Friday, September 17, 2010

Jenn's rant # ?

4 tiny hands covered with tape for their IV's... 4 tiny feet with one blue great toe. In the first 24 hours I didn't worry about Jessica living, I worried about her losing her toes.

Born into very warm arms and many loving hearts. I was truly happy and understood what it meant to feel gratitude.
Our family was complete, or so I thought at the time.

Then one month later I realized my family would never feel complete. And gratitude changed to despair, I knew Keith nor I would ever hold our twin girls together again.

That despair is still being managed, but the gratitude has returned and will always be with me.

Alyssa is TWO...she is incredible and she makes me smile everyday. She talks, she walks, she sings (very poorly like all Flynn's do), and you would never know how sick she once was by simply looking at her.

In the past year she's grown up so much. I think we all have. Maybe myself the most. Although I still can be an emotional wreck, I feel like I can handle alot. And very little unrelated to my family bothers me. Work does not stress me out, money does not stress me out, a messy house without supper made bothers me, but does not stress me out, trying to achieve a specific goal race time does not stress me out. But my kids being sick stresses me out. Give this one to me.

Here's my rant for the year (the edited version)

Alyssa's first year home, she was well protected from colds, extremely careful hand washing and mask wearing as necessary. She also received RSV shots during that year. The second year I was back to work and she was at a home sitter, so exposed to more virus's of course. Three colds that developped into pneumonia, and one that hospitalized her for half a week because of RSV and pneumonia. Some friends use to say that I shouldn't have isolated her so much her first year, so that her body will become more immune to these viruses. I can understand this, but I think very differently at the same time. They never really got it that her lungs are damaged, and the older she gets they will continue to develop making her less succeptible to getting SO sick. I don't want to build up her immune system before her lungs can really handle it. So will I continue to shelter, not like the first year, but I will still avoid any colds for playdates when possible. We are now starting back into cold/RSV season, and I am a bit stressed out. Alyssa has a cold now, I'm sure many people thought I overeacted when I took her to the paediatrician because I thought she was getting pneumonia again. I hate worrying about a cold, but it started as a simple cold last March that had her admitted into the hospital with RSV and pneumonia. I really don't care what people think. And I certaintly don't minimize anyone else's worry when it comes to their children, I hear this worry never ends...

And if it is not colds, then it is something else...

Several months ago, Alyssa started this new thing. They call it "breath holding". It scared the living shit out of me the first time it happened...Alyssa started crying over something silly, like Emily took her toy...she couldn't catch her breath...she turned blue....I tried flicking her toes, blowing in her face, everything we did when she had apneas in the NICU, but nothing worked, she passed out in my arms. This all happened in minutes and within 10 seconds or so later she came to. But in that time a million things went through my head...I thought about calling 911... I thought about starting CPR...I thought, I lost her.

I never told anyone that, not even Keith at the time. This happened 3 other times since then, and even though I've done my research, talked with her pediatrician who said this happens in some kids with no resulting damage...I still hate it, and I feel my heart stop for a second.

Any major skin color changes...especially blue, loss of consciousness, and/or extreme difficulty in breathing, terrifies me. And and I know logically that not everyone that turns blue and stops breathing for a couple seconds will die, I really do...but at that moment I feel despair all over again, and wonder if I'll ever be free of the fear of losing another child.

Friday, April 16, 2010

IWK 5K - In Memory of Jessica

New York, New York, not in my cards this year, however it will in the next 2 years, so I will just keep applying...

Instead I found a new focus this year. I am organizing a fun run/walk for the IWK on June 6th in DeWolfe Park, in Bedford, NS.

I remember the first time holding Jessica outside of incubator for kangaroo care thinking, WOW... these nurses really are amazing. Here they are looking after 2-3 babies each, depending on how sick they were, and they find this huge comfy chair for me to sit on, and find another nurse who is also looking after their own patients to help organize the lines and ventilator tubing to take my baby out for me to hold. There is careful placing of each line, and warmed blankets, and tape, lots of tape to hold the ventilator tubing on the chair from falling off, and a mirror so that I can look at Jessica's face. Then they prop my feet up on the foot rest, and put pillows around me to make sure I am comfortable, because I am scared to death to move in fear of pulling out a line or the tube. And not once did they show any fear, or concern as the alarms went off and the monitors were showing heart rate increasing, and sats decreasing...they told us that kangaroo care was so important for the babies, especially with the mom, and although the transition from incubator to the Mom can be stressful for the baby, being settled on Mom's chest usually settles everything. And they were right. Heart rate usually settled right out, and oxygen sats increased, so much to the point that the oxygen settings could be lowered. It was an amazing feeling, with both girls to see the response that I had on them. I loved the nurses for making me feel this way, and helping me relax with kangaroo care, when it was something so new to me, even though they did this with parents everyday.

And it didn't end there from the kindness and compassion we received from the nurses. They looked after our children, and they looked after us when we really needed it after Jessica passed away. The nurses, the social worker, the neonatologists, the pharmacists, the respiratory therapists, the chaplains, they were all wonderful. It takes someone truly remarkable to be a part of the IWK team. It was around this time that I thought about organizing an event to help raise money for the IWK, rather then our yearly or bi-yearly cheque.

Running and two safe outlets after Jessica passed away. So it only made perfect sense to me to start up a run with all proceeds after costs of the race to be donated to the IWK. For me, I am organizing the run in memory of my daughter, Jessica, and for the excellent care we received for Alyssa and also Emily when she was born.

This run can mean something to everyone. It can mean something to the mom who had a normal healthy pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby at the IWK and feels grateful to the staff who delivered and cared for her. It can mean something to the Mom and Dad, who delivered premature twins, who spent a lengthy stay in the NICU with many complications, but because of the wonderful care they received...were able to take their twins home. And continue to be involved with the IWK staff with perinatal follow-up/and or surgeries. It can mean something to the the parents of a child who was born with their bowels on their exterior and who are grateful for the staff and many surgeries that saved their babies life. It can mean something to the families who's child was in grade primary and diagnosed with leukemia, and now has to undergo extensive chemotherapy and radiation at such a young age, but because of the IWK staff this child feels at home. It can mean something for the children who at one time thought they would never walk, and today they are running. And it can mean something to all of the healthy kids who know that if they were to ever become sick they would be ok, because they live in a province with "world class pediatric care." We all have some connection to this hospital either directly or through family and friends. What is your connection?

Please come run with us, and feel good about yourself for exercising, and feel great that you are helping to make a child's experience at the IWK more comfortable and less invasive by helping to provide the best medical care, and helping to purchase necessary equipment that the government doesn't fund.

The cost of the 5K run is $25 dollars, free for the kids run with the registration of one adult. If you like to take part without running or walking, we would love your help as a volunteer, or sponsor. This is the first year for the race so we are trying to keep it very low key with few costs so that more money will go to the IWK. Tell your family, your friends, your coworkers, we hope to see many of you at DeWolfe Park June 6th for a great run or walk!

To register click on the title of this blog post or go to and look under NS races in June 2010.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Marathon Year

For the past year and a half, I've had this constant nagging thought in my head. "I have to run a full marathon". Crazy, I know. Like I've said in post's before...I am not a natural runner, I work my butt off to run, sort of. But I love it. I loved it since 2007 when I ran my first 10K, and then went on to run my first half marathon...and then I got pregnant...with twins...and was put on bedrest...dang. It stopped, and I envied those people running on the Bedford highway as I drove to all my appt's with my OB. Yes, I know, all stuff I've mentioned before. So now here I am again, and back into the running. After running my first half marathon, I didn't think "I so want to run a full marathon". On the contrary...I thought why the hell would anyone want to run over 4 hours, I mean really, why??? 2 hours is a good enough workout, really 1 hours is sufficient, but 4hours, not me, I don't have the desire. It is not on my bucket list.

Well, not until my baby died.

And then something inside of me made me want to do it. silly, crazy, stupid, all of the above. you become someone you are not. You're life changes. things you thought you never would do, you want to do, and for me it is that 42 K course. Not that I think I necessarily CAN do it, I feel like I HAVE to do it. WhY?? I have no clue. But that is where I am. And for some reason, it has to be NEW YORK... again, I have no idea why. New York was on my mind right after Jessica passed away. this marathon is by lottery, you hope you get in, but it is pure luck of the draw. When my sister in law ran it years ago, the competition wasn't as bad and her and a couple of her best friends all got in, so in my mind I felt i would get in last year too. And it was actually a huge dissapointment that I didn't get in. I cried for days. Not just because I didn't get in, but because I felt like I let myself down, or that I let Jessica down...crazy I know. Crazy is just what parents of spirit babies are sometimes. People tell me all the time how lucky I am that Alyssa is doing so well, and I'm too nice to tell them what I really want to say. "Yes, I'm grateful, and absolutely thrilled that Alyssa and Emily are healthy and doing so well...but lucky? I wouldn't say I'm lucky, I held my baby in my arms and watched her die and turn blue, I couldn't do anything to fix all of her that luck to you, because it's not luck to me. I think it is only fair that my baby that did survive is doing well" there you go, I said it.

Ok, back to this marathon thing. So I've applied again this year. I can't get this big run out of my head. Normally...after a half marathon training, or during, I have some type of major injury, this time I didn't really train...meaning I didn't do the hills or speed, just casually ran through the week and did long runs on Sunday, and felt great, no injuries until this past week, where my knee felt like it was going to give out a couple days after the 20 K...but I think I'm recovering. So anyways in my mind, I'm thinking if I'm feeling ok, I should just continue to increase my mileage, and this will be the year....New york or not, this is my marathon year. I'm still a bit hesitant writing this and trying to commit to it, because I don't want to fail.
But I seriously cannot get the marathon out of my head. So whether it is NY (which I REALLY REALLY hope it is), or Toronto, or somewhere else...hopefully my knees will let me finish a full 26.2 miles this year. I will be 32 the year I run my first marathon, not a very important year for age, but crazy important year for accomplishment. Wish me luck, I think I've finally committed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I really miss maternity leave. Or at least wish I was young enough to retire (or rich enough). I miss the no rush, laid back, disorganized lifestyle I had months ago.

Work does have it's perks... I enjoy my hour at lunch without someone crying, or wanting to be held, or without having to help feed or me trying to convince my 3 year old how yummy her lunch is and how it will make her big enough so that she will be able to go on the rides at DisneyWorld...yes, I enjoy being able to go for a run and not feeling guilty that the kids are home waiting for me so I need to rush back. And a staff room full of women with some good gossip and entertaining conversation, and stories of kids similar in age to mine that make me feel like I'm not alone with parenting.

However... I hate early morning rushes...5 minute showers, quick brush of the teeth, my usual ponytail hair non brushed of course, waking up sleepy children and dressing them as they are just starting to open their eyes and then telling them to eat their breakfast as quick as they can....oh and don't poop whatever you do because we'll never make it in time for carpool!! On a good day I can scarf down a bowl of cereal, and if I'm really lucky grab a cup of coffee (thank goodness for the 1 cup Keurig). And then there is the supper rush which I do alone and am not enjoying so much either. I pick the girls up from the sitter's, Alyssa is absolutely starving and wanting supper ASAP, therefore supper for that night must be cooked the night before so it only needs to be heated up as I walk through the door....I feel like I am always rushing, and for someone as laid back as I am, or so I thought I was, life seems unecessarily stressful at times. Does it ever get any easier, or will I need to always be this organized with meal planning and cleaning...wait a second, No, that is for the housekeeper...who I don't absolutely love, but she does more then I will do weekly. or will she? there is still the constant never ending laundry, breakfast/suppertime dishes and cleaning up toys that is only some of the typical daily chores. The actual work day itself is usually great...until someone tells you how to do your job that is, which luckily doesn't happen that often....
it's just the rushing, I would like to slow down again to maternity style tempo. I wasn't lazy, just relaxed.

How I wish I could sleep in tomorrow with my husband, drink my coffee, go for a run, play with my kids... and still get paid.