Tiny Eden

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

For Auld Lang Syne.....

As the year comes to a close, I am starting to think about some of the changes that I want to make in my life for 2014.  Nothing drastic, just ways that I can strengthen the relationships that already exist and perhaps creating new relationships. 

I just wanted to take a second to focus on some of the highlights of 2013.  There were many highs and lows this year, but I really just want to point out some of the positives.  These are in no particular order:

1.  Sam and I deciding to try to have a baby again this year.  We were told that it could take up to 6 tries with fertility treatments but it worked on the first try (aside from our effort from 2011).

2.  Getting pregnant!

3.  Winning the Daisy Award.

4.  My bestie, Lisa, having her 2 beautiful twins, Annabelle and Henry.

5.  Celebrating 3 glorious years of marriage to the best hubs a girl could ask for.

6.  Being a balloon handler in the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade.

7.  My sister, Dana, being a cancer survivor and is now in remission.

8.  Another bestie, Kathleen, getting engaged!!!!!  WooHoo!!!!!

9.  Seeing so many people that I had not seen in such a long time at my baby shower and being able to celebrate with them.

Well, I think that is it.

BAZINGA!  (Just Kidding......)

My most amazing highlight of 2013 was........ Drum roll, please!

10.  The birth of my beautiful Baby O!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, joyful, beautiful, fun, peaceful 2014!

"Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give me a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Life's a Parade!

If I had a bucket list, there would be a HUGE check mark next to a task that I would definitely have on there.  On December 7th, I had one of my dreams come true.  It may seem something that is ridiculous or insignificant, but I got really excited about doing it and it turned out to be better than I thought it would be.  Are you ready?!?!?!?!  I had the privilege of being a balloon handler in the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade!  It was GREAT!!!!!  Because I won the Daisy Award in February, I was asked to march in the parade.  I had the best time.  The balloon that I walked with was an elf balloon.  It was the first one in the parade.  If I could do it every year, I would!  Of course, with everything I do, there had to be some "interesting" parts.

I had to be at the parade at 7 am.  Every day leading up to the parade was in the 60's and 70's.  For some reason, it decided to turn into winter weather that morning.  I woke up, fed Baby O, and then my dad was picking me up to bring me to the parade so I did not have to worry about parking.  Well, I hopped in my dad's car, which was parked in the middle of the driveway, and it would not start.  His truck was blocking both doors of the garage.  I called Sam and we did not have any sort of jumper cables or anything.  So, my dad had to put the car in neutral and I steered while we inched his truck over slowly but surely.  He ended up driving Sam's car to drop me off.  Not quite sure how he achieved this, but I arrived at the parade at 7:05.  There was a nice little cozy tent - which was nice because it was FREEZING!  We were not allowed to wear coats or hats.  I had on 7 shirts and a pair of gloves.  I was an icicle.  At 7:15, they told us they needed some volunteers to hold down some of the balloons while they were getting blown up.  Eager to get started, I hopped to it and lent a hand.  It turns out that I had to stand in the same spot from 7:15 until 10:30 when the parade started.  In the FREEZING cold.  For some strange reason, when they were asking for volunteers, the only people actually volunteering were CHOA nurses.  Breakfast was provided and we froze and watched others (big strong burly men) stand in the tent nice and warm, eating and drinking coffee.  We finally started to send one person at a time to get food.  Would it surprise you that the nurses were standing there skipping a meal and being the first ones to lend a hand?  While we were waiting, the man from the balloon company came over and told us that he was going to give us a quick lesson because we would not have a professional with us.  He showed us how to raise and lower the balloon - as it turns out, Peachtree has tons of power lines.  Balloons and power lines do not mix, so we had to raise and lower the balloon.  The pro told us that no matter what, make sure that the balloon was flying nice and high when we got to the Grand Stand.  This is where the TV cameras are and also where the sponsors and their families sit.  Seemed easy enough, right?

As 10:30 approached, my heart was pounding!  The band in front of us started to play.  They started to walk.  We got the cue for us to move.  Around the corner we went - only to be greeted by a power line right away.  We lowered and raised the balloon as though we had been doing this forever.  Woo hoo!  Marching along the parade route, waving to the thousands of people who were sitting along the street, this was a dream come true for me!  Suddenly, the parade came to a halt.  I knew what this meant.  We were getting closer to the Grand Stand.  This was it!  Make the balloon look beautiful.  As we were standing there, it started to get a little windy.  I was thinking this was my big TV debut.  It can't be windy.  My hair was going to get all crazy and my eyes would start to water which would cause my makeup to run.  We started to move again.  This was it!  We were approaching the Grand Stand!  I could hear the announcer say that we were Daisy Nurses and describe what a Daisy Nurse it.  Just as we were getting there, a GIGANTIC gust of wind came and we lost control of the balloon.  On the Grand Stand.  On TV.  In front of the sponsors and their families.  More importantly, my hair was a mess.  There went my hopes of being discovered.  My chance of getting a walk on role on Days of Our Lives was completely gone.  They did not keep the cameras on our balloon for very long.  Just long enough to see me yelling at everyone to pull on their ropes to bring the balloon down - or as my dad said, "That's about right.  There's Marisa being bossy and telling everyone what to do."  Funny how as soon as we started moving, the wind died down. 

We started walking again and managed the power lines with no issue.  Along the route, there were several radio stations that were broadcasting.  As we approached one, we could hear the announcer talk about how we were Daisy Nurses.  With that, another giant gust of wind came and we lost control of the balloon again.  This time, the weight of the balloon started to pull us as the balloon got lower and lower to the ground.  Suddenly, there was a chorus of children screaming as the balloon was rapidly making its way into the crowd of bystanders along the side of the street.  How ironic is that?  The nurses who usually save lives were now about to run people over with a giant elf balloon.  Nothing says Merry Christmas like a children's hospital Christmas parade tragedy.  Luckily, we gained control of the balloon again and finished the parade without any incidence. 

One thing I did not realize is that, as balloon handlers, we would be responsible for deflating and folding up the balloon.  At the end of the route, we took a left hand turn down a side street.  I was at the butt end of the elf where the zipper was to let all of the helium out.  The zipper was gigantic - about the width of my arm.  I volunteered to unzip the balloon being that I was right there.  I started to unzip and the zipper got stuck.  A little bit of helium was leaking out of the small opening I created, but at that rate, we would be there until New Year's Day waiting to get it all out.  So I tugged really hard on the zipper.  That's when it happened.  The helium started to rush out.  I mean really rush out.  My hair was flying backwards like someone who was sitting in a convertible going 80 miles per hour.  I was so taken aback, I took in a huge gasp of air.  I was paralyzed with shock as I could actually see the wavy lines of the gas streaming out.  And that is when I opened my mouth to speak.  I was able to mutter out, "I feel really dizzy, guys!"  But it wasn't my voice.  It was the voice of Mickey Mouse after HE had sucked helium.  Everyone burst out laughing because my voice was so high pitched.  Someone pulled me away from the opening and my voice stayed high for a bit longer than it would if you had sucked helium from your good old standard party balloon.  I couldn't help but laugh.  Only me. 

Once our happy little elf was all deflated and folded, I was able to locate my fan club.  It consisted of Sam, my dad, and Baby O.  We piled in the car.  At this point, I was so cold, my body stung when it started to warm up.  When we got home, I watched the parade on DVR.  Not long after that, I took a very long nap!  Even with all of the issues we had, it was still a dream come true for me.  Carrying a balloon looks like it is easy, but let me tell you, it is some hard work!

As for everything else, life is going well.  Baby O continues to grow.  How is he 11 weeks already?  I go back to work on Sunday.  I am not quite sure how they are going to be able to rip me away from Baby O.  Perhaps I can wear him in his carrier during my whole shift?  We stayed in GA for Christmas this year.  It was hard for me to not be in NY.  Christmas Day also marked 5 years since my Grams gained her angel wings.  I hope everyone is doing well and gearing up for 2014!

"If you're not in the parade, you watch the parade.  That's life." ~Mike Ditka

"Do all you can to make your dreams come true." ~Joel Osteen

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Angels Didn't Sing; My Heart Did Not Swell.

Long time, no type!  I will give the fast forward version of the rest of my pregnancy.  My friends and family threw me some great showers.  My first one was my shower in NY and it was so great to see all of my friends and my mom and sister's friends.  We had the best time!  There was only one thing missing ~ my Grams!  I know she would have had the best time and I would have loved for her to give my belly some rubs.  The next shower was my work shower.  This was like something off a Pinterest board.  I have some very crafty and talented co workers!  It was beautiful!  Next, came Sam's work shower.  It was great to meet Sam's co-workers.  They took time out of their busy day to decorate, have lunch and cake with us, and open some really beautiful gifts.  Lastly was the shower Sam's mom and aunts threw for me.  It was a whole lot of fun and it was great to see people that I had not seen in quite a while.  They served all of my favorite goodies ~ from yummy chicken salad sandwiches to scrumptious cupcakes! 

The remainder of my pregnancy was relatively calm.  I had a scheduled c-section because the dr's kept saying that the baby's head was somewhere between the 88th and 93rd percentile.  When you have an angry pelvis, that wouldn't be a good thing to go the natural route!  So, I scheduled my c-section for Wednesday, October 9th.  We were all set and ready to go.  Unfortunately, Sam was not feeling very well and ended up being admitted into the hospital on October 7th.  I was completely panic stricken because I was worried that a) Sam would miss the birth of the only child we were going to be having, b) the nursery was not finished yet and I knew that it would not be easy to finish it once our little friend arrived, and c) what if I went into labor before the c-section?  I was a nervous wreck!  Thankfully, my OB was willing to do the c-section on Friday, October 11th.  Keep in mind, my dr was going on vacation that day, but he rearranged his schedule to come in on his day off to bring our little bundle of love into this world.  Now, the next step was to make sure that Sam's dr discharged him on Thursday evening, which did happen.  Sam got out early enough so we were able to even have one last date nite at our favorite Italian restaurant. 

I looked at the extra 2 days that I was pregnant with Owen as a gift from God.  It was extra time that I got to spend with him as close to my heart as possible.  I enjoyed 2 more days of kicks, hiccups, and bumps.  It was special Owen-Mommy time.  I had such a rough pregnancy, I was able to enjoy these 2 days peacefully.  I knew this was going to be the only time that I would have this experience so I wanted to make it last as long as I could.

I woke up on Friday morning at about 2 am and was having contractions.  We had to be at the hospital at 6:30 am so I figured there was no use in going any sooner.  Thankfully, he held out until my scheduled surgery time of 8:30 am.  I was a nervous wreck about getting the epidural and bawled my eyes out when they were doing it.  In nursing school, I had seen both an epidural being put in and a c-section being performed so I was fully aware of what was going on.  There was a nursing student in the room for both and I apologized to her once the epidural was in.  It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be!!!!  My surgery was started at 8:52 am and at 8:55 am, our beautiful Baby O was brought into this great big world.  Everyone kept saying how cute he was and Sam said he had a lot of hair.  It felt like forever before I got to see him.  When I finally did, I said, "Oh he really is cute!  I was so afraid he would be an ugly baby!  And I thought you guys were just telling me he was cute because you had to!".  And I know he really is cute because my brutally honest ANM at work said he really is cute.  So he has to be! 

Once we were in the recovery room, I saw Sam as a whole new person.  Owen's blood sugar was low, so they had to stick him a few times and Sam just held his hand and talked to him and rubbed his head the whole time.  It was a beautiful thing to watch.  While in recovery, I told Sam that I didn't feel like I thought I would once Owen was born.  I kept hearing people say that as soon as you hold your baby in your arms, you will feel a love that you have never felt before.  I didn't hear angels singing or feel my heart swell with emotion. I was tired and overwhelmed.  I felt scared.  My life would never be the same.  I don't like change.  In fact, I hate it.  I loathe it.  And this was a very big change.  Every nite, I sent Owen to the nursery.  On Saturday morning, they brought Owen to my room and as soon as the nurse walked out, I burst into tears.  I was in too much pain to lift him out of his bassinet and I did not want to call the nurse in and bother her.  I barely held him the whole time I was in the hospital because it just hurt too much.  When I tried breast feeding, he would not latch on and it was very frustrating. So much so that I would cry when I was in my room by myself and I would pray that my nurse or tech wouldn't come in. I watched Sam bond with Owen and the love he had for him was just pouring out.  I was so sad that I did not have the same feeling.  This was something I wanted more than anything and had waited so long for and worked so hard to get and I wasn't feeling what I thought I should be feeling.  It wasn't until we got home and things settled down that I really looked at him and realized just how in love I was. 

So much has changed in the past 7 weeks.  I am at the point where I sit and stare at Owen and study every little face he makes, every little movement his hands make, every little smile and smirk, and every little giggle and coo that comes out of that sweet little mouth.  Breast feeding has gotten much better.  I did way more than I was supposed to when I got home so my pain was pretty severe for quite a few weeks.  By day 15 after I had Owen, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight because the pain medication really made me lose my appetite.  My OB was kind enough to sew my abdominal muscles back together during my surgery so I don't have too much of a poochy thing going on.  The dogs still sleep on the bed with us and we have tried to keep things as constant as possible for them and show them as much love and affection as we did before.  Phoebe took to him right away but Lulu needed some time to warm up.  She still only licks his hair and then runs away.  I can't wait to see the girls and Owen grow up together.

Seven weeks ago, I hated - even loathed - change.  It took an 8 lb 1 oz 20" little boy named Owen Vance Byram to open my eyes and make me realize that some change is great. 

"Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory."  ~Douglas MacArthur

“The best love in the world, is the love of a man. The love of a man who came from your womb, the love of your son! I don't have a daughter, but maybe the love of a daughter is the best, too. I am first and foremost me, but right after that, I am a mother. The best thing that I can ever be, is me. But the best gift that I will ever have, is being a mother.” ~ C. JoyBell C.