Adulthood, Bad Day, Cancer, Grief, RealTalk

The sun doesn’t shine quite as bright anymore…

Yes, I suppose the past few days have just been overcast and rainy. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but it sure feels like it’s because she’s gone. The loss of someone so young is heart wrenching, and watching a friend lose his wife and the mother of his two young boys has been doubly painful, even from afar. 

This is a good time, or as good a time as any, to mention that I personally never got the chance to meet Ester Eva. Her husband Spencer is a friend of ours, and they went to school with Dan (a grade or two below) so the circle between us wasn’t far, but when you have a bunch of kids and work and life and everything else, you don’t always get to just hang out like you’d  always like to. God I wish I had gotten to meet her in person just once, because from her YouTube channel to her FB posts to the love her husband, friends, and family had for her – you just knew she was really special and it didn’t take much at all to get that impression. It rubbed off on me so quickly, even never having the chance to physically say hi or get to know her. She was one of the most positive people you’d ever have met though, that I can tell you for sure. She was (as described by her husband) a “free spirit” and anyone close to her has raved about her selflessness, her passion for life and her children, and her caring kind nature toward everyone she met. I feel like I’ve gotten to know her better through the posts of condolence than anything else, which is just as tragic to me as any other part of this story. 

  1. I saw her, despite being 2 1/2 years younger than myself, as a role model: she was one of those organic, clean/healthy/fit eating and living kind of people, kind of crunchy but still down to earth enough to forgive the rest of us who couldn’t live up to those kinds of high standards. I will never forget how devistated I was when Dan told me about her diagnosis, and how I cried for someone I really didn’t even know well, if you could even say I knew her at all. I just knew what kind of person she was, and how fucked up this world was that someone so genuine, so healthy and loving, could end up with the diagnosis of “Stage 4 Stomach Cancer.” When I told my mom she had passed, and why, my mom said (sympathetically, though it still felt blunt), “I’m so sorry hunny…stage 4 is almost always a death sentence.” More tears ensued. It was just so unfair. In EE’s own words in a post telling us all about her condition, she chose not to accept this as a death sentence but rather to fight. I believe that until her dying breath she maintained that mindset. I knew when her husband posted that he had finally gotten to marry the woman of his dreams, a week ahead of schedule, (which was 2 months ahead of their initial plan to begin with) that it couldn’t mean anything good. Not that the marriage – which is one of the sweetest, tenderest, most beautiful loves you could ever wish to even just witness – wasn’t a good thing, of course it was. But the haste and the impromptu date and circumstance, that was what couldn’t have been good. We found out a day or two later that she had passed and the same hole formed in the pit of my own stomach like it had when I saw that post from Spencer, or when I first heard about the cancer at all. 

Life isn’t fair…I remember my parents telling me this from a young age, and I couldn’t even tell you how often I say it to my own son flippantly, about trivial shit that on the long run means nothing but to a five-year-old seems like the world. But unfair is beyond what this is. I’ve gotten my own condolences at work when I’ve tried explaining what happened, why I’ve been teary-eyed or “off” and I feel so selfish every time. I don’t deserve the sorry. I don’t deserve any of it. Shit, Spencer and Othinn and Viktor (and obviously Ester Eva herself) sure as hell don’t deserve any of this, and yet it’s all there. Like it or not. Look at it this way: Princess Diana died and we all felt sad; we all felt that we lost someone we “knew” and we all sat and cried and hashed out our grief about it, but we didn’t walk around saying sorry to each other because of it. So it feels so ingenuine of me to say “thank you” when someone tells me that they’re sorry to hear of it, while at the same time I feel ingenuine if I don’t let myself cry when I’m sad or tell others that I’m having a hard time because of her death, because I am. 

Because at the same time, her diagnosis managed to change me somehow when I learned of it. I think we all have a bit of a Superman complex sometimes, where we don’t think that things like this can really happen to ourselves (or our friends) and that they must just happen to others on some kind of random, sad, unfortunate basis. Not this time. This time it was someone so pure and bright and loving, I just couldn’t fathom how it could possibly be true. I resolved to be better: to love my kids and my life more, to take better care of myself, to be kinder to others. I saw how very many people she had on her side, doing everything they could, and naïvely thought that everything would be fine, because we (well, they, let’s be real…) were raising money for treatments and their wedding and everything that would make it so everyone just lived happily ever after. Denial is such a powerful thing….it works in so many different ways, and while sometimes it can be a bit of a motivator, it can also lead to some pretty crushing defeat. That’s how it felt when I learned she had passed; it felt like defeat. Like no matter how hard you try, no matter how badly you want it, sometimes it will just never be enough. Maybe that’s what is so crushing about it all in the end. Maybe it’s just that it’s sad and there’s no getting around that. One of our friends said to Spencer in a post: “There are no words for your loss and she can’t be replaced, I won’t even try to pretend.” I think that about sums it up for today. 

Adulthood, Bad Day, Cancer, Grief, RealTalk

In Honor of Ester Eva…

Today the world lost a genuinely, really really good person. I just wanted to put down some things that were shared on FB because it has been such an emotional day for me….

As much as it can bring us beauty, life is sometimes so cruel and unfair. The world lost Ester Eva today, a beautiful soul who I never personally met but still touched my life in an amazing way. Her memory lives on through her children, husband, and everyone who knew her. If you have a single dollar to give, please consider doing so. Spencer, Othinn, and Viktor need support now more than ever, and no amount is ever too small!! Spencer, please let us know if we can do anything to help: I’d be honored to help and take the kids for an afternoon somewhere with mine, come do something around the house, or really anything at all you might need in this challenging time. I am praying for you and your family, I hope and wish nothing but the best for you and your family for so very many years to come buddy!! 😢💖😇✌🏻💗

It’s literally the least I could do for them. I am so tremendously sad for Spencer and the boys’ loss (along with everyone else’s’), but as a mother what truly has hit my heart is my sadness for Ester Eva… always dread missing your kids’ first steps, or first day of school, or the first anything because of other things going on in your life. But this, this is so far beyond that. To not ever have the opportunity to miss those events, that’s just devastating and unimaginable. It breaks my heart in a way that I’m not sure anything else has hurt it ever before. 

Macayla, you’re closer to them than us, so I trust you’ll know better when the time comes…..if Spencer or those boys ever need anything, not now when he’s inundated with help (I remember from when we first had the twins, on a much different level of course…) but 6 months from now, a year from now….five years from now, will you please let me know? I may not be able to do much, but I will do whatever I can if I can help in any way. That family has some of the most wonderful people on this earth in it, and if I can help at all, even the smallest bit, I’d really be honored. 💖💖

Please consider donating to this beautiful family. They need support now more than ever. 

Adulthood, Bad Day, Parenting, RealTalk, Sarcastic, Twins

When you burn a candle at both ends….and then throw a lighter right in the middle while you’re at it….

I used to think things were hard…that life was hard. Life is hard, but my previous life – before the twins – doesn’t hold a candle to the torch my life now has become. To recap, I’ve gone back to work (long ago, and far too soon but that’s another story for another day), and then had the crazy idea that it would be smart to go back to school for nursing…while having infant twins and a 5 year old, being the sole income for the household right now, and well, you know, just having the rest of life and a home and family to deal with on top of it all. This will be all well and good in the long run, but let’s be real, it’s batshit crazy right now. Talk about climbing an uphill battle on the daily, for real.

I used to think I was tired. Like before I had kids I thought I was tired…that is fucking hilarious to me now. Tired from what, Christina? Late night bong rips? Sleeping in till “only” 10:30? To say now that I’m tired doesn’t do justice to the literal exhaustion I’ve reached, both physically and mentally, at this point. I wake up tired, I feel like I’m dying half the time (if not more), and I drink wine as much as water these days to get me through to the next. Which probably doesn’t help things, but it certainly makes me feel better or at least care a bit less that the world is hanging off my shoulders. I cry, frequently, at the mere thought of everything I have to do, things that aren’t getting done, things I’ve messed up, how I probably lost my patience with the kids more (like way more) than is fair to them, how they don’t get enough of my time, pretty much over anything. I’m tearing up right now just putting it all down. But I have to get it out. It’s toxic and it’s eating away at me, not particularly slowly I’ll add.

They say when it rains it pours, well – this past week has been one hell of a tsunami-shit-storm if I’ve ever known one. First my other half of intake was out for a week starting last Wednesday, which is a well-deserved vacation on her part, but when there are typically just two of you to take care of an entire department and one leaves, it makes for a whole hell of a lot more work and frustration trying to cover EVERYTHING in the world all at once. Thursday my little sister K decides to throw a shit-fit and move out of my mom’s house (again) over a fight that I honestly couldn’t even tell you whether it was huge or tiny because I’ve now heard no less than 17 different versions of what happened. Friday my brother and sister-in-law N & T, along with my niece and infant nephew, moved back up to Maine…and while we all knew it was coming (and honestly all felt it was time, that this had well run its course and was no longer a great situation for anyone) it hit super hard once it was real and the day was here, moving truck and all, that they’d be leaving for good. Significantly more tears were shed than I thought I had in me, and it turns out that it was pretty crushing to have them actually go.

Oh, and did I mention that along with my mom (who works overnight shifts, and then takes the twins most days while I’m at work), my sister and sister-in-law were the ones primarily watching the girls? Cuz yea, that’s the case. So in two days I lost 85% of the help that made me feel less bad that I’ve been running my mom ragged watching my kids all the time…for free… My stepdad and brothers totally help too, and I can’t discredit that, but T was doing the vast majority of the work with them once my mom left for her job each day at 3:30 (along with caring for my 2 year old niece and 2 month old nephew of her own), plus the girls adore both of their aunties, and now there’s just plain fewer people in the house to help out every day. And with twins, you need all hands on deck, always, because it’s just a shit show day in and day out.

Dan finally got a job, but it’s a part time and kind of shitty gig that now just leads to more complication of who’s going to get Logan off the bus, be home for this or that, who is gonna make dinner and keep the house in one piece (which Dan has been doing wonderfully while I’ve been in school…we’d be living in squalor if it weren’t for all that he has been doing). But I genuinely have to wonder if the job is even worth the extra headache of dealing with it all…and I’m not totally sure we’ll even be breaking even once you consider that our benefits and stuff will likely get reduced (if not eliminated) once I have to report his first paycheck. I can’t deal, where’s the wine….

I thought I’d feel better putting everything down…I thought I’d see that it’s really not so bad after all. No. Just nope. Now I’m at work bawling because I really feel like I’m losing at everything I’m trying to do because I can’t put enough effort into any one thing anymore. I’m beyond exhausted, our “budget” is a freaking joke, I’m not eating right, I’m drinking entirely too much, I feel like I’m falling apart…I’m just not adulting as well as I should be. I know I can do better than this. But I don’t feel like I have it in me. I’m beyond overwhelmed. What have I gotten myself into?!? We’ve all got our demons, but this week it really feels like mine are just taking over. 

Rant done, unfortunately the tears are not…

Adulthood, Babies, Bad Day, Parenting, RealTalk, Sarcastic, Twins

Ari’s ER Adventure…

Kind of a rough post after 2 (or more?) months without an update, but there’s only one of me and so much to do on the regular lol. But I don’t want the fuss of posting this to Facebook in realtime and I can’t not document the experience either…
So. I’m in the ER with a sick baby for the very first time….and it’s pretty terrifying. With the exception of Logan’s broken arm at the end of this past summer, none of my kids had ever had an ER trip, something I was pretty proud of. If you know me at all, you know I’m not an alarmist, a germaphobe, or someone who runs to the doctor’s office over every little cough or scrape. Much less a visit to the ER. They basically have to be dying for me to go in. But after a long conversation first with the on-call nurse and then the on-call doctor, we decided to play it safe (so as to make sure she isn’t dying…) and head down to the hospital. Logan cried when I said he couldn’t come and just did not want to hear about how boring the ordeal would be for him or how I didn’t want him in the hospital exposed to crap that he didn’t need to be exposed to. So I kissed my teary eyed five-year-old good night and headed into the dark with my middle child Arielle (my older twin…by like 30 seconds…aka Sick Child…) to go to the ER and see just what it is that’s going on. 

12/22/16 9:00pm – we check into Day Kimball’s ER, the local hospital in the area. Place is along the lines of that quote “though she be but little, she is fierce” cuz it’s basically a full service hospital in a tiny, rural area. You get sent to a major city for treatment if you need more than they can give you here, and like it becomes a no-joke situation. Anyway, we get checked in, smooth and easy and everyone fawns over how cute Sick Child is. And then I tell them she has a twin and I think one just dropped to the floor in awe lol. 

9:15p – We get into an ER room and they take Sick Child’s temp…103.3, which is even higher than the 103.0 that made me call the pedi on-call in the first place at about 7:30. Even more troubling, this is after giving her Tylenol at 7:45ish which should have brought it right down. They tell us to hang tight, make us comfortable on the bed, and Sick Child passes out nice and hard for one of the first times all day.  

10:10p – They finally bring her some Motrin to work on that fever, which of course wakes her up and she goes back to grunting and moaning at me so that I know full well that she is not feeling well. Dr says she’ll be in to evaluate soon. 

10:38p – No sign of Dr yet, but Sick Child has fallen back asleep so she’ll probably be here any minute. In other news, I’ve figured out how to use Snapchat filters. You’re welcome in advance, world…

10:45p – Dr comes in (told you it would be any minute now), evaluates, and orders chest X-ray and does RSV test swab. And now we wait….

11:10p – Chest X-ray done, featuring this contraption which looks like it’s from the mid-1800’s or so. Sick child is not pleased. 

11:30pm – While waiting for the X-ray and RSV test results, Sick Child decides to try out some new looks for Christmas Day festivities to keep the mood light lol #snapchatfilters #defgonnaoverusethese

12/23, 1:00am(ish) – I’m woken by the sweetest, gentelest arm shake from the Dr at the ER. Sick Child and I had apparently both fallen asleep… X-rays negative for pneumonia, but she’s positive for RSV and her breathing is still way faster than it should be (and it’s been hours at this point). They’re transferring her to CT Children’s Medical Center so she can be admitted and observed (for at least) overnight. They say it could be 24-48 hours though….I’m seriously hoping that will not be the case. But anything at all for baby girl to feel better and be safe. Massive texting with husband and mom to figure out logistics ensues. 

1:40am – Sick Child and I take our first ride in an ambulance  together…not how I’d have chosen to try out an ambulance ride (though, really what scenario is good to try an ambulance ride anyway?) Sick Child sleeps like a baby (see what I did there lol) nearly the whole ride dispite some serious bumpiness. 

2:40a – We arrive at CT Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) and Sick Child has perked back up during the ambulance ride. Oxygen levels back up to normal, but they’re still gonna admit her and monitor everything. Nurses and Drs start checking all the symptoms and going through all the questions again. I’m honestly exhausted at this point, physically and mentally. Did I mention I was also up till like 3:30a last night finishing Big Brother’s school gifts for his little classmates? Cuz yea, I was…

3:30a – Mean nurses come in to start an IV drip on Sick Child, poke her poor little hand and create this big wrap around her arm so she doesn’t pull it out. She’s so lethargic at this point that instead of wailing like I expected when stuck, she just moans at me some more and looks at me like, “make them stop mommmm…” **Disclaimer: the nurses were actually very sweet and nice and wonderful. They just put a needle in my sweet baby girl and it was no fun at all to have to watch, that’s all. 

3:50a – Nurses come in to try a nebulizer/albuterol treatment on Sick Child to see if that helps the breathing at all. Dr says that it is kind of unlikely to do much, but that it doesn’t hurt and if it does work then that’s a good step in the right direction. Adorable mini dinosaur nebulizer is used, and I’m a little upset that it seems inappropriate to take a picture of its cuteness. 

4:10a – Nebulizer, as predicted, does not do much for Sick Child and we get wheeled in to the respiratory distress room to put her on a high-flow oxygen line. They suction out her nose and throat (and lungs maybe? That tube looked pretty long…) and what appears to be half her body weight in mucus comes out and goes away in a tube to somewhere that must be infinitely disgusting. High-flow oxygen is started and Sick Child is noticably more comfortable almost immediately. 

4:45 – Grandma arrives in the ER just in time as they’re about to admit Sick Child. I’m just relieved that if I suddenly pass out from exhaustion that someone will be there to catch her…

5:10a – Sick Child and I get wheeled up to the PICU and when we arrive at her room and I see a crib, I realize I’m going to have to put her down so the medical team can do what they need to…for the first time during this whole ordeal I start to tear up but offer her to the mercy of the professionals anyway…

5:50a – Deep sleep finally (for her) while grandma and I sit and stare at her. And so ends the adventure of the ER…

Ari’s stay would last 5 days, 4 of which were in the PICU, putting us in the hospital for the babies’ first Christmas. Hellish and terrifying but nothing to make you realize what you’re made of like watching your little one fighting like that in a hospital bed. This is where the crazy idea to go to nursing school truly stems from…. 

Adulthood, Babies, Bad Day, Parenting, RealTalk, Sarcastic, Twins

That Post You Don’t Want to Post but You Have to because that’s Just Where You Are Right Now

Omg so….I don’t even know where we’re at with stories of the twins and all the happy nonsense I typically post. This is not that post. I’ve had a hellish week, a little wine, and want to vent to the world about just wtf like wtf has happened here. 

My life feels like hell. Like that wonderful “I have three healthy,wonderful kids and a great husband” kind of hell but I can assure you it does exist. I’ve had awful anxiety basically all month but especially the past week because I sucked dry my supply of good anxiety drugs too early in the month and now I’m SOL to deal with things on my own. I self medicate with wine. I pretend I know what the hell I’m doing, but I haven’t got a clue. 

I feel like I must definitely spend more time with my “more difficult” twin and feel bad about that. Whether or not it’s even true is another story entirely. They each have their days, but Dani seems to have more than Ari if I think about it. I feel like I have just not got a clue what the hell in supposed to be doing as I try (SO FUCKING HARD) to fulfill both the needs of my now 4 month old twins and my 5 year old who just started kindergarten. I feel like I’m failing constantly. I feel like I can’t keep it together. Like for real. 

And that’s how this week has been. Just. Fucking. Awful. Ugh…