July 2, 2003 ~ Enter Miss Nichole

Nichole was the fourth baby. I was in the middle of a divorce when she was born, and I was semi-dating a guy who was more of a friend to me than anything. When I went into labor and got to the hospital, I was pretty determined to do the entire thing by myself. (What’s that saying about making plans and God laughing?)

I’m the first to admit that I’m a big baby when it comes to pain. When I was in the delivery room, in labor, I was emotional and terrified so eventually asked David to join me and hold my hand, when he happily did.

One of the nurses, an RN named Whitney, just happened to have gone to high school with me, so I was semi-embarrassed (not quite the reunion you want being in stirrups and pushing life out of your vagina) and semi-grateful because she was one of those sweet natured girls in high school and truly a wonderful nurse. The doctor, on the other hand, was ridiculous. At one point, he came in asking me if I was ready to push. I wasn’t. So he got angry and left. I never saw him again until after Nichole was born. (What a douche-bag!) I was having my fourth child. I think that entitles me to the experience of knowing when I’m ready to push and when I’m not.

When Nichole entered the world, Whitney delivered her with the assistance of two other nurses in the room. Frankly, I was pretty glad the douche-bag doctor hadn’t returned if he was going to have an attitude like that. Do you really want to anger a woman in labor? You’re likely to get kicked in the jaw!

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Nichole was such a sweet little baby girl, but she did need some assistance breathing when she was born. They kept her in her incubator for 24 hours, using the oxygen hood bili-blanket-use(see photo). She was allowed to go home the following day. She came home with a bilirubin blanket (see photo), as she was also somewhat jaundiced. She had birthmarks all over her sweet face, when she was born. One on each eye lid, one above her nose, one above each ear, one on the crown of her head and one on the back of her neck. Poor baby looked like she’d been in a bar fight.

About a week or two after she was born, the doctors found her hydrocephalus, which I’ve previously posted about, feel free to search my posts for that story.

The C Word and Other Obscenities

Today is the day that I find out if I have cancer or not.

And I’m terrified.

I’m terrified to hear the answer.

I’m terrified to have to say that word out loud.

I’m terrified that I’ll have to tell my children.

And all I really want to do is yell every obscenity I know. All of them. Twice.

 

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World Wars

Have you ever watched television or movies and wondered how in the hell these families

AR000902have kids that don’t constantly fight? This plagues me constantly. It hurts my heart to hear them talk about how much they hate each other. I’m well aware that siblings everywhere fight, but I can’t figure out at what point in time that all finally ends?

17523436_739932349500584_4913308194758659748_nI have an older brother myself, but we didn’t really grow up together. The few years that we did live together as kids, I do recall the occasional arguments here and there, but he was also five years older than me. He had his friends and his life, and I wasn’t included in any of that. By the time I was 11, we no AR001202longer lived together.

These days, my kids have had their whole lives together. In the last couple of years, Darcie and Cassie have finally gotten to the point where they’re close and loving sisters. It was a long, hard road because they’re 10402378_10152144751115925_129885094075340088_nalso five years apart. Stolen makeup and sibling arguments kept them going for a while but now they’re close and loving and have learned to appreciate each other.

 

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My issue is my son’s relationship with his sisters. And the girls’ relationship with their brother. I don’t know how to solve the issue, especially when none of them are interested in making the effort. My son is almost 19. At what point do they begin to make adult relationships with their siblings?

I feel like pulling my hair out.

I included “happy sibling” photos to remind myself of the few times they were happy together….*sigh*

It’s a Mario Kind of World

On July 2nd, Miss Nichole turned 14 years old. Wow, 14! So….since she’s still deep into her Mario obsession, I decided to take her (and Cassie, Ryan, and my ex-husband, Rob) on a Mario inspired adventure at The Infield in Lexington, Ohio. First, we tackled mini-golf (inspired by Mario Golf, no less). Now we 2515598-mariogolf_wt_1920_042314haven’t taken Nickie mini-golfing since she was around 3 or 19601515_10154544348870925_8313605813444906953_n4 years old. She was far more impressed back then, than she was now. Still cheats though!

After we finished around 15 out of the 18 holes of golf, we waited for a few minutes until Darcie, Jason and Tessa arrived. We headed for the go-karts! Whychar_mario have a Mario inspired birthday without a little Mario Kart? All the kiddos raced first, so I managed to get a lot of pictures. Poor Nickie had never been go-karting (me either, for that matter), so she drove her car slowly, taking the scenic 19601101_10154544428655925_4704771385241263456_nroute apparently. She loved it though.

After the first race, the kids all watched while Rob and I had our turn. I lost, by the way….badly. Then some of the kids took another turn. Nickie wasn’t terribly fond of the loud noises, even after we warned her that it would be noisy. You’ll have that with Asperger’s though. She was okay pretty quickly, tolerating the noise for the sake of the day.

We finished out our adventure with a Mario (pizza) Party! A good time was had by all, and she actually told me when we pulled into the driveway at the end of the day, “I had a really great day! Thank you!” and that is something I don’t think I’ve ever heard from her.

Enjoy the photos!

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May 12, 2000 ~ Cassandra

I started this blog after Cassie’s birthday, so I want to revisit that day.

I will never, ever forget the day she was born. Rob was working in Columbus. He used to be a concrete finisher, once upon a time ago. On May 1, 2000, Rob and his father quit their jobs at a concrete company, and began their own company. Thankfully, Rob’s health insurance held out for the rest of that month. On May 12, 2000, I had taken Robbie (2) and Darcie (5) into town to visit with a friend of mine. At that point in time, we lived in Sparta, Ohio. I took the kids to Mount Vernon for the day. Now, before I get ahead of myself, the baby was due on Darcie’s birthday – June 11th.

Well, for the past couple of days, I had been having pains off and on in my abdominal area. Rob and I would time them, but they weren’t consistent at all. They weren’t getting any stronger either. They were uncomfortable, but completely bearable. Well, Rob didn’t really want me to stay home by myself with the kids, just in case things escalated while he was at work. So I made arrangements with my friend, Tammy, to spend the day at her house. Darcie and her daughter, Samantha, were good friends.

So Tammy and I decided to pack all three kids into my van and take them to McDonald’s for lunch. I was driving because…well, it was my van, and Tammy wasn’t allowed to drive, medically. When we got to McDonald’s, we decided to just go through the drive-thru and take the food home. Neither of us had any desire to fight with the 20 other kids in the playland area. Once the order was placed, I pulled up to the drive thru window and was suddenly gripped with whatever these darn pains were. I lost my ability to talk momentarily, and the poor McDonald’s worker started panicking, throwing around “Oh my God! Are you alright??!!” Tammy just laughed and leaned over to explain that I was in active labor, but give me a minute and I’d pay her. This really freaked out the poor girl, but I was ok a minute or so later, and happily paid her. After we got our food, Tammy told me that I really should go up to the hospital and at least get checked out.

I told her that I couldn’t. I still needed a baby book. So she handed the kids their Happy Meals, and told them to go ahead and start eating. I drove up to the Hallmark store and went in to find a baby book. Unfortunately, when I got to the counter to ask where they were, another pain hit me. Boy, when you’re 9 month pregnant and in pain, people jump to help you! I tried to explain that I was on my way to the hospital, but I still needed a baby book for a boy (Two ultrasounds through my pregnancy, and both of them showed how the baby was clearly a boy. See the penis?), and the poor women went running to the rear of the store and brought me back two different baby books to choose from. I’m thinking they really didn’t want me to give birth there.

I picked one, paid for it, and was on my way. When I got to the van, I told Tammy about it, and she thought it was hilarious. She jokingly wondered where else we could stop and get such fast service while I was in “labor” but I merely took everyone back to Tammy’s house. I dropped her and the kids off their, and headed to the hospital. I called my grandmother who met me there.

Unfortunately, upon examination, the hospital staff concluded that the pains I was getting were indeed NOT labor pains. I wasn’t dilated at all. Everything was perfect with the baby. I had a severe kidney infection. Well, son of a bitch! Then, they said something that completely terrified me. They told me that they were going to put an IV into my arm, run the medicine to treat the infection through the IV and then I was free to go home. I HAD NEVER HAD AN IV BEFORE, AND I WAS TERRIFIED OF NEEDLES! I had already had two babies without any IV’s or drugs or anything.

Well, needless to say, I panicked. And I mean, I PANICKED! I started crying and practically screaming and ended up having a full-on panic attack. My grandmother, a woman of very little patience, told me to calm the hell down and it would be over in a minute. Nothing I could do. I had to let them stick that damn needle into my arm. Realistically, it wasn’t JUST about the needle. They were gonna stick something into my arm….AND LEAVE IT THERE! What kind of barbaric ritual bullshit is that?

Well, guess what? The panic attack threw my unhappy ass into labor, full speed ahead. They put that IV into my arm at 6pm. My grandmother decided since I wasn’t in labor, and Rob was on his way anyway, she’d just head home. She kissed me on the forehead and told me to call her when I got home. I nodded, still kind of crying about this IV business. And, dammit, why were the pains in my belly getting worse from this medicine and not better?

The nurse, confused by the panic attack and my new complaints of stronger pain, finally called the doctor back. He begrudgingly came back and checked me again. I was now crying from the pain. He looked up at me, completely dumbfounded. I had gone from 0-10 in a matter of minutes. MINUTES! He started barking orders and I was taken to delivery immediately.

Rob barely got there in time to go into delivery with me. The baby was born at 6:48pm. Within 48 minutes, I had gone into active labor, and progressed into delivery, and gave birth. I remember hearing a nurse say that since I already had an IV in my arm, I could actually have drugs this time. So they gave me something for pain, but the baby came within two minutes of her putting that med into the IV. So, really….that pain med only helped with the after effects of giving birth.

Holy shit! That’s not a boy! OMG! Rob and I were dumbfounded! We had gotten rid of all of Darcie’s baby clothes, and kept all of Robbie’s. We had everything set up for a boy! We didn’t even have a name picked out for a girl! We didn’t even have a girl “home from the hospital” outfit.

So, when we called family to let them know, we asked that they bring girl clothes! I’ll never forget my grandmother’s reaction to the news that I had the baby. Her exact words were, “You were SUPPOSED to go home! That’s why I left!”

Rob left that night. Tammy had been called and agreed to keep the kids overnight. Rob had to run out to Sparta, pick up stuff for both kids, bring it back to town before turning around and going home. He called me when he got home, and we talked for an hour or so….finally agreeing on a first name for the baby: Cassandra.

He had to work the next day, but had made arrangements to pick the baby and I up after work. The hospital personnel was pressuring me to pick a middle name, but I was at a loss. Rob told me to pick whatever I wanted, just please no weird names (his niece’s names were very “creative”).

I liked the “creative” names though, so I gave my baby the name Cassandra Chayne (pronounced Shane). When Rob picked us up, I told him the name I picked (already on the birth certificate) and he wasn’t happy. I explained (dishonestly) that Chayne was how you spell Shane for a girl, and he grudgingly accepted that explanation. I flat lied, and I don’t regret it. I will always love Cassie’s name.

 

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The Okays.

As we draw closer to Nichole’s birthday, I keep remembering when she was little. Most children learn their first words and quickly pick up a vast vocabulary. Nichole didn’t. AsIMAG0360 I’ve mentioned before, her development was delayed. So, her first words were later than most children’s. She picked up the usual “mama” word pretty quickly but her favorite word was “okay” and my goodness, did she have 900 different ways to say it. That was her answer for everything!

Are you hungry? okay!

Are you sleepy? okay?

Do you need changed? OKAY!

Nickie, I love you. Do you love me? *giggles* okay….?

IMAG0417She just cracked the rest of us up with her 900 okays. It was almost a godsend when she finally picked up a

19075000_10154476580525925_1782095831_nfew new words. Then, when she really started talking, we missed the okays.

She was such a precious, precocious little girl. And now, we’re merely a week away from her being a 14-year-old, precocious young lady. I love her with every fiber of my being, and I know that no matter what, she’ll always be “okay”….

 

Happy Father’s Day

Mark Allen Monk

There aren’t very many men in my life, but the few that I do have are very loved. First of all, happy Father’s Day to my father. I lost him in 1992 and I miss him more and more

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every day. Its been a quarter of a century since he’s been gone and I still have a hard time understanding.

Merrill “Sonny” Monk

On the same note, happy Father’s Day to my grandfather. I lost him in 1982, and its no easier. Thirty-five years has gone by and I still remember his smile.

 

William L Sanders

11115622_10152693110705925_1403673445787193712_nHappy Father’s Day to my amazing step-father, Willie. He’s shown me that there is such a thing as a GOOD step-father. He’s an awesome cook, an outstanding husband to my mother, and an all-around great father. I know if I ever need him, he’ll always be there for me, and that means the world.

Robert Scott Stewart III

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Happy Father’s Day to Rob, my first husband and the father of three of my children. He and I are still very good friends, and he’s got such a good relationship with his kids. I hope he has a fantastic day.

 

 

Jason Atkinson

17634814_739280422899110_920356943432014039_nHappy Father’s Day to Jason, my future son-in-law and the father of my almost grandchild, Tessa. Every day, you impress me more and more. I hope you enjoy your day!