George and I prepared ourselves as best as possible as we headed back to the PICU to see Taryn for the first time. Only 2 people were allowed in a room at once. We walked hand in hand down the curvy hallway, so anxious about what waited ahead. Taryn’s room was in the very back. As we passed the other rooms, I nervously peeked inside. My eyes scanned the surroundings, darting from room to room. I tried not to look. It felt like I was invading others privacy. But, it was impossible not to wonder about the other patients, the other families, and the other trials flowing throughout this ward. Continue reading
The morning alarm came all too quickly. My adrenaline spiked the moment it went off. We took turns taking a quick shower and dressing in our comfortable clothes as we prepared to settle in for the long day ahead. Taryn was happy and as sweet as ever. Meanwhile, the pit in my stomach nearly swallowed me whole. I tried not to think about what was about to happen to her, now only hours away. I took pictures with her in the hotel room. A nice round of selfies, because, well… I wanted to remember what she looked like right before surgery. And because I was so scared at what might happen next that I wanted pictures to remember her by. You may sit back and think “that’s dramatic,” but it was my truth in that moment. Continue reading
With our new date upon us, I was quickly trying to arrange everything to be as organized as possible. Tying up loose ends at work. Putting Taryn to sleep with a sweet bear that played music to give her comfort in the hospital in case her eyes ended up swelling shut. Organizing who was going to watch the boys, what days, letting teachers know the circumstances…. on and on. Amidst all of this, I was reminded of just how out of control we truly are, which of course, is horrible for me at any time given my personality, and even worse given, well, all of the circumstances surrounding my reminder. It was horrific, heartbreaking, and simply put, too much.
The way I consumed information started to change. I joined a few Facebook groups for craniosynostosis searching for comfort from others who had gone through the same experience as us, and yearning for the reassurance of positive outcomes. While I didn’t actively participate in these groups at first, I did constantly read stories, feedback, suggestions as much as I could. Real stories, real outcomes, real successes. It was here that I learned of an amazing organization, Cranio Care Bears [please check them out at CranioCareBears.org] and donate if you can!
You’d think from the title of this post, George and I were doing Crossfit. How I wish we were. Instead, we were running around trying to determine the next best course of action for our baby. Not long after diagnosis, our appointment to meet with the Neurosurgeon was set. This appointment was different. We were cool, calm and collected. I had done my research. In my mind this appointment was an interview. We knew Taryn had to have surgery, now we were trying to make sure she received the best care.
There’s been an unusual lapse between my last string of posts and this post. At first, I didn’t think much of it. But as more and more time started passing, and I felt the urge to write to get this one out of my system and move on, I found myself in a strange state of paralysis. And then, it hit me. This next post would be the diagnosis. The day when everything became a reality. No more what if’s (in regard to what the diagnosis would be). No more, maybe it’s not true’s. This was the date when our fears were confirmed.
This was a day of the unforeseen. We all have days like this. When something occurs, so out of the expected, that there’s not really a way to put your reaction into words. Taryn and I headed to the medical facility in Tacoma. I was familiar with this campus from taking my oldest son there when he was young. I felt prepared for the drive, prepared with the small details as to where to park, and ultimately, prepared to hear that my daughter may need a helmet. When they called us back to the exam room, I wasn’t nervous. Not at all.
As we near the 2 month mark of switching from a comfortable booth for 4, to a table for our new family of 5, I’m pleased with how easy the integration of a Harding baby girl has been. Time has been rolling by, and perhaps it’s strange, (alright, I’m sure it’s strange) but every day since we’ve had our little one I reminisce about her birth. I can’t help but think — I want to do it again. Don’t get me wrong, 3 is the perfect number of babies for me, and my family feels wonderfully complete. I’m not looking to have another baby here, however, I want to relive the entire delivery day over again, exactly as it occurred. Throughout my pregnancy I was always trying to savor each moment, and I did the same with about 99% of my delivery. I made a point to be present. The pain, the excitement, the surprises, and the tears. Now I’d like relive that moment in time again. If only the Delorean sat in my garage…
I don’t know if any of you experienced fear about introducing your children to each other for the first time, but with each sibling I have been concerned. I always want the older siblings to immediately love the younger, yet know that my feelings for them haven’t changed. Quentin was in love with Kaden as soon as he laid eyes on him. And though I was intimidated by the boys meeting Taryn for the first time, I realize now I had no reason to be. They were smitten from the start.
The other day, as I sat rocking Taryn, Kaden looked on, sitting as close to me as he could with his eyes firmly planted on his baby sister. “You know, Taryn’s the cutest in our family,” he said without breaking his gaze. I felt a twinge in my gut, thinking perhaps he was feeling insecure due to all the of the hoopla surrounding the baby. “Oh no, you and your brother are both extremely cute!” I comforted back. Kaden took a big step back and looked at my like I just said something asinine. Confused by his response, I continued, “You guys are my most handsome boys and…” Before I could finish my sentence Kaden put me in my place. “Taryn is the cutest mom! She is, she is beautiful!” He was serious and his tone took me by surprise as he looked at me with something nearing disgust. He couldn’t believe I would question his initial statement. It’s clear my worries were unfounded. He really felt that way about his sister. The fact he loves her so confidently fills my heart.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still things all of us are learning and working on. And in 2 months, I’m sure I’ll want to relive the previous 2 months…But the fact that at the foundation of our learning and adapting is a deep and organic love, I have a new found confidence in our changing family dynamics.
To say the last 9 months have been busy is an understatement. From the lack of posts, I think it’s clear, not only were we busy, but time seemed to move at an oddly rapid pace. It’s funny how the more pregnancies you have, the faster each one goes by. Granted, you’re increasingly busy with each child, but now that it’s over, it seemed nearly unnatural. Forgive me as I journey back over the past few months…. for there are moments I don’t want to forget. As I think back over my pregnancy, I feel so lucky to have had such a good experience overall.
I baked a baby girl for 9 months, and after all that work, she really did come out a girl. It literally took 3 ultrasounds to convince me with 99% certainty that the baby in my belly was a girl. And when she finally arrived and I was hurdled over the threshold to 100% positivity, I was overwhelmed with joy.
We raced and camped and raced and camped. George won the PRO series for his class, which meant many nights sleeping in a trailer and roughing it in the dirt. I’d be proud of that feat anytime, but especially walking the track with 2 little boys and a large belly.
We travelled to Vegas, and every morning I woke up feeling like a champ, volunteering to run for coffee and pastries in the gorgeous sun as others hid in their dark rooms. What’s even more important, I had an awesome time. I was nervous beyond belief to “party” in Vegas at 7 months pregnant. The usual just wouldn’t do. But to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation, laying by the pool with a belly, and drinking fancy non-alcoholic cocktails.
Quentin played soccer and the boys both started wrestling. We began wrestling late in the season, since it overlapped with soccer. Boy was this a different, but fun experience. Wrestling has always been one of my favorite sports to watch because it’s so intense. Amplify that times 100 when it’s your child. I’ve never been so proud, excited, and terrified in one moment as I was when they stepped out onto that mat for their first match. Both boys did wonderfully, and now, our living room is full of legit matches as opposed to the standard bum rush wrestling we had been used to.
We bought a new house (provided everything closes as expected)! It was a bit of a surprise, but the stars just aligned and everything fell into place. If you know our real estate history, you know that’s kind of luck is a rarity for us.
This post turned more into a year review for the Harding’s, but it was important to me to try to get this down. Looking back, it’s been an eventful time in our lives, and now that our little one is here, we can’t wait for the new experiences coming our way. More to come soon on her arrival.
I have had a Pin-spiration Revelation.
There are many ideas from Pinterest I have vowed to get crafty over, save money on, or promised to plant. Most of them remain lofty goals on my virtual pin boards. The ones I take the most action on, usually also provide a dent in my wallet, as opposed thifty solutions. However, today I saw a fun post that inspired me to take action, and not with money. One mother asked her children simple everyday questions and recorded their answers. A different type of time capsule, and very in line with the purpose of this blog.
Tonight, I sat down with my boys (Quentin 6, and Kaden 3) and recorded their responses to 21 simple questions. Here’s a deeper look into my world, through they eyes of my sweet boys.
1. What is something Mommy always says to you?
Quentin: “I’m nice.”
Kaden: “Uh…. Poop, but I say that on accident. Love me.” [For the record, I don’t believe I ever say poop…but….]
2. What makes Mommy happy?
Quentin: Giving her a hug and a kiss.
Kaden: Nose kisses, kisses, and hugs.
3. What makes Mommy sad?
Quentin: When someone gets hurt.
Kaden: When someone is mean.
4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
Quentin: By playing jokes on me.
Kaden: When you give me candy you make me laugh.
5. What was Mommy like as a child?
Quentin: Uh… I don’t know. Where you playful?
Kaden: Be happy.
6. How old is Mommy?
Kaden: 5, wait 100!
7. How tall is Mommy?
Quentin: 30 inches, are you lower than that?
Kaden: 14! Yeah, got it.
8. What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do?
Quentin: Having a family day.
Kaden: Scratch your back.
9. What does Mommy do when you’re not around?
Quentin: Goes to work.
Kaden: Go to work.
10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Quentin: A great singer. [See George! I’m awesome.]
Kaden: Piggy back rides on your neck.
11. What is Mommy really good at?
Quentin: Cheering me on when I’m riding my dirt bike.
Kaden: Playing Spiderman.
12. What is Mommy not very good at?
Quentin: Riding a dirt bike. Or magic.
Kaden: Playing Tea Party.
13. What does Mommy do for her job?
Quentin: Helps people know how to work a computer.
Kaden: Going shopping. [hah! I wish!]
14. What is Mommy’s favorite food?
Quentin: Pancakes. [Funny, since I am eating Paleo]
15. What makes you proud of Mommy?
Quentin: When she does something nice.
Kaden: I don’t know.
16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Quentin: A BeyBlade one.
17. What do you and Mommy do together?
Quentin: Cuddling on the couch.
Kaden: Go bye-bye with you.
18. How are you and Mommy the same?
Quentin: We both have green eyes.
Kaden: Uh… penguin heads. [hmmmmm…]
19. How are you and Mommy different?
Quentin: You’re bigger than me. Your 30.
Kaden: We match.
20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
Quentin: Cause she gives us kisses before bed.
Kaden: 100! [he throws his arms out wide and smiles]
21. Where is Mommy’s favorite place to go?
Quentin: To Target!
Kaden: To the zoo
I must say, I learned more about myself than I expected! If you have kids, and can keep their attention for 21 questions, I recommend you give this a try. I can only imagine how the answers will change over time.