harrisonisms

Pointing to a shark on the window at a local restaurant 
"A mama shark!"
"Cool! Why is it a mama shark?" 
"Because it's scary!!!"

While fighting a nap 
"Mama, I has a Popsicle pleeeease." 
"Sorry, but you need to wait until you've woken up from your nap. Why don't you go lay down and nap! Then you can have a Popsicle when you wake up."
"Ok! Yeah!"
Runs back to his room and waits a few seconds then runs back into the living room.
"Mama! Look! I wake up from my nap! Has a Popsicle now!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Christmas Analogy

I'm one of those people who can't stand getting in the mood for Halloween before October, Thanksgiving before November, or Christmas before December. It's just wrong. However, I do know that preparing for it is necessary and so I've had holiday prep on the brain lately. One thing that I know will be quite different this year is Christmas with Harrison. For the first time I think he'll actually have a small understanding of the anticipation of Christmas. Granted, I think by this time next year he'll be old enough to really grasp it, but this year is still the beginning of the fun. Kris and I have looked forward to celebrating such an important religious holiday as a family and starting our own traditions with our kids. So, of course, we've had the Santa talk.

I genuinely feel like this shouldn't be a big deal. But it seems as though many people think it is. So here are my thoughts, in mediocre analogy form.

Kris and I believe that Jesus is the one true son of God. This is something that is very important to us and that we want to instill in our children. However, I understand that we have many friends who do not share the same faith we do. As an evangelistic Christian, that saddens me and I do wish to see them come to know Jesus as their God and savior but I love and respect them just the same. Eventually, I am sure that someone will tell Harrison or Lincoln that Jesus isn't real, just a character from an old book. I imagine that this will come as quite a shock to him and that he'll have a lot of questions for me about it. I feel like a simple explanation like, "His family doesn't share the same belief we do but that doesn't make Jesus any less real." I may have to continue reassuring him of that but I won't be upset with the other family and I certainly won't be upset with the other child. We just don't share the same belief.

So turning this same logic to Santa, I feel like it's ok if some children believe Santa is real and some don't. At the end of the day, it's a decision made by each family and not one that I want to judge. And as for my son spoiling Christmas for another child? This is simple to me. "Well, Johnny, his family doesn't celebrate Christmas the same way we do and that's ok. Santa isn't for everyone." It doesn't have to be some earth shattering revelation; it just comes down to how you handle it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Harrisonisms

One thing that is endlessly entertaining for me is Harrison's expanding vocabulary. I love to see how he says new things and develops his personal language style. So in order to keep up with all the little funny phrases I'm going to do a once a week Harrisonism post. 

I figured I would play a joke on Harrison on Monday so when I went into the other room to pick up Lincoln I roared into the baby monitor. He came running in and said "Mama! Mama! You hear that? My grandpa! On the phone!" Apparently he likes his Grandpa's roars. 

"Mama, look!"
"Oh great, you found your whale!"
"No, mom. Dat's an orca."

...and in a similar vein:
"Is that a digger?"
"No, it's an excavator."

While talking to my Granmother on the phone:
"Are you excited to go see Granmother and the cows at her house?"
"And her monkeys!"
"I don't think she has any monkeys..."
"Gorillas?"
"No, probably not any gorillas either."
"I see her sharks!"

I've been working with him on saying, "yes ma'am". Tonight while I was in another room I hear Kris talking to him...
"You need to stay in your room and read this book while I go get your snack."
"Yes ma'am!"
"Well when you're talking to daddy you can say 'yes sir'"
"Yes ma'am!"
"Yes ma'am is for mama, yes ma'am is for daddy."
"Yes ma'am! Yes ma'am!"
Then as he comes back to remind him to stay in his room
"Yes sirrrrr!" 
He finally got it!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Crappy Halloween!

"Crappy Halloween!"

Doesn't have the same ring to it as "Happy Halloween!" does but hey...that's life sometimes. This was not our greatest holiday ever. The entire day was an experiment in meltdowns on Harrison's part which had both Kris and I on edge. Then we lost our minds and took that big ball of meltdown energy to a big fall festival at a local church. Our energetic toddler, who already has a hard time handling crowds, went absolutely in.sane. Lincoln slept the entire time. And, as usual, I am not in a single one of the very few pictures taken.

It shouldn't bother me so much, really. But it does and I hate that. I hate that I want so much for days like this to be perfect even though, in the mind of a 2 year old, there's nothing different about this day. It's just another day and then suddenly your mom puts funny clothes on you, takes you to a big crowd, and says "have fun! But be on your very best behavior!" Not exactly a recipe for success.

I wouldn't even have sat down and gotten these thoughts off my brain except for the following reasons:
1. It's good to be real.
2. Next year I want to look back on this so I can remind myself to not repeat the same mistake. Ha!

So live and learn.
And next year just keep calm.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Picky picky.

Harrison woke up from nap about 30 minutes ago in a terrible mood. He see that there is avocado and tomato on his lunch plate. A couple of his favorite foods! But no, not today. He didn't even want to look at them. Finally, after he ate two sandwiches and was still hungry I said, "do you want some guacamole?" Well, that gets him all excited. So I take his plate, cut the tomatoes a little smaller and mix them into the avocado, then mash it up and give him his plate back. No seasoning or anything. 

He ate the whole thing. 

This is one of the many reasons why kids are weird. Super, super weird. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Flawed System

There is no denying that the medical system here in the United States is flawed. Taking a step further back, though, there is also no denying that the world we live in is flawed and it always has been. In fact, it always will be until we're joined with God in heaven so let's just all get used to it, shall we?

No.

This is like saying "Well, we're all sinners so we might as well not strive to honor God!" It's shameful to see injustice or pain and just sit back and let life move right along. So let me be officially among those who want to see change in our healthcare system. Mind you, I'm no Obamafan. I'm not going all political on this blog. What I want to see is ethics and accountability. Let me recount for you my experience.

In short, I suffered an exceedingly rare obstetrical complication after delivering my second son. So rare, in fact, that there have been hardly any real medical studies done on it. However, ask any doctor (who isn't trying to save their skin) what causes it and you're going to hear one thing more than any other: Don't pull too hard on the umbilical cord. There are other factors that can play into it and yes, sometimes it just happens, but the vast majority are mistakes. Plain and simple, right? Well, apparently not. After months, literally, of back and forth phone calls, meetings, and being tossed around through the system like a paper airplane I finally get to talk to "the powers that be" today. And, quite frankly, she should be ashamed of herself. Yes yes, she works with lawyers, not doctors, but listen here: she supposedly read through the information we sent to the hospital yet did not know what a uterine inversion was. In fact, I had to give her the definition of placenta. I would think that this is the kind of thing you look over before making a conference call with someone wanting answers from your hospital, but maybe I'm wrong.

Here's the underlying issue, though. After about 45 minutes of her playing the nice guy it comes down to one really simple thing: the hospital is not responsible for the doctors. That's a direct quote, by the way. The doctors have their own insurance and merely practice at the hospital. We live in a world where, at the end of the day, doctors are terrified of being sued. So terrified, in fact, that many are afraid to admit a mistake was made because that opens them up for a patient ruining their career. What a shame that is for everyone involved.

I asked for two things:
1. An apology or admission of mistake. Why? Go back and read my birth story if you need to, but it's beyond clear what happened. And if you think I'm pointing my bitter, trembling fingers at the resident then go read it again. Everyone has to learn. Everyone makes mistakes. But the best way to learn from those mistakes is to humbly say "I learned my lesson and I'm going to do whatever it takes to keep it from happening again." This hospital owes it to it's teaching program and to the moms who will continue to deliver there to treat this situation with respect and to learn from it. So here I am, a patient who is literally being denied the information in the investigation made into what happened to me even though it will greatly affect how to approach any future births I may have. That is devastating and sickening. Is that what this system has come to?

2. An adjustment to our bill. We are NOT asking them to wipe the slate clean. We went there for a vaginal birth and that's what we got. We didn't go there so that I could spend a day and a half in the ICU while my baby had 'round the clock care in the nursery thanks to a horrible mistake. Again, I'm not asking to ruin someone's career, but we would not have incurred those expenses otherwise. Why should we be responsible for paying for something like that?

So here are the answers I got:

1. You can't prove it so we won't admit it. That about sums it up.

2. The bill is from the hospital. The resident is not a hospital employee. Since the hospital isn't responsible for the resident it is impossible for the bill to be adjusted.

So let me bring this back to where I started. It's a flawed system. The doctors and the hospital are not a cohesive unit. If you've ever had surgery you know that you get a bill for the operating room from the hospital but then there's about a dozen other separate bills from what feels like each and every other person in the room. How on earth can there be any accountability when they're all separate agents? Who do they all answer to? In addition to that, there's the overriding fear that someone who just wants answers is going to turn around and use your honesty against you.

It's not simple. It's actually so complicated that it makes my head spin and my heart hurt.

I want an apology. I feel like a little kid staring a bully in the face after getting knocked down on the playground. Humiliated and afraid, but what can I do? Tell the bully "Say you're sorry!" and hope they mean it? I'm afraid I'm grown up enough now to know that it's not that simple. And before you go thinking that I'm doctor shaming, I'll repeat myself: go back and read my birth story. I may have been wanting a home birth but I'm no doctor hater. I could name several doctors that I truly adore. But they've been stuck in a really prickly corner for long enough that they have to have lawyers step in to answer questions for them when things get tough. If anything, I feel sorry for them. What a way to ruin an otherwise really rewarding job.

I want to be able to put this to rest but I just can't. I have one last appointment coming up where I hope to get the most important thing to me at this point: the apology. I want that far more than an adjusted bill. And, call me crazy, but I sincerely hope that my very optimistic views will be right and that this will incite some change in the system.