Thanksgiving steal my birthday thunder.

Jimi Hendrix. Caroline Kennedy. Bruce Lee.

…. Fine.

And Jaleel White – also known as Steve Urkel.

You know what they all have in common? November 27th. They all share a birthday with me.

I know we can’t control our birthdays but is it really necessary to have sex on Valentine’s Day? Is it really necessary?

I say no. There’s no need for that. It’s a Hallmark holiday. Wooing consists of a mass produced “I love you” card and a dozen overpriced flowers. Do not cave for this, ladies. Not in February. Have your way with men in, oh I don’t know – July. Show ’em some real fireworks.

But if you are a romantic and get some booty smackin’ by Cupid then you better double up on birth control –

You risk conceiving a child with a Thanksgiving birthday.

My mom and dad let Cupid take aim and fire.

Any child born between November 22nd and November 28th will eventually have a Thanksgiving birthday. If not on the day, the birthday will get gobbled up Thanksgiving week and forgotten.

Thanksgiving birthdays are decided for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re turning 36 or if you’re turning 60. Thanksgiving birthdays are always the same.

  • Turkey and mashed potatoes. That’s your birthday dinner. You don’t get a choice where to eat because every restaurant is closed.
  • You can’t celebrate how most people celebrate birthdays. Brunch, pedicures, and shopping? Closed. It’s all closed. Sure, you have Black Friday but you risk getting trampled to death at 5 am. And that would just suck to have a matching birth and death day on your headstone.
  • Birthday lunch with friends? Forget it. They’re with their own families.
  • A Facebook serenade of “happy birthday!” on your feed? Nope. It’s considered rude to look at your phone at the dinner table. Your long-lost high school science partner will never know it’s your birthday.
  • Everyone naps on Thanksgiving. Wake up. I said wake up, it’s my birthday! Ok, I’ll just close my eyes for a little bit too.
  • It’s a sexist holiday. The men watch football. Woman, get your ass back in the kitchen, birthday girl!
  • Families get together for Thanksgiving. I cannot deny that it is special to be able to see out-of-town relatives. “Happy Thanksgiving” and hugs are given all around. It’s awkward staring at each person, waiting to see if they have anything else to say. I mean, I’m right here.
  • Some years, Thanksgiving birthdays are not with your own family. Some years, you’re forced to spend your birthday with the in-laws. And your mother-in-law fattening you up like a butterball turkey. This is not an insult. I just don’t have any self-control.
  • Thanksgiving is included in “the holidays.” Oh, that’s your Christmas present too.
  • When the pies are brought out for dessert, you pray one of them does not have candles on it. There is no substitute for birthday cake.

I know. I do exist. I can’t complain about the day I was born so thank you for making me, mom and dad.

It’s just not my choice day to pop out of the womb.

This is all Cupid’s fault – AIM FOR THE TURKEY, YOU FLYING BABY!

Just say no to sex on Valentine’s Day.

______________

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And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

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The birth of Kate.

Good evening.

It’s May 7, 2017. Kate is eight years old today.

It’s story time here on the blog.

I can’t think of a better story than the birth of Kate. I’ve never written Kate’s birth story. I’m a little surprised at this because birth stories are one of those staple stories we, as parents, tell one another. Placentas, foot-long needles to the spine, a smear of poo on your baby as it slides out – I mean, there’s no filter when it comes to birth stories. No, I didn’t poo on Kate.

Before I begin the story, I will tell you I am feeling more pain now than I did eight years ago. That’s because my dumbass decided to book a dugout suite to watch the Kansas City Royals play the Cleveland Indians on the afternoon of May 6th. This normally wouldn’t be a huge deal but the group of people we joined are good storytellers and their stories always include a party bus, two stripper poles, fireball shots, and Prince’s power ballad, Pussy Control.

Back to my daughter’s day of birth –

Kate was due May 17, 2009. On the evening of May 6th, I felt contractions. I couldn’t sleep through them. Once the contractions were five minutes apart, we called my parents to pick up Emma and headed to the hospital around 2 am on May 7th.

I changed into a hospital gown and monitors were wrapped around my belly. The nurse checked my cervix and we waited.

Nurse: No change. You’re at a 3.

Me: No change?! They’re five minutes apart!

Nurse: I’ll wait another hour but if you don’t move, I might have to send you home. You are welcome to walk the hallways and see if that helps.

I walked the hallways with Scott. Another nurse pushed a baby burrito past us in a clear bassinet.

Nurse: Look at this little girl! Her daddy is a Sporting KC player!

Scott: Really? That’s cool!

I stared at the baby. And then looked at the mountain attached to me.

Me: Don’t let anyone upstage you, Kate. GET OUT.

I waddled back to my room. The nurse checked me again.

Nurse: No change. I’m sorry, Julie. I’m going to have to send you back home.

Scott: And do what?

Nurse: Come back when the contractions get stronger or if her water breaks.

Scott: If her water breaks at home, I’ll be delivering a baby at my own house. You better send me with a handbook on how to deliver a baby.

Me: SCOTT.

Nurse: You’ll be ok. It’s probably false labor.

Scott: No, you don’t understand. She’s Mexican. Last time she had a baby and her water broke, the baby just flew out of her vagina. And the doctor said she’ll be faster with this one. Get ready for us to be on the news with a highway birth.

Me: Scott, it’s fine. We’ll go.

I walked into the bathroom to change into my own clothes. I held on to the sink. The contraction took my breath away. I walked out to the nurse’s station where Scott was still arguing with the nurse. He was writing down notes on the hospital admittance form.

Scott: So I’ll take the shoelace and tie it around the umbilical cord?

Me: Oh my God. Let’s go.

Scott: This nurse is making a huge mistake. Sending us home like this when you’re clearly in labor.

Scott drove me home. The morning light was just starting to fill the sky with color. I was quiet. The contractions were intensifying.

Scott: I guess I’ll call my parents and tell them false alarm. They’re probably almost to Kansas City by now.

Me: Uh huh.

Scott: Why don’t they induce you? What kind of nurse is that?

Me: Mm.

For the next 30 minutes, Scott drove back to our home. We turned down our street. I felt liquid on my legs. I jumped out of the seat.

Me: SCOTT!

Scott: WHAT’S WRONG. WHAT.

Me: Scott. I think. I think my water broke. It’s all wet. Everything is soaked. Scott this can’t happen. Why did she break my water on our street? KATE!!

Scott: Are you sure? Are you sure your water broke?

Me: I know I didn’t pee. It’s gushing. Scott, I can’t stop it. I’m wearing your pajama pants. It’s all over my car! She’s not letting anyone upstage her.

Scott: What?

Me: Just go.

Scott turned around and floored it.

Scott: Damnit. We’re going to hit the morning rush hour traffic.

Scott started to make phone calls. I cried with the pain and the fear of my fast deliveries.

Scott: I DARE A COP TO PULL ME OVER. THIS IS THIS STUPID NURSE’S FAULT. I’M GOING TO FIND HER AND RAISE HELL.

Me: Don’t. Don’t kill us. Scott, you need to hurry.

Another 30 minutes passed and Scott pulled up to the hospital again. A nurse ran out of the emergency department with a wheel chair. I stood up out of the car. Water gushed again. I cried.

Nurse: Yep, your water broke. Let’s go. Dad, park the car and meet her in labor and delivery.

My room sat untouched since I left an hour before. Another nurse walked in.

Nurse: Yep, that’s amniotic fluid. Go change into a gown in the bathroom. If you need to, go ahead and pee too.

I sat on the toilet and peed. I wiped and looked inside the toilet. White flakes were everywhere.

Me: HEY! What is all this? Is something wrong? There’s white flakes in my pee!

The nurse walked in.

Nurse: That’s amniotic fluid. It’s normal. Nice and clear. That’s good.

Me: Oh. Hold on, another contraction. Ok. What happened to the other nurse in here?

Nurse: We had a shift change.

Me: Oh, thank God. No ass ripping.

Nurse: What?

Me: Nothing.

Nurse: I’m going to check you and if you’re far enough, we’ll call the epidural team in here.

Scott arrived. I was at a 6 and the epidural team wheeled their cart in. I finally sat in my bed, relieved I couldn’t feel anything anymore. The nurse walked in again to check me.

Nurse: Wow. You really go fast, don’t you? You’re ready to push!

Me: But I didn’t even get to close my eyes.

Nurse: I’ll call your doctor.

The hospital staff prepped the room. Lights came down out of the ceiling. Stirrups were placed in front of me.

Nurse: Bad news. Your doctor is stuck in traffic.

Scott: Are you kidding me? Can’t one of you deliver her?

Nurse: We could but legally can’t. I’ll call a doctor off the floor. Oh, honey. This baby is falling out.

Another nurse ran in and held Kate’s head. The nurse ran out of the room and ten seconds later a female doctor walked in. She put her hands up, like she was being held hostage.

Doctor: I don’t deliver babies.

Me: WHAT!

Doctor: I didn’t sign up for this. I’m not an obstetrician. I’m a D.O.

Me: You’re not a doctor? What the hell is a D.O.?

I looked at the nurse holding Kate’s head. My legs were spread as far as they could in the angry D.O.’s face.

Oh my God. She’s scared of my big vagina.

Scott: Looks like you’re delivering one now. Someone better catch my daughter or I will.

Nurse: We’ll talk you through it.

I didn’t push. Kate fell into the doctor-but-not-an-obstetrician-doctor’s hands. Kate cried. The nurse took Kate and put her on my chest.

Me: Oh, Kate.

Scott: Hi, Kate! Happy Birthday.

Me: Scott, her hair! She has blonde hair.

My real doctor ran in as the nurse helped Scott cut the cord.

Me: Oh, thank God. Don’t let that woman near me with a needle and thread.

Doctor: I’m so sorry. The traffic. I’ll finish you up. We’re going to deliver the placenta. You might have to push again.

A nurse took Kate away.

Doctor: Beautiful. Placenta looks good. I’m going to stitch you up. What’s your daughter’s name?

Me: Kate. Her name is Kate Audrey.

Scott: Hey! I won the baby football pot! It’s 5-7-9! And 8:30 am!

Me: SCOTT!

Happy birthday, Kate! May 7, 2009 at 8:27 a.m. – you never did let that other baby in the hospital upstage you. You always have the best stories.

___________

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Dear Football Gods.

Dear Football Gods,

It’s November 27th. It’s my 35th birthday.

35 candles to wish on. 35 flames extinguished on one wish.

Did you feel it?

I won’t come to you asking for my health or food on my plate. I won’t ask you to forgive my horrible, unspeakable sins. I won’t come to you asking for world peace.

That’s not the kind of deals you make. I know that. What I’m asking you doesn’t involve peace of any kind.

In fact, maybe I’m sending a prayer up to the Football Devils.

Whoever you are, you are up there performing miracles on Hail Marys or shifting the winds ever so much for a kicker to miss a field goal. Whoever you are, I blew out candles tonight for you.

I want a Kansas City Chiefs win over the Denver Broncos on this night, November 27th, 2016. On my 35th birthday.

Would I put my health, empty plates, unforgiving sins and world peace on this game? Why, yes I would. Are people calling me childish for not inviting friends over because they are Broncos fans? Yes, Scott did call me childish. Did I wake up this morning and think, “today’s the day! Chiefs vs. Broncos! The day the Chiefs will win because it’s my birthday.” Why, yes sir, I did. 

You see, I’m a good fan. I’m what a fan should be. I will not deviate from The Kansas City Chiefs, the Kansas City Royals, Sporting KC, or the Kansas State Wildcats. The lows and the highs, I’m there. I pray to you. I cuss at you. I cry. I scream. I trash talk on Twitter. I text my football soulmate, Carmen, because she understands that my behavior is not childish behavior, it’s just superstitious behavior. I laugh. I smile. I high-five. I threaten to pull out the 4th of July fireworks. I pray.

I pray to you again. Please. I didn’t even do anything that fun today because I have a cold. I have a cold on this grey, rainy day in Kansas City. Only you can pick me up.

All I want is a Kansas City Chiefs win over the Denver Broncos on this night, November 27th, 2016. On my 35th birthday.

Thank you.

And thank you for nicknaming the Denver Broncos, “donkeys.” That’s hilarious.

Julie, the 35-year-old Chiefs fan.

___________

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34 things I learned in 34 years.

Today is my last day as a 34-year-old.

In a lifetime, 35 isn’t old. It’s probably better defined as the era of your prime.

To my younger siblings, I’m old. To Scott, I’m young – even if it’s only by four months. To my kids, I’m old. My ob/gyn is checking off the advanced maternal age box – not that that will ever be checked. 

35-years-old. There’s no hiding that I am an adult. I’m not old and wise but I’m not young and dumb either. I learned a few things. As I toast off 34 years, I can reflect how much I’ve grown since that bitter cold November morning in 1981.

34 things I learned in 34 years.

  1. People aren’t against you, they are for themselves. I saw this quote floating around Pinterest. This doesn’t mean people are evil or selfish. It just means the world isn’t against you. It’s nice to remember when someone is flipping me off on the highway.
  2. There comes a point in parenthood when others tell you, “your kids are so cute” to “your kids are so big.” And that’s a sad day. I’m used to it. I get it – they’re big.
  3. When ordering a beer or wine or whiskey shot at the bar, always ask for a glass of water with it. You’ll thank me tomorrow.
  4. No amount of advice, money, or prayers can prepare you for parenthood.
  5. Yes, you do too have room for dessert. 
  6. The labrador retriever is the world’s friendliest dog. But damn, they are some shithead puppies before earning that world title.
  7. The book is better. *Except for Game of Thrones. That’s the only exception. **My own opinion. Don’t throw books at me.
  8. A pet’s death is just as traumatic as a family member’s death. You have every right to mourn a pet as you would a human. You have every right to tear up while writing a list of 34 things you learned.
  9. Everyone has a good, gossip-worthy story. No one is that boring.
  10. Marriages’ change. You are not the same people after 1 year, after 5, or after 10 years. Respect each other as you both change.
  11. Ask an expert, not the internet. I learned this from writing for a magazine. Someone that is an expert in their field puts every waking hour into their job. They are filled with information that is 100 times better than google.
  12. I don’t know why but music is a mood changer. Use it often.
  13. Having children means you will relive your past. Middle school. I’m talking about middle school. The only advantage from this seat on the roller coaster from hell is you can tell your kid about the light at the end of the tunnel. You can tell them how old bullies will write you and tell you they’re sorry.
  14. Everyone is human. Everyone makes mistakes. We have all had a shitshow at some point. Apologize when you can. Accept apologies and move on. Remember you are for yourself. Don’t be against the world. 
  15. It’s acceptable to blow up at the word, “relax.” I am still female.
  16. Have the guts to say no.
  17. Have the guts to say yes.
  18. Speak about others as if they were in the same room. This also goes towards people hiding behind a keyboard. Keep unkind thoughts to yourself.
  19. People are put into your life for a reason. People are taken away for a reason too. You can learn from every one of them. Everyone has a story.
  20. Age doesn’t matter when you become a parent. The 25-year-old mom of a preschooler has a lot in common with the 45-year-old mom of a preschooler.
  21. Donate when you can. This can be material things or just your time. Never expect a thank you. (Scott taught me that one)
  22. Find your passion and focus on it. When you find it, be 100 times better than google.
  23. Time doesn’t heal everything. Time shifts everything but it doesn’t heal. You need to use time to adjust.
  24. Get dirty. Jump in the pool. Jump in the ocean. Jump in the mud. I guarantee you’ll smile. (Scott taught me that one too)
  25. Tip well. Maybe they’re having a bad day.
  26. Find a sports team and never let go of them.
  27. Take pictures with your kids. I didn’t say take pictures of your kids. I said take pictures with your kids. Selfies are acceptable. Your kids will thank you when they’re older.
  28. It’s always acceptable to bring a blanket to the movie theater. 
  29. Learn how to give a firm handshake. My first internship boss taught me this. I was embarrassed at the time but I’m grateful he taught me. If I learned anything from that internship, it was the handshake.
  30. Compliment strangers. You’ll make their day.
  31. There’s nothing wrong with bringing a pair of flip flops to a wedding. Or hot pants under the dress if they’re serving whiskey.
  32. There is no material gift in the world that can top visiting a place you’ve never seen before.
  33. When playing roulette, always split the green zero and green double zeros. I’ve won a lot of money in Vegas with that bet. It’s also a nice reminder that the world isn’t black and white. Or black and red.
  34. Remember to tell your mom, “Happy Labor Day” on your birthday. The day is just as special to her. (My kids taught me that)

___________

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It never rains on her birthday.

“Mom! UGH! It’s says strong thunderstorms on my birthday!”

Emma turned 10 years old on Tuesday. May 24th at 12:05 in the afternoon.

It never rains on her birthday.

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Ten is just another birthday to her. In one of those ten years – I can’t figure out which one – presents switched from princess clothes and tiaras to books and nail polish.

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She recieved more clothes than she would probably care for. But maybe that is how we raised her. I was never a mom to dress her up in dresses and bows.

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And what is 10 years to her anyway? She won’t appreciate her birthday until the privileges come with them. 16 to drive. 18 to buy a lotto ticket. 21 to buy alcohol. She’ll appreciate her birthdays when the birthdays give her wings.

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Birthdays are more meaningful to the parents, especially when the birthdays fall somewhere between the girl and the woman.

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This is not one of those open letters. This is not a post for Emma with advice on growing up. She’s 10. She won’t listen to me.

It’s just another happy birthday post.

It never rains on her birthday.

________

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Halfway there.

They say after you have a baby, you blink, and then that baby is headed off to college.

I call bullshit.

A kid doesn’t just wake up one day and become an 18 year old. It’s a process. Time slows down after the age of 9.

And do you know why years 9 through 18 are slowed down? I’ll tell you why – it’s so Scott and I can be slowly reminded we’re going to be grandparents one day. THAT’S WHY.

The hormones that will make my grandchildren have showed up with their pretty, little eye-rolls.

Emma turned 9 this weekend. I usually write a sweet post about Emma’s birthday. Emma’s birth made me a mom. She made Scott a dad. Her grandparents became grandparents and her aunts and uncles became, well, aunts and uncles.

And when you’re a newbie at raising a baby, you will get unsolicited advice. Maybe it’s not so much advice but a warning. Like a hurricane. It’s coming straight for us and all we can do is board up the house and hide.

“You’re doing good, mom. Believe it or not, you’ll miss these days when she’s a teenager!”  – an older mom at Target, watching me wrestle a screaming, arched-back baby Emma in my arms.

“Oh, this is nothin’. Just wait until junior high!” – my dad, during a five-year-old Emma meltdown.

“Well, she’s 9 years old now. She’s not a kid anymore. 4th grade is the year. You’ll start to see a few girls…with body changes.” – the pediatrician, at Emma’s wellness check.

If there is one thing my kid overachieves at, it’s exploding estrogen. The teenager showed up last year. It was subtle at first.

You’re the meanest mom ever! I tell all my friends you’re mean!

That’s cool. A big kid meltdown. When she’s mad at me, she runs to Scott. And when she’s mad at Scott, she runs to me. We have this all under control. She has no clue we’re on the same team.

Then it unraveled within the year.

I don’t like my hair in a ponytail because my face looks fat.

I just walked around the playground by myself because no one would play with me. I want to change schools now.

That girl said she’s not going to be my friend anymore. Everyone hates me because I’m ugly. And Kate is the pretty one.

Watching a child change into a woman is painful. Heartbreaking, even.

I could write advice about middle school and the awkward years. But she wouldn’t relate to it because she hasn’t been through it. And I know the first rule of age 9 through 18 because I invented the rule – don’t listen to your mother. 

She’ll figure it all out.

She’ll figure out those mean kids don’t hate her. Those mean kids will just turn into asshole adults. The world is full of them. They probably don’t even know they’re assholes. She’ll learn to brush them off.

She’ll figure out she is not ugly. It won’t take a family member to tell her she’s not. Or even a girlfriend. Or a stranger. The only person that will get her to believe she is pretty is a boy.

And as far as a dislike for her hair up, well, I don’t like my hair up either. Not because of the word “fat” but because I feel like I look like a boy. If she doesn’t like her hair up, then good. She cares. Wear your hair down, Emma. Be your own woman.

She’ll figure out that raising a child never gets easier. Worry is a cloud that hangs over parenthood. Worrying about her baby taking its first breath is just as scary as worrying about her toddler falling down the stairs. And that worry is just as scary as that “child” driving off to college, freshman-stye.

She’ll figure out one day that she’ll be a woman that blinked. And she’ll call bullshit too.

Because she is my child.

Men get epidurals too.

May 7, 2009.

I gave birth to a blonde-haired baby girl named Kate.

May 7, 2015.

Scott claimed he went to a place where only women have gone. It’s a place where the human body tortures and rips itself open in the highest severity of pain. It’s the 10 out of 10.

You guys, Scott experienced the pains of childbirth. 

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“My back hurts. It’s time.”

_______

Me: I NEED HELP! I NEED A STRETCHER FOR MY HUSBAND IN THE CAR.

Doctor: Ma’am. Is your husband injured?

Me: Yes. Yes, hurry. He can’t move.

Nurse: (pushing an empty wheelchair out the Emergency Department’s doors) Ma’am, how did you get him in the car if he can’t move?

Me: I had help. It took hours. And he won’t want that wheelchair. He needs to lay down.

Nurse: Ma’am this is all we have. He’ll have to use the wheelchair.

Scott: I can’t….I can’t…I need to lay down.

Nurse: Sir, what happened?

Scott: My back went out. I can’t move.

Nurse: We’ll make it work. I’ll call for back up. Ma’am, when we get him loaded, you can park your car over there.

_______

Nurse: Scott, what is your pain level right now?

Scott: It’s……hold…on. It’s high. 9. 10. 9-10. It’s when I move. The pain makes it…unbearable.

Nurse: Ok. What time did this happen?

Scott: About 9 am.

Nurse: You’ve been in this kind of pain for 7 hours?

Scott: Yes.

Nurse: (looks at me) You poor thing.

Scott: I thought…it…would get better.

Me: (mouth) Thank you.

Nurse: Ok, Scott. The doctor is coming in now.

Doctor: Hey, Scott. I see you were working at the farm when this happened?

Me: Ha!

Doctor: (looks at me) And your relation is….

Me: Oh. I’m his wife.

Doctor: And do you two live on a farm?

Me: (giggle) No. He was planting corn on the farm he leases. It’s to feed deer. He’s a pretend farmer. He hunts deer.

Doctor: Ok. So tell me, pretend farmer, what exactly happened when you got your injury?

Scott: I…bent. over. I bent over. To pick up something. It felt like….like, a lightening strike in my back. I fell. I can’t move when my…back spasms. When it stops spasming….I’m ok when I’m laying down.

Doctor: Ok, I’m going to touch in a couple spots. Can you feel me here?

Scott: Yes.

Doctor: This might hurt. Can you feel this?

Scott: OW OW! YES!

Doctor: What medicines have you taken so far?

Scott: (points at me) Well, she gave me some leftover oxicodone that expired in 2011. I took one about two hours ago. It didn’t help.

Me: (mouth drop)

Doctor: SHE did? Ok, I’m going to make you more comfortable with medicine and order a CT scan. We’ll see how you are after that.

_______

Me: SCOTT! I didn’t give you oxicodone! I gave you Emma’s leftover acetaminophen with codine cough syrup from 2011!

Scott: Did I say oxicodone?

Me: YES! Huge difference!

Scott: Oh, sorry.

Me: We should have called an ambulance. You’re lucky your concerned sister-in-law didn’t do it for you.

Scott: Jessica was going to call an ambulance?!

Me: Uh. Yeah.

Scott: I would have sent the bill to her.

Me: How’s your back now?

Scott: It’s like a 2. I’m ok once the spasming stops. When I’m flat on a bed.

Me: Christine says they’ll probably give you some really good drugs.

Scott: You already texted Christine?

Me: She’s a nurse, dude. Oh, she said if you’re in this much pain, she wants to see tears. Here. Will you pose with tears?

_______

Nurse: Ok. The doctor ordered 4 drugs for you. One is a muscle relaxer. And three are for pain. I’m going to give them to you by IV. Hold your arm out while I start the IV. These will cause you not to be able to operate a vehicle or sign any important documents.

Scott: Ok.

Nurse: Here we go. They might make you feel kinda funny at first. It’ll hit you then hopefully start working.

Scott: I’m really ok now that I’m on my back. I don’t feel any…. oh wow. You just rocked my world.

_______

Scott: You’re so beautiful.

Me: (giggle) HA! Nice drugs, there.

Scott: You are. You’re so pretty.

Me: Can I film you?

Scott: I really hope these food plots get us some monster deer.

Me: Tell me I’m pretty again.

Scott: I mean, all I did was bend over! It could have happened anywhere! I wasn’t lifting or anything. I’m so lucky this didn’t happen while driving my truck. I went paralyzed. I would have died.

Me: Well, you’re ok now. These drugs will help and the doctor will figure out what happened. Ugh, I hate this. I want to tell the doctors you have a high pain tolerance. And that your 6 is every man’s 9.

Scott: I’m telling you, when my back spasms like that…I’ve never felt any pain greater.

Me: I thought you said your surgery knee pain was a 10.

Scott: This is more than that. This is more than childbirth.

I dropped my phone in my lap.

Me: I’m sorry, what.

Scott: Childbirth. My whole body goes numb in pain. But this time, there’s no relief. It just keeps going until I lay down on my back. My body can’t relax. It’s, like, constant pain, unbearable. My whole body goes numb.

Me: ……..

Scott: Don’t look at me like that.

Me: Childbirth.

Scott: I’m telling you. It’s worse.

Me: How do you feel now?

Scott: I’m ok when I’m on my back. My body can relax.

Me: ………

Scott: I know I have a herniated disk. It’s nerve pain. Worst pain you can imagine.

Me: RING. OF. FIRE.

Scott: What?

Me: Nothing.

_______

Doctor: Well Scott, after looking at your CT scan, your spine is showing laxity. It’s basically loose ligaments. An MRI will tell us more. You can get a consult with an Ortho as an outpatient. We’ll send you home with some drugs. It looks like you are tolerating the pain better.

_______

Nurse: Ok, Scott. Can you move out of your bed and stand, slowly?

Scott tried to get up. He collapsed back into the bed. His back was spasming.

Scott: I…can’t. I can’t move….It’s spasming again. Feel how…tight my abs are.

Nurse: Ok, I can’t let you leave if you can’t move out of bed.

Scott: I. Can’t move.

Nurse: What’s the pain level?

Scott: 10….it’s 9-10. Worst pain. Unbearable.

Nurse: I’m going to give you one more dose of a pain meds. Let me get the doctor.

_______

Doctor: Hey, Scott. You’re staying with me tonight.

Me: WHAT?! He’s being admitted?

Doctor: Yep. We’ll get a room for him upstairs. I can’t let him go if he can’t walk out of the hospital.

Me: Oh no! Our daughter’s birthday is tomorrow!

Doctor: How old is she?

Me: She’ll be 6.

Doctor: Cool. Birthday cake at the hospital. We’re going to schedule an MRI for tonight. We’ll have results by morning.

Scott: Call my mom.

_______

Me: How did you sleep last night? Did they read the MRI yet? Kate had me bring you one of her stuffed animals with its back ripped open.

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Scott: What?

Me: She’s so funny.

Scott: The MRI was ok. The nurse thinks I have a herinated disk.

Me: Really? Did they say if you need surg – OH MY GOD, SCOTT. WHAT ARE YOU ON?

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Scott: It’s not even helping. I’m waiting on the doctor to make rounds.

Me: Hey. I was in pain, at a hospital, at this exact moment 6 years ago. My pain ended in an epidural.

Scott: Your pain ended with a beautiful baby girl. Your pain was natural. I just want to walk.

_______

Doctor: Scott, you are a candidate for an epidural.

Me: WHAT.

Doctor: You have a herniated disk. You will need to get a consult from Ortho. For now, our objective is to get you walking. Since you are not getting relief from these meds, I’m going to have the nurses wheel you down to the pain center. It’s inside the hospital.

Scott: An epidural? Like what SHE had?

Doctor: It’s not quite the same as a woman in labor. It’s a little different. You will be getting a steroid nerve block. But yes, same type of procedure in the back.

_______

Scott: I don’t know what all you women complain about with an epidural. That was nothing. I even got to watch a video of the needle going in. Kinda cool.

Me: No mother has complained about an epidural. The epidural is the relief. It’s the pain leading up to the epidural. And some moms don’t even get an epidural. You want to die but you want your child to live. But I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that 6 years ago because women can’t speak with that level of pain. I’m sure your pain is your 10. But it’s not that 10.

And you’re forgetting who I delivered. KATE.

Happy 6th birthday, Kate.
Happy birthday, Kate Audrey. You’re the best 6 year old to share cheesecake with in the hospital.

Scott’s epidural helped him through his level 10 pain. His pain has moved to about a 4 and tolerable. He will continue physical therapy until he is completely healed. He was released from the hospital with a greater appreciation for Mother’s Day.

I want to know – have any mothers experienced a pain greater than childbirth? Can anyone back Scott up? 

May 24th.

When I was a child, I wondered what days of the year would be meaningful to me – well, to the adult me.

The adult me seemed far away. I didn’t know her. What decisions would she make that would change her life? What days would she mark on the calendar every year? She’ll mark my parents’ birthdays and anniversary. And she’ll mark my siblings’ birthdays, for sure. Maybe this day, right now, would be an important moment in her life.

What day would she get married? July 17. What day would her husband’s birthday be? July 11. What day would she become an aunt? April 20thWhat day would she become a mom? May 24th. 

 

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May 24th showed up for the 8th time on my calendar today. And oh my gosh, child me – listen to this – your daughter will look just like you but she has this fabulous curly hair that every woman wants. She’s beautiful. You won’t think she’s beautiful if I’m telling you she looks like you but she is. And she’s smart. Ok, she is not like genius smart but she’s a B student. She has your creativity. She was voted “most artistic” in her class this year. You will be proud of her.

Child me – you have no idea how fast this calendar moves.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful Emma.

Don’t forget my kid’s birthday.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had an “oops” moment. They forgot to call Kate on her birthday.

Feeling bad, they called last night. I ran the phone down to Kate and told the girls “Uncle Mark and Aunt Ashley are on the phone to say happy birthday to Kate.” Emma knew immediately that they didn’t call on her real birthday. We jokingly gave them a hard time, said goodbye then ran upstairs for a snack.

Emma said “let’s make a video for Uncle Mark”. This is not out of the ordinary for Emma to say. We like to make movies for the family to watch.

This email was sent last night. Mark later said he couldn’t stop laughing (at the video) despite becoming more and more angry at himself for not calling until yesterday. Mark and Ashley, you are forgiven in this house. It happens. Kate doesn’t really understand and Emma gave us a good laugh.

To: Mark, Ashley

CC: Family

From: Julie

I know we can’t all be like the (pronounced thee) Aunt Jules but birthday phone calls should be standard protocol for all aunts and uncles. I hope this is a lesson learned. This video was Emma’s idea. I told her to say some things but some she said on her own.

MAY 7th and MAY 24th. You can go ahead and mark your calender for next year. 
I hope you don’t forget Emma’s birthday or there will be H-E-L-L to pay.
J

My hidden talent.

This is completely random but I would like you to know I have a hidden talent.

I can easily remember birthdays, sometime anniversaries. I don’t know why.
Not just my own immediate family. I know all my aunts, uncles, cousins, my friends, my friends kids. Even Scott’s side of the family. If I’m not right, I’m definitely within the month, usually within the week.

I don’t even try to memorize them. I recognize patterns within birthdays too. I know myself, my cousin Lisa, my cousin Ryan all got married on the 17th. July, August, September, respectively.

If you tell me your birthday once, I’ll always remember. I will usually text you or email you as well. I feel like everyone should get as many birthday wishes as possible.

I will look at the date and automatically think to myself “oh this date is important…who’s birthday is today…” It will end up being a grade school friend or something.

When I meet someone new and they happen to mention their birthday. I will think to myself “yeah, they look like a December baby. I can see that.” I have a knack for telling who is spring, summer, fall or winter baby.

I’m not so good with years. Just dates.

Go ahead, test me. I probably know your birthday and you don’t even know it.