Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy 20 month birthday Charlie!

(Charlie, 20 months old)

Today is a big day. Charlie is 20 months old! She is no longer a 'teen'! Seriously never thought we'd see this day, yet here we are...and Charlie is doing FANTASTIC! It was February 21st last year, that I started this blog, I sincerely thought it would be a two or three month therapeutic process that would contain mine and Matt's precious memories of the short time we were told we'd have with Charlie. It's been a journey, that's for sure. But she's STILL happy, and she's STILL here. And, that's ALL. THAT. MATTERS. Happy 20th Charlie, you're somethin' else!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


(Glamorous Charlie, 19 months)

Several years ago I was diagnosed with PMDD, which is basically PMS times ten...if PMS is WWF's Chyna in a bad mood, then PMDD is Glen Close's character in Fatal Attraction. It's just a really rough thing to have to deal with. Anyway, after I was diagnosed I went to a workshop I called 'Period School', basically it was a room full of hysterically crying women sharing their stories of how PMDD had been stealing about a week of their lives every month. It was then that I realized, 'things could be worse' MUCH worse. My heart broke for some of these women...I mean, I had it pretty bad, but some of these women couldn't even function when experiencing symptoms, it was just awful. It was then that I self diagnosed myself as borderline PMDD, although some of my friends and family might beg to differ. Ha!

When I found out I was pregnant I was urged by my doctor to go to counselling weekly because women who suffer from PMDD are apparently more likely to suffer from post-partum. So I did. I have a theory about counselling...we can all benefit from it, whatever your situation, so if its offered free to you, take them up on it, it feels good! I went twice a month up until I had Charlie, I loved my counsellor and It was nice to take the weeks events and sum them up in 55 min with someone I felt connected to and not judged by. I can be pretty neurotic, so when I was told that I may suffer from postpartum, I obsessed about it, but along came Charlie, and besides feeling completely overwhelmed the first few days with such a major responsibility...to keep MY tiny little HUMAN alive, it was seriously smooth sailing from there on out. I was made for loving her.

I'm mentioning this because, its been one of those weeks this week. A lot of tears and bad thoughts. I'd been feeling pretty strong for a good chunk of time there, and then this past week showed up unannounced and uninvited. I've just been thinking a lot about the future. I'm not sleeping well, and all I do is worry, worry, worry. I worry about things like Charlie getting to big for me to carry, and what do I do in an emergency situation like a fire or an earthquake? She can't be carried for long periods of time and the elevators will be closed...and how do I manage all of her equipment? I worry about her feet curling...they've been curling up and her splints don't seem to be doing their job. I worry that I'm not stimulating her brain enough...what more should I be doing? It just never stops. I'm pretty sure that this has suddenly come on because of Matt and I separating...and as much as I know that it's the right thing to do, and we'll be sharing custody of Charlie, It's really frightening to take on so much change with a high needs child who regardless of anything else, relies on us just to breathe properly. It's just very overwhelming.

I've spent some time with friends recently who have children Charlie's age...I think that may have affected me as well (I love you all though, and I love our visits...keep em coming!). I forget just how different Charlie is, until I spend time with 'regular' toddlers. They run, dance, and talk at this age. They all just seem so much older than Charlie. It's really been sinking in lately because when Charlie was diagnosed at 6 months, the differences between her and other children were minor...no 6 month old walks or talks, and even though we were prepared for Charlie's imminent death, we never heard the words, "your daughter will never walk, run, dance, or quite possibly talk" It was obviously implied, but never really stated because the doctors never thought Charlie would make it past 9 months old. And although it occured to me, my main goal was keeping Charlie alive, not seeing her run. But now that we're at that stage, it's really affecting me. I was getting a blood test the other day and a woman was walking into her little 'cubicle' as a little girl with skinny little colt legs, about 2 years old, followed behind her...the woman said, "you gonna follow me in?" In her sweet motherly tone, but also in a tone that I knew didn't recognize what a beautiful thing it is that she could 'follow' her in. My eyes welled up with tears, but I managed to hold them back. But later that night, I let them go when I opened up to Charlie's nurse about how I was feeling. She talked me down and helped me remember why I should be thankful for everything that Charlie is, and stop feeling ripped off for everything she isn't.

And I am thankful for Charlie, and everything she IS, but I am human and sometimes I get a little greedy and want more...and that's one of the many reasons Charlie came to us...to teach us to be grateful for everything we do have, and that sometimes the best gifts can be disguised as tragedies. You're a gift to a lot of people Charlie, I love you.