Belly Buttons and Teddy Bears

Belly Buttons

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When Cassie was little, she was completely obsessed with her own belly button. Now, I’ve seen various kids play with tags on blankets or pillows or toys, obsessing until the tags would become frayed and worn out. Children have security blankets, sure. Children need ways to feel secure, any way they can. I’ve just never seen a kid obsess over their own belly button until Cassie came along. She was worse than Linus and his blanket! But she was so freakin’ cute that the belly button thing wasn’t really a big deal, and she eventually quit.

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Years later, she had her belly button pierced and now has a variety of jewelry for that specific piercing, so maybe her obsession over her navel isn’t over?

 

Teddy Bears

Nichole has had her share of obsessions over the years, but that kind of goes hand-and-hand with Asperger’s. Her very first one was over teddy bears. Even as a baby, Nichole loved her bears, but most importantly she used her bears as pillows. I’m not sure she ever used a real pillow until she was 10. She preferred to sleep on her bears!

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She was so obsessed with her bears that she named and numbered them! “Oh, this is Beary 4!” And she could tell you which one was what number without blinking an eye.

 

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.

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”….

 

Meet Ryan

A lot of people will probably think I’m crazy but Ryan is my daughter Cassie‘s boyfriend.

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He’s been living here in my home for a few months now. They’ve been together for almost 2 years, or as I was informed yesterday “one year and nine months.”

13124458_10153462086400925_7632675044963835183_nBefore you ask, I’m not completely stupid. My daughter is most definitely on birth control, not that its anyone’s business but mine and hers. It helps that he is adamantly against teen pregnancy, as well. He’s 19, and she’s 17.

You should understand that Ryan hasn’t had it very easy for the last year or so. After he graduated high school, his mom and her boyfriend moved to a different city, and even after he found his first job he couldn’t afford to live alone on what he was 14708356_10153831218500925_3246325400238626734_nmaking. Due to high drama in my house, I felt safer with having another adult in my house since I work nights a lot, so after I tossed it around in my head for a couple of weeks, I decided to invite him to move in.

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I don’t regret it. I love that kid like a son, and I feel like he respects me like a parent. He is a good kid. He adores my daughter (when they aren’t fighting) and he would bend over backwards for her, even if they were fighting. He always talks to me about their

17884561_10154307588030925_5790893549051226890_narguments, and explains his side of things. He asks my opinion, and actually listens to any advice I might have. I’m not fond of getting in between their arguments, but sometimes I see her side and sometimes I see his.

 

 

 

 

He’s officially a member of my family, regardless of whatever future he might have with Cassie. I’d never turn him away.
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Meet Jason

On a previous post, I’ve showed a couple of photos of Darcie and her boyfriend, Jason. Now, normally I wouldn’t mention boyfriends and such, but since they live together and have been together for over a year now, he’s obviously a keeper. 18835875_769131583247327_5015557915519555538_n

When I met Jason, I heard some wild tales from several people which honestly worried me. Darcie is my oldest, and has never really had a long-term relationship before. Boyfriends, yes….but nothing to write home about. And believe me, meeting Jason didn’t help. Don’t get me wrong. He’s incredibly sweet. He has a great sense of humor. I guess I was just thrown off by the fact that he’s over 13 years older than her, been married twice already, and has a child. I decided I had to look at things logically. He’s got custody of 14720397_651968391630314_1918566557705478502_nhis daughter, whom he worships…and THAT speaks volumes to me. He treats Darcie like a queen (as far as I’ve seen) and THAT speaks encyclopedias to me.

So I can overlook his age, because he’s got a great balance of maturity and playfulness. I can overlook the past marriages, cuz ….well, I’ve been divorced twice too. Why would I look down on anyone for that? Besides, now I get to practice grand-parenting on Tessa.15665526_680989545394865_1675156712436396162_n

But the Star Wars obsession? Hmmm….lol Well, I suppose if he puts up with her Wonder Woman obsession, they balance each other out, right?

 

He’s one of those “good guys” you hear about always getting overlooked or friend-zoned. Its nice to finally see a good guy get the girl.

June 11, 1995 ~ Happy Birthday, Darcie

On June 10th, 1995, I began having labor pains, or at least I had thought so. Maybe they were Braxton Hicks? Anyway, my husband (at the time), Rob, and his cousin Devon (who was 14 at the time and loved hanging out with us on her summer break) and I headed from Cardington, Ohio to Mt Vernon, Ohio to Knox Community Hospital. Morrow County Hospital was closer to us, but everyone in my family was born in Mt Vernon, and I wanted my daughter born there as well. Besides, my OB/GYN was located in Mt Vernon.

We arrived around 9:00 pm, and after being examined I was told that the baby hadn’t dropped into position, or turned in the correct direction. I probably still had at least a week to go. They asked me if my back was hurting and I said yes. They informed me that it was normal, so we were sent home. By the time we got home, it was well after midnight. I went to bed and I don’t think I slept a wink. My back was absolutely killing me! And the pain would come and go. It was enough to bring me to my knees, and make me vomit. The heat that summer was horrendous, and I couldn’t seem to cool off at all, in between my bouts of pain. When morning arrived, Rob got up and asked if I was alright. I told him my back was hurting badly, but we remembered that KCH had told us that it was normal. I had no pain in my abdominal area. So he asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital again. No, I didn’t. It seemed pointless just for them to send me home again? No thanks!

Rob and Devon had breakfast, and continued to check on me while I lay writhing in pain, on my bed. Around 2:00 pm, I had enough of sweating and crawled out of my bedroom and into the bathroom across the hall. I just wanted to crawl into the bathtub and pour cold water over my head. Rob found me on the bathroom floor. I hadn’t thought of how difficult it would be to get my pregnant belly over the side of the tub. He was not happy with me. He was mad that I refused to go to the hospital. It wasn’t really that I refused, though. I just kept remembering the KCH nurses telling me that the back pain was normal, and I had at least another week.

Rob finally had enough and called an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived, I was still on the bathroom floor. They took me to Morrow County Hospital around 4:00 pm. I remember the nurses scrambling around, telling me that had I waited another five minutes, my baby would’ve been born at home. I didn’t understand. I wasn’t in labor! My back hurt! I also remember hearing the nurses talking to each other, wondering who was going to deliver the baby since the “new” doctor had only just arrived to the area, and hadn’t officially started yet. Eventually, a man in jeans and a t-shirt arrived and asked the nurses where he could “scrub up”. I looked at Rob and said, “Dear God, they found somebody off the street!” The nurses and the man laughed at me, and explained that he was the new doctor, but hadn’t yet begun. His name was Dr. Louis Ling.

Darcie was born at 4:49 pm. Labor and delivery truly is terrifying if you hadn’t done it before, but I urge any OB/GYN to PLEASE PLEASE explain to your pregnant patients what BACK LABOR is! I’d never heard this term and had no idea what was going on.

I had a beautiful baby girl with a head full of dark hair. And today, twenty-two years later, we celebrate that day with…..

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……a trip down the river in canoes!!

I love you, Darcie. You were worth every minute of pain I had that day, and I thank God for you every single day!

 

 

Nichole ~ Birth to 3 Months Old

When Nichole was born, she was a beautiful baby girl with birthmarks all over her face, AR005202above each eye, above her nose, above each ear, at the crown of her head, and the back of her neck. My grandmother referred to them as angel kisses. I think I have a photograph of her at that age, that shows them well. When she was a week old, I took her to my family doctor, who then sent us to a pediatrician, because Nichole was showing signs of being jaundiced. She had to spend some time under the bilirubin blanket. When she was a month old, I took her to the pediatrician for her one-month checkup, and the doctor was particularly concerned that the soft spot on her head was hardening and her head was expanding more than it should, giving her a little light-bulb look. We were sent to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. We met with a neurosurgeon named Edward Kosnik, who immediately took her for an MRI. She was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, and was taken promptly into surgery to 28a493d441f66ff33674557d04806503place a shunt in the back of her head, with a drainage tube that led down into her stomach. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had to put your 4 week old baby into the hands of strangers who were hell-bent on cutting into her head before, but for a mother this is absolutely terrifying. They left me in this tiny room that had an exam table and a rocking chair. As we waited for the surgical team to come and get Nichole, I sat in the rocking chair and held her tightly, and just cried. I was absolutely terrified. Anything could happen during a surgical procedure. ANYTHING!

After they took her to surgery, I happened to notice that there was a little brass plaque on the rocking chair. Now, I don’t know about all the hospitals around the country, but Nationwide Children’s Hospital has these little plaques everywhere. Some are attached to plastic wagons that parents use to pull their kiddos around the huge building. Some are attached to benches, some are attached to rocking chairs. Each of these plaques are printed with “Donated in Memory of….” and someone’s name that has passed on. The rocking chair that I was sitting in happened to say, “Donated in Memory of Barry Heagren” and Barry just happened to be my uncle. I picked up my cell phone and immediately called my grandmother, whom I lived with at the time. I told her about the chair and the plaque and she just cried right along with me. She told me that was a sign that Barry would be watching over Nichole. I prayed that was true. I needed that to be true.

Thank God everything went well with the suAR005302rgery. Nichole and I spent a week at Children’s before finally getting released to go home.  We had to return once a week for an MRI to watch that the shunt was continuing to work. We did that for a couple of months. When Nichole was about 3 months old, she had to have the shunt replaced, as it had quit working. Afterwards, we continued with the once a week MRIs for about a month before they released us to every other week, and then once a month, and then once every three months, and finally once every 6 months. Now, we’re at once every year, which we have been for years now.

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