Tuesday, November 24, 2015

my funny girl

Well, despite my lack of posting, life's just kept on trucking away. I'm finally feeling pretty good again. Despite the unexpected allergic reaction from HAAAADES, I still think that my overall healing from surgery was quicker this time around. Perhaps because I had two less procedures rolled into the surgery this time? (Last time I had a D&C and hysteroscopy in addition to the laparoscopy.) At any rate, I'll take it. I was desperate to get back to playing with my girl!
Who, me? I'm just hiding in my new favorite spot! Boo!
This kid. She cracks me up daggum ALL. DAY. LONG. (Even when I'm away from her at work. Part of my brain thinks about work stuff while the other (better) part of my brain reflects back on whatever nutty thing she did that morning...multitasking at its finest!) 

Millie had an amazing streak of being healthy. From her 12-month well-visit until her 15-month well-visit (count it: THREE WHOLE MONTHS!!!) she had NO sick visits in between!! It was her longest streak to date. And I must have told that statistic/story to 1,389 people since the 15-month visit a few weeks ago...and I clearly jinxed her. Because since mid-November (the day before my surgery, to be exact), she's had FOUR SICK VISITS. Making up for lost time, I suppose. Womp. Nothing ever super tragic or alarming or scary, just run-of-the-mill colds/viruses/ear infections (yup, even with tubes). With her asthma, though, all of these generic winter ailments make her breathing get scary, so I always err on the side of taking her in to make sure her lungs are clear. So far so good, just lots of extra breathing treatments. I swear...that nebulizer is like my second child. I feel like it needs a monogrammed Christmas stocking next to the rest of ours.

I know exactly how to work this thing! It's my favorite game!

Everybody gets to have a turn. Even Lola! (true story)
Last weekend we went to a UGA basketball game- it was SO much fun! I'm not even remotely a fan of basketball, but a friend gave us free tickets and I figured Matt deserved a night of doing something besides waiting on me hand and foot (haha just kidding, why would he want a break from that?), so we went! I had a hunch Millie would enjoy the loud music (both from the sound system and the band), people, and general activity/festiveness of a college sporting event, and I was definitely correct.

No, I will NOT look at the camera, Mom. IT IS TIME FOR CLAPPING!!!!

Still can't look at the camera. I heard there was a mascot nearby...

Poor baby. I guess even the World's Happiest Baby has her limits.

At any rate, we had a lot of fun AND I even learned a few things...like why players get different numbers of free throws after being fouled! Not that I've ever watched much basketball, but I had observed that sometimes they get one throw, sometimes two...and I just figured it was random or something. NOT SO! Anyway...you're never too old to learn something new, I suppose! (Thanks to Matt for putting up with an entire half of my idiotic questions.) (Now, back to your waiting on me hand and foot.)

On Saturday we decided to go ahead and get our Christmas decor out. We'll wait til we get back from Thanksgiving to get the tree, but this way we can spread out the work a little...and plus, I just really felt like getting Christmas-y. Plus, I had my amazing helper this year!!

She very carefully arranged the nativity all by herself. I only had about 248 heart attacks as she womped my grandmother's priceless (to me) figurines around...
 I'd totally forgotten that last year after Christmas I'd bought this vinyl tree/ornament set on sale! We set it up on the fridge and Millie has enjoyed playing with it as much as I'd hoped she would!

I'm happy because I just stuck one of the yummy stickers in my mouth and my mommy hasn't found it yet!
Now I just need to convince her that this tree is waaaaaay more amazing and exciting than the soon-to-come real tree!

Sorry, is this post getting obnoxiously long? I can't help it. She's too funny. I must share.

 She always wants to carry her blankies, but she trips over them. Sometimes I wrap them up like a scarf, which is precious AND practical. This morning, she was also carrying her beloved lemur, Petunia, around. Right before I managed to get my camera, she had been carrying Petunia kinda up under the 'scarf,' and she totally looked like she was nursing Petunia. HA. It was adorable and hilarious, trust me. Maybe you had to be there.

She's taken a liking to playing in our shower lately. I know. GROSS. If only she knew how infrequently we clean that thing!! Haha. Anyway, on Sunday, she decided to go spend some time enjoying a beverage in the shower...with my shoe. Because of course.

Uhh...a little less photographing, a lot more pushing, lady. Get with it.
It may be frigid winter now (alright, so it's about 50. That's cold for us!), but that doesn't stop Mills from wanting to play outside all the time. Looks like I'll be sucking it up and getting cold this winter, because a Millie that's been told "no" about playing outside is NOT a happy Millie. And yes, she does wear tiny, adorable reindeer slippers all the time. BECAUSE SHE IS THE CUTEST THING THAT HAS EVER EXISTED.

Okay, enough. I just didn't want anyone to think my lack of posting was due to a lack of cute pictures or stories to tell. It's mostly due to the fact that I got totally sucked into Jane the Virgin and had to watch every single episode, and that's required a lot of time and commitment. But now I'm current (to last night's episode...which is, I suppose, as current as is humanly possible) and so maybe I can make time for other stuff. 

Well, my coughing, snotty little grump grump (this week she's a grumpy sick person. Blah. Normally her personality goes unscathed, but not this week) needs her mommy to come cuddle. She's been so miserable at night that we let her sleep with us, which is simultaneously just lovely and also incredibly obnoxious, ha! It's all fun and games until you get sucker-punched/kicked in the gut (the gut that just had surgery...) in the middle of the night. Seriously, though. I don't know how real co-sleeping families do it. Millie flips and flops around ALL night long, and so trying to accommodate all that in between Matt and me in a queen sized bed? Ummm no. Not easy. But she's sick and this makes her feel better (or so I tell myself) (and also it keeps US from having to run to her room to soothe her every two seconds), so we'll embrace it for another night. Adios!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

surgery recovery 2.0

 So I had my second endo surgery on Wednesday, and I'm still in the exciting throes of recovery...although as you can see, unlike last time, I'm not committed (or awake, more accurately) enough to post thrilling daily recovery updates. I really can't believe it's already been five days, actually. I figured I'd better write stuff down soon before I forget it all.

Requisite pre-surgery selfie
 My surgery was at noon on Wednesday, something that should be considered cruel and unusual punishment for someone who likes to eat and drink as much as I do. So. Many. Long. Waterless. Hours. Luckily, this time I did not have to "cleanse" the day before surgery. I'm not sure why, and I didn't question it. When someone hands you a gift like that, you accept it and move on, lest they change their minds. I did NOT want to do a cleanse again, and I'm thrilled I didn't have to!

But waiting til noon for surgery was still awful. I spent most of the time pepping/freaking myself out by thinking about the weird 'missing time' phenomena I was about to go through. Like, when they wheeled me back to the operating room...I would close my eyes and then be put under, and when I opened my eyes...it would be like no time had passed. Surgery could take 10 minutes or 10 days and I would have no concept of it as soon as I opened my eyes. Matt, on the other hand, would have to wait out every single boring minute in the waiting room. It's just really weird to me, so I couldn't stop thinking or talking about it. My apologies to Matt and anyone else forced to listen to me expound on my deep thinking (lookin at you, nice nurses).

As it turned out, surgery took about two hours. It took me about two more hours to come out of the anesthesia. Apparently I took it pretty hard. It's weird because I can sort of remember it, the coming awake part? But it's also really fuzzy. But I remember thrashing around a lot and the nurses holding me still so that my IVs wouldn't come out. And then I was shaking a lot, and they gave me morphine until I stopped. They didn't let Matt come back to see me for a long time. 

Anyway, I was eventually awake enough to be dumped in the car and sent on my merry, delirious, nauseous way. As last time, surgery was in Atlanta, so a long, trafficky drive home was next on the agenda. And I think that last time I was mostly asleep for the drive home, but this time I was awake enough to be completely aware of how insanely nauseous I was the whole time. It was delightful, really. 

We made it home without me puking all over the car, which felt like an enormous accomplishment. I proceeded to take All the Medicine (Percocet & Zofran) and pass out on the couch for the next five days.

Millie's been spending about half of her days at my in-laws' house and half of her time here at home with Matt and Worthless Mommy. She's not remotely impressed with the various ways Matt has configured the living room to keep her away from The Prize: Mommy.

I will get you, Mommy! Fear not! No cage can contain me!
Are you bored? You look bored. You keep falling asleep. Here, have a horse.

Oh wait, I actually want that horse now. And also, if I think really skinny thoughts, maybe I can squeeeeeze...okay, no.
Recovery has been similar but surprisingly different than last time. I felt SO sick from the anesthesia for the first two or three days. Like just constantly dizzy and lightheaded and nauseous and really disoriented. I don't remember that at all from last time. I also lost my voice and had a really scratchy throat from the tube they stuck down my throat during surgery. I kind of felt like I had strep or something. Fun! But both the sore throat and nausea/dizziness finally wore off on Friday night or so, and I feel more like "me," just with some (expected, not too terrible) abdominal pain. 

Then on Friday night my incisions really started itching. I have three incisions this time (one less than last time), and up until Friday, they hadn't bothered me in the least. No pain or burning or tightness like last time. But they started itching.

And the itching got worse.

And worse.

And never stopped, even when I was sleeping, even when I was knocked out on painkillers and sleeping.

THE ITCHING!!!!!!!!!!!


So by yesterday evening, each incision was surrounded by bright red welts, bumps, and HERE I AM GOING TO NOT LIST SOME OF THE MORE REVOLTING SYMPTOMS, INCLUDING VARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS OF DISCHARGES I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN SEEING, SO THANK ME LATER. After thoroughly scouring all of my post-op instructions and Googling things like "incisions itching after surgery," Matt and I finally decided it probably was not just a normal amount of itching, so we called the doctor's office first thing this morning.

My doctor agreed that most likely I am having a localized allergic reaction to either the Steri-strips (tape that is on top of the stitches) or the stitches themselves. It's much more common to be allergic to the Steri-strips, so for now they wanted me to go ahead and remove all the tape (which was NOT FUN because it's not loosened up enough yet...so this was like pulling off Bandaids that REALLY did not want to come off) (but ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN THE ITCHING) and take Benadryl and hopefully the itching should subside and the hives will go away. If they don't, then...I don't know. Maybe it wasn't the Steri-strips and maybe it's something else? I can't even think about that yet.

So the tape has been off for a few hours, and seeing what everything looks like under the tape is like a horror movie. DISGUSTING. I took pictures (because I'll need to know whether things are getting better or not), but I am consumed with the fear that I'll forget to delete the pictures and that next year they'll show up on my Time Hop and I'll just die instantly because of the gross-out shock. 

In conclusion...I hope that you never develop a Steri-strip allergy after you have surgery and Steri-strips are holding your abdomen closed, because it is possibly the nastiest and most uncomfortable thing ever.

Let's cleanse the palate with a picture of Millie playing in the leaves while her mommy suffers, shall we?
So aannnnnyway...hopefully the incision situation is heading in the right direction now and soon I will be a human again. No one is hoping for Human Erika's comeback right now like Millie is. Well, maybe Matt. He's been a champ, singlehandedly doing EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD while I beckon deliriously from the couch for crackers, waters, and a very specific baked potato from a restaurant in Athens (because cravings).

Mommy, when are we going to play games that are more fun than me stealing your socks and tickling your feet?
As for how the surgery really went, I honestly don't know much. I was too out of it immediately after surgery to really understand what the doctor was saying. He told Matt, but...I think a lot of details got lost somewhere along the way. I have a stack of pictures from surgery, but he didn't label them like he did last time, so they're fairly useless to me. I suppose I will find out what all happened when I go to my post-op appointment in a few weeks. Basically, from what Matt and I recall, he said that once he got "in there," things looked almost exactly like they did last time. Similar cysts, similar adhesions. He said he was able to clean it up almost like last time, but with one notable exception (that I don't really understand, because...I was extremely out of it). Like last time, both of my ovaries were fused to [something, whatever is behind them] with adhesions. Apparently in a perfect/normal world, your ovaries are kinda free-hanging, just floating and wiggling around in your abdomen. Mine were glued tight to [something]. Last time he was able to cut them free. This time, he was not. So all of the details are missing, but both Matt and I caught that bottom line. Hopefully I'll get more understanding about this in a few weeks.

So that's pretty much the surgery update. Unfortunately, all of my Netflix marathoning goals were way too lofty. I have really been too out of it to concentrate on anything besides not barfing (because barfing REALLY hurts my stomach). I didn't do anything but sleep for about two days, and now that I'm able to stay conscious for a few hours at a time, I do watch TV some, but I can't really focus. So I've just been watching odd episodes of House Hunters and other HGTV shows that don't really matter if you doze off for 20 minutes in the middle of the ep. 

During my most awake/bored times, I have watched a few eps of Jane the Virgin, though, and it's pretty entertaining. Matt would HAAAATE it, so I'm watching it while he's not around, but it is pretty hilarious. And also so nonsensical that it doesn't really matter if I'm 100% cognitively there or not, ha!

Thanks so much for your emails and texts checking on my well-being! I really appreciate your prayers and thoughts and random bits of entertainment and distraction! I look forward to rejoining everyone in the Land of the Living very soon! (Unless I end up self-amputating my stomach due to the Steri-strip debacle. Which was something I gave serious consideration to for about six hours during the middle of the night...) (But seriously. Watching a lot of DIY shows + painkillers + delirious itching = bad ideas)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

a child of my own

Yesterday was World Adoption Day...yet another 'day' that I didn't know existed until social media clued me in.

Like...did all of these theme days always exist? But before hashtags and social media, only like two guys working in the Hallmark card designing basement ever knew about them? I guess that must be it. Because I feel like it's a new 'holiday' every day now. Sisters' Day. Siblings' Day. And all of these days are a nightmare of apostrophe inconsistency, but that's a whole 'nother issue. 

So November 9 is World Adoption Day. That's cool. At least there are no apostrophes. You know what else November 9 is? The anniversary of our failed adoption. Two years. Yup. So apparently we "celebrated" World Adoption Day in 2013 by...that. Now come on. If that doesn't just help paint a more balanced picture, then nothing does. For every smiley-face-hand picture I saw yesterday, I couldn't help but be reminded of the incredibly dark days when adoption was not a remotely smiley experience for us. 

It's a weird day to process. It was weird last year, it was weird this year. To be honest, it's still not something I can really think about too deeply without feeling really confused. I prefer to focus on the good, you know: if we hadn't gone through that, we wouldn't have Millie. And so in a sense, it was totally worth it. But in another sense...that loss and grief don't just go away because we have a child now.

Ugh. Like I said. It's weird, and I don't really know how to process or talk about it. So I'll just move on.

Anyway, what with it being #WorldAdoptionDay and all yesterday, there was a lot more 'adoption talk' than normal floating around my newsfeed. This article, All My Children Are My Own, resonated the most with me. To me, nothing is more (unintentionally, I'm sure, but still...) hurtful than when someone says (or insinuates) that I could/should/might someday "have a child of my own." Because SERIOUSLY? Just think about it. What they mean is "a biological child." That's fine. But the phrase "of your own" has got to go. Because Millie is my own. There is nothing lesser or inferior about her or my relationship with her because she grew in another woman's body. So I guess that's my adoption PSA of the day year. Erase the phrase "of your/her/their own" from your vocabulary when you're referring to adoptive families. Unless it's to say something like "now that you have kids of your own, you know what it's like to live without sleep," because that's a totally legit sentiment. Not that I experienced that personally, mwahahaha, because obviously Millie was the greatest baby in the whole world. And that's why I'm glad she's my own.

In case you need photographic proof that our apple didn't fall far from the tree...

Although Millie has approximately 2,382 books of her own (hahaha now I'm hyper-aware of how often I use that phrase...), apparently they aren't really to her liking. Fluff reading, she says. She's ready for the good stuff.

I like a book that doesn't resolve in eight pages of rhyming phrases. And no pictures, please. I prefer to use my imagination.
Yes, yes, I think this'll do just fine for my bedtime story tonight. Parents don't actually need sleep anyway, do they? Apparently I missed that memo when I was an infant, but it's not too late to make up for it!
I just laughed and laughed when I came upon this scene. Millie surrounded by a pile of our fattest books. It's too perfect. That girl. 

Speaking of things worth reading...(and for the record, I haven't actually read any of the books Millie is contemplating in these pictures. They're all from the Things I Should/Might Read but Haven't Yet pile.)...this hilarious post called All of my Issues With the "Goodnight Moon" Bedroom. Like, way too funny. And then when Millie actually did pull out Goodnight Moon tonight to read...I just couldn't handle it. So do yourself a favor and go read that. The blog, not the actual story. I'm sure you can already recite the story.

My surgery is tomorrow, so I spent today letting Millie crawl all over me like a jungle gym. Wrestling is her love language, and I'm going to miss it while my stomach is recovering. 

We planted a camellia last winter, and it has a ton of gorgeous blooms on it right now! It finally stopped raining, so we had to go outside so that Camilla could visit her camellia...her pseudo-namesake. She was pretty impressed. I could tell because she tried to rip all of the flowers off...yikes. "Gentle hands" are something we're working on...haha.

Ummm...gentle hands? More like boring hands. I'll pass.
She can give me all the stink eyes in the world, won't change a thing. This girl is my heart.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

halloween. and some other stuff, too.

Millie's second Halloween has come and gone, and I must say...my baby in a costume really doesn't get old. I need to find more excuses to dress her up in fluffy adorableness. Pageants, perhaps? Okay, maybe not.

This year, Matt and I got into the spirit and went all out with a family theme. Probably the easiest/laziest theme ever, but it's the thought that counts. 

The best flower we've ever grown!
We were a pair of gardeners with our prize sunflower (and also a butternut squash in Matt's hand...because of course). Since I just know you're dying for the details on my amazing outfit, I'll tell you: I dug around for one of Matt's old button-downs, and scoured my garage for the least-sharp gardening tools I could find and manage to carry around a bowling alley for the night (since that's where our church's costume party takes place). Then I showed TRUE commitment to the cause by going to my actual garden and RUBBING ACTUAL DIRT ALL OVER MY FACE AND CLOTHING. So...yeah. Commitment. I'm not a rub dirt on my face kinda girl. Because that dirt went on top of my fully made up Tarte-and-Urban Decay-and-Benefit face. It crushed my spirit a little. But we won the costume competition, so I guess it was all worth it.

Unlikely, but there's a chance that we didn't win because of my dirty face. It coulda had something to do with the flower, but I guess we'll never know.

I have no idea what is going on! Why am I wearing this?!
I had no idea how Millie would feel about the costume, but luckily, she turned out to be a fan. She's worn the costume (including the hat) for probably a collective 7-8 hours over the last week, and she doesn't seem to think it's anything but fun! In fact, she's even been spotted digging the hat part out of her closet and attempting to put it on during non-costume-designated times!

I feel certain this should sit somewhere up here.
I WILL figure this out, dangit!!
 Please stop and die over that little lip stuck out as she concentrates. This is a regular feature around these parts and I could probably (and might) make a sizable coffee table book featuring just pictures of her making this face. It is too much. I can't handle it. I hope that one day she decides to take AP Calculus or something really hard like that and I'm going to quit my job and just stalk her around her school so that I can watch her make this face all the time. That doesn't seem creepy at all, right? Great.

Hey chillllldren!!! Come here! I will give you one piece of candy, VERY slowly and VERY carefully!
Millie took her candy-handing-outing duties very seriously last night. She was all about pulling a piece of candy out of our pumpkin bucket and depositing it into Elsa or Spiderman's bucket. It was really cute that other little kids (well, bigger than her, but still little) found this as endearing as we did. She is the cutest flower I've ever seen!!!, said one fourish-year-old boy who was apparently as smart as he was precious.

We paused our candy-passing for a few minutes to walk Millie over to a few neighbors' houses to show her off get candy. As suspected, she was a big hit. She can't say "trick or treat," but she waves, claps, smiles, and makes the sign language 'more' sign, soooo...she went over really well.

Incidentally, it was also Matt's first trick-or-treating experience! I didn't even know it until we were headed to the second house, or else I definitely would have had him pose with a little chalkboard sign that said "Matt's First Trick-or-Treating, 2015" or something like that. He just dropped it in all casually...so hey, what're the odds? Matt and Millie both experiencing their firsts on the same night? Precious. (Matt felt like I shouldn't have been so surprised that he'd never trick-or-treated before...as he has told me at least a thousand times before, his family attended a  Hallowed Be Thy Name church festival/party/thingie instead...which I definitely remember and laugh about on the reg, but it never really sunk in that that meant he HAD NEVER GONE TRICK OR TREATING!!!)

So in non-costumed-and-sugar-laden news, Millie has been exceptionally adorable and hilarious lately. I mean, she's always adorable...but she is just at a really fun age now where she's legitimately hilarious most of the time. And she knows it. This girl is t.r.o.u.b.l.e.

Who, me? I'm not trouble. I'm just really serious. And I will make this serious face until you laugh...which takes about one second.
 Her faces these days. I can't.

 And yes, she does have 480 teeth. Ugh. Why don't you ask how much she loves to brush them all?


Yeah. That's how much. If my arm muscles are looking particularly well-defined lately (HAHAHAHA), it's all due to our twice-daily alligator wrestling matches where we attempt to prevent tooth decay. And fail miserably.

On the plus side, I guess if all of her teeth rot and fall out, she will look like a little baby again!!! Wooo!!! #silverlinings

I may raise hell every time you brush my teeth, but look how happy I am in the bathtub!! Just stick to my strengths, okay, Mom?
 Now that the time has changed, our days of taking a walk after dinner are probably done. Too dark. Waaaah. Because she's just figured how much fun it is to lean back and laugh and laugh up at us while we push her...and it's really the best thing ever.

She started attending a new school a few weeks ago, and she's adjusting beautifully. I love that she's so confident and that her happy little personality shines so brightly even in a new place. Her new teachers have pretty much got her figured out already:

1. She's happy all the time, except for when a meal/snack is over. 

Who, me? I didn't become a big girl by pussyfooting around the dining room table, Mommy...
I am just so proud of the brave, joyful, loving little girl she's growing into. She always has a smile and a wave for everyone. It makes me so happy to see her so confident and happy in a new place- but also to see her face light up as she sprints to see me when I come pick her up each day. That really is the best.

So now it's November, and I suppose I'll start listening to Christmas music any day now. I won't actually do any shopping or decorating for another month, but I can definitely get on board with pulling out my Pentatonix Christmas albums ASAP.

Hopefully it won't be Thanksgiving before I get around to blogging again- haha, but also...practically accurate. I've been meaning to do a 'day in the life' post for like six months, but haven't felt ambitious enough to actually do it yet...but maybe someday. Anyway. Gotta get back to watching through Season 4 of Scandal. It's as horrible and awesome as ever! Also, anyone watching Madame Secretary or Jane the Virgin? I've heard good things and am considering adding them to my post-surgery playlist...which by now is so long that I will need to take at least a year to recover from surgery, ha! Oh well! Gotta do whatcha gotta do...and Netflix just isn't gonna watch itself, right? Right.