Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Life as a single mom

Can I just start by saying: I am SO MUCH HAPPIER.  I think this quote sums it up perfectly:

It's exactly how I feel. Now that I am out of my marriage I realize just how much it was affecting me emotionally, spiritually, even physically!  I am healthier now in all ways.

Life is harder in other ways too though: I'm a single mom. I rarely get a real break. Even when Ex-Hubs takes Jack for an overnight at his place, it still means I have him every single day - dropping him off for school on a Friday morning and then he comes back after naptime the very next day. So it is tiring. And he's 4 now.  He is... a spirited child.  He is the freakin light of my life but he is TOUGH. Incredibly strong-willed and stubborn. Incredibly active.  It is a GOOD thing and will likely serve him well in all that he'll need to overcome in life but DAMN it is hard to parent such a strong willed child. I get help from others when I can, and when I can't, I endure.  The phases will pass, I am sure.  I'm just trying to keep my sanity and my patience in the meantime.

At the same time - he is amazing. He is the most charismatic kid I know. He is SO friendly, SO chatty, SO entertaining.  He knows everyone and everyone knows him. I am very glad I stayed in this area where we were living. I found a perfect townhome in the next town over and Jack and I have been happy here.

I've been happy for other reasons too...

I met a wonderful man. He and I have been together for over a year now and are very much in love. We connected through an online forum as we were both going through divorces at the same time. We just completely clicked and it felt like we had been friends forever. After talking for a while we swapped pictures. And damn - we both knew. He is wonderful and loving and sweet and sexy and an amazing father to his two teenage children. He is is also an amazing man to have in Jack's life. He has stepped up in every sense of the word and he and Jack love each other too. I could not ask for anything more. The ONLY challenge is that he lives in Canada. Whomp, whomp. Luckily it's on THIS side of North America, haha, but it still takes him about 7.5 hrs to drive here. And he does it religiously, every other weekend.  He has his kids 50% of the time, and I have Jack almost all the time, so we get together every time our schedules allow.  It works out to being able to see each other for about 2.5-3 days every 2 weeks.  Sometimes that's hard and I do miss him, but othertimes I think it's a good thing because it allows us each to cultivate our own lives, especially since we've both been through such huge changes over the last 1.5 years with our divorces.  It also allows me the time to work on.....

My new business!!

My sister and I opened a business about 5 months ago :-)  (Yes, I am crazy.) She is a gifted energy healer and psychic medium and always has been.  So we decided to go for it and open up an actual business here in Southern New Hampshire. It's been going really well and I'm proud of us and also happy and feeling quite fulfilled with this work.

Feel free to check us out! Spirit's Journey NH
We're also on Facebook HERE.  We like to post fun and uplifting things :-)

(Did you enjoy that shameless plug??)

As for other things in life, I really have no complaints. I am so very glad that I am where I am in life now. All the medical difficulties with Jack really calmed down after around 3.5 years old.  He got long term ear tubes in and we haven't had a problem since with his hearing or any more ear infections.  He has rarely gotten sick over the last year, he doesn't have many other medical issues going on currently... It's been quite the relief.  We still have all our yearly check ups with his 8 specialists (let's see if I can even remember them all: Pediatrician, Nephrologist, Geneticist, Orthopedist, Otolaryngologist, Ophlamologist, Neurologist...I'm forgetting someone...) but there have been no additional issues. I know there will likely be things to deal with in the future - especially orthopedically - related to the way his bones grow, and also oral surgeries due to his small mouth and teeth crowding (at a minimum), but for right now I am feeling very very blessed.  The ONLY thing that is still an issue now is his poor sleep.  (AH! Pulmonologist! That's the last one hahaha)  It seems he is just a poor sleeper.  He wakes up many times every night. It's just the way it is.  I've tried EVERYTHING and to no avail so I've learned to adjust by trying to go to bed earlier myself and just dealing with it. It is what it is.  Someday I'll sleep again.

Otherwise, Jack is happy, healthy, active, growing, and life is good.

It is SO wonderful to provide a GOOD update here. :-)

Friday, July 13, 2018


So I disappeared off the face of the earth there for oooooh, a year and a half or so, haha! Whoops.

Things are certainly different since the last time I wrote!

I haven't even come back onto the blog in ages and I had to laugh reading the paragraph about things not going so well with me and Hubs. Understatement. We are now in the middle of a divorce.  It got to a point where we were just so completely disconnected, living parallel lives with him on the west coast half of the time and me and Jack on the east coast. There has been zero intimacy OR really even any affection between us for years now and it was slowly killing me inside. So in the interest of trying to maintain some semblance of self, Hubs and I both agreed we should go our separate ways. We still love each other but this isn't a marriage. We are roommates (well, some of the time since he has been traveling for work more than 50% of the time for at least 2 years now), and co-parents. (And another disclaimer on that one since I'm the one doing most of the parenting.)

So there you have it.  It is amicable, it is timely (since Jack turned 3 in April and so he will never know any different than having Daddy not really live with him and Mommy), and it is for the best.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I do have some fear: I am now an unemployed single mom of a child with special needs. Holy shit. But things should be okay. My motto over the past year has been "Let your faith be bigger than your fear". I have been working hard at that and I'm proud of myself.  I'm sure there will be complete shit moments but overall I think it will be a good thing.  I want to have a REAL relationship (and hopefully marriage) someday, not this crumbling marriage that has just turned into a facade where we don't even care to be in the same room with one another. I want to have a partner who WANTS to be with me, and I with him, who loves to do the same sorts of things I do, and who appreciates me. Cuz I'm awesome. hahaha

I've reached out to tons of people for support and things are going pretty smoothly right now.  I'm currently house hunting as I will need to downsize. And I plan to stay in the area we've been in in New Hampshire. I realized I like it here. It feels like home now and I'm starting to integrate into the community a bit finally. Also, people are starting to know Jack. That is going to be REALLY important for him as he grows and starts school so he has a support system. Plus my sister (who is my best friend) is just one town over so that's pretty great. 

Last time I posted we were still living in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a little over a year out there, Jack and I had to come back for some medical appointments for him (all his specialists are still at Boston Children's Hospital) and he ended up needing some surgeries and procedures that stretched out our timeline. In the end, Jack and I never went back to CA and Hubs split his time between coasts. That obviously didn't help our marriage but it got to a point where I liked it better when he was gone than when he was here with us so that was pretty telling. I would say our marriage had been on life support for the last couple years and we were in couples therapy off and on, but I think we both agree that this relationship was completely dead by about 6 months ago. We officially called time of death last month and things have been okay. We're working well together (better than we were when we were still trying to make the marriage work, ironically), and we both agree that the most important thing is to put Jack first.

Hubs has moved out and into an apartment here on the east coast and I suspect he will continue to be in CA a lot of the time too.  I will basically have full custody, mostly due to Hubs' work travel, and as Jack gets older and out of his mommy-obsessed phase (please let that be soon!!), our plan is to do every other weekend so I can attempt to be an adult out in the world again at some point. I will have him all week long and Hubs would still like to come over at least once a week for dinner and bedtime together.

So... it's been a lot. It's been a tough couple of years and things will continue to be challenging for me but I think this is for the best.

So there's THAT major shitshow in a nutshell!

Beyond that, there's Jack.  And he is AWESOME. He is so funny and adorable and sweet and caring and SMART.  Everyone who meets him falls in love with him instantly. It's honestly impossible not to.

He's in part-time daycare at an early childhood education center so it's really more like a preschool. He started last Fall and since then his speech just took off. He amazes me!  And the kid has a memory like an elephant. (Don't know where he gets that because I can't even remember what I ate for lunch today.)

Physically he's doing great. He runs, jumps, climbs everywhere. He can do everything his short-statured body will allow him to do. He's no longer in physical therapy and is just a regular kid, doing his thing.

Medically, he's needed some procedures over the last couple years: adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy, 3 ear tube surgeries (#4 scheduled for next month) due to chronic ear infections, 3 overnight sleep studies...  I think those are the major points.

Thanks to the surgeries his sleep apnea is WAY better now  (he went from stopping breathing 44 times per HOUR on average (!!!) to just 8 times per hour), and many nights now he sleeps at least decently, some nights even well.  Sleep has been the hardest thing over the years because the apnea episodes would wake him up between 4-8 times per night, he'd usually start coughing and then either couldn't get back to sleep without me rocking him, or he would actually end up throwing up from all the coughing and then we were up for at least an hour in the middle of the night cleaning up, changing sheets and getting him to calm down. It's been exhausting. I am permanently sleep deprived and can't remember the last time I slept for more than 3 hours in a row without being awoken but there's really no way around it and I just have to hope and pray that it will get better someday.

We also discovered Jack has asthma so he's on an inhaler twice a day and has a rescue inhaler as well. We did have one instance about 6 months ago when we had to use the rescue inhaler in the middle of the night and learned the hard way that he was allergic to the Rx!  It was a very scary night calling 911 and waiting for what seemed like forever for the ambulance to come while he couldn't breathe... ugh. I hope to God that will never happen again.
As for the asthma, thankfully he has now grown out of the nightly nebulizer treatments as that was a giant pain in the ass and a fight every single night, but it does cause things to be REALLY hard every single time he gets a cold. When he's sick he has a very hard time breathing and so he can't sleep. Therefore I don't get to sleep because I'm up with him and then I end up getting sick too. It's a vicious cycle. (THAT is actually one part I'm apprehensive about with being a single mom - it is truly almost impossible to take care of him myself when he is sick. Or rather, I can take care of him 24/7 but then I'm unable to take care of mySELF. I will miss having Hubs there to help care for me and make sure I'm eating and drinking and able to nap when I can during those times.  That will be really hard.)

Medically beyond that, during a previous MRI the neurologist found that Jack had enlarged ventricles in his brain and they were causing issues with pressure on his optic nerves. So we became intimately familiar with the Ophthalmologist. We had to go every month for 6 months, then every 2 months, every 3, every 6, and FINALLY, MERCIFULLY we are now just at once a year. Whew, that was a tough one.  The problem is, apparently if they found anything changing with the optic nerves we would need immediate surgery because it can cause irreparable blindness. Luckily, there were no bad side effects, and as the pressure of his enlarged ventricles started to decrease a bit as he got older and his head grew to make more room for them, the worry decreased. A subsequent MRI showed that some of the swelling in his brain has gone down so we are now in good shape.

Finally, the other thing we deal with that I didn't expect is frequent hearing tests.  Due to all his chronic ear infections and middle ear fluid, he has hearing loss.  It fluctuates between mild and severe hearing loss but over the past 9 months we've now seemed to settle on mild loss in one ear and moderate in the other. Things are manageable right now and he doesn't need any hearing aids.

Phew. That was a lot to dump out here.  I'm sure there is a TON of stuff I am forgetting in all of this time but those are the major points.

Jack continues to just be the light of my life and is so much fun. (And SO challenging - three year olds are not easy!)  I have lots of changes in the works and more coming but I'm feeling good about things overall.

Now for the whole reason you're here: Picture overload time!!!

Kid loves to pinch his nipples.

Fireman Jack for Halloween

Waiting for Santa

It's fun to stay at the Y M C A

He's on the phone with Peppa Pig doing "very important work".

Loves dolls as long as they are naked.

Getting to be such a big boy.

Ok, I need to stop now. I could go on forever. He is just such an adorable little lovebug.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Jack is two

Well, 2 plus almost 2 months now :-)  I'm a little slow.

He is awesome.  He's on the go all the time now, can't just walk but has to run everywhere all the time.  Kisses all his stuffed animals first thing every morning and "feeds" his farm animals (LittlePeople) before we can go downstairs and have breakfast. He loves to give kisses and hugs, waves and smiles at everyone he sees and is generally just the sweetest cutest kid ever.  He's been getting his fair share of stares lately when we're out in public - I think it must be that he's now grown enough that people can tell he's not a baby but can't quite figure out what's "wrong". I dread when he's a little older and starts noticing the stares.  For the most part though, people just generally comment on what a cutie he is and I have to agree!

We had him evaluated for speech therapy a few months ago and got some good tips on how to work with him at home. He is now up to 30 words which is a huge improvement and he seems to gain a word-a-day lately! He also now refuses to call us Mama and Dada any longer, it's only Mommy and Daddy and he will correct us when we forget.

This kid is a little spitfire. He has a great sense of humor and I can't get enough of him.  (Except for when I can, but then I drop him off at PT daycare :-)  )


25 lbs, 28.5 inches
Wearing size 12-18 mo tops and 12 mo bottoms
Has all his teeth except the dreaded "2-year molars"
Favorite show is Little Baby Bum videos on YouTube
Favorite foods are blueberries, yogurt smoothies, and anything anyone else is eating
Loves trucks, vehicles, trains, balls, Elmo, swinging, playing in the sand
Breathing better since he had his adenoids removed

Finally discovered his pockets.

Cool dude.

The kid loves to swing!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's Mothers Day.

This is my 3rd Mothers Day as a mama with a child here in my arms. And I still feel emotional and disjointed and just... yucky about this day. I am so grateful for Jack. SO grateful I don't even know how to express it and when I think about it too much I tear up. And I miss Petey. And when I think about it too much I tear up. (And now I am fighting back tears at a sidewalk cafe with happy people walking by. Dammit.) I hate that I still feel so effected by this day. I try not to make it a loaded day but it still is. I fight the depressive feelings. I fight the memories and the what-ifs. I fight the feeling that I'm somehow a fraud as I hold my one child in my arms on this day and have no way to hold my other child. (And now I'm not even fighting back the tears; crying in public - not a first for me unfortunately.) I don't know what to do with myself on this day besides just wishing for I t to pass. Hubs got up with Jack this morning and let me sleep in. Then I took a loooong shower and it was glorious. That's exactly what I said I wanted for Mothers Day. And that's what I got. But what I truly want is to somehow change the past. I want to have both my babies in my arms. I want to not have gone through what we went through. I want to not have a day that reminds me every second of what I am missing. I want to really truly feel at peace. Hubs can't give me that. And he doesn't even know I feel like this. We rarely talk about Petey anymore. I haven't said his name out loud since August when I told it to my friend for the first time on the anniversary of his due date and I can't even remember the last time Hubs and I said it to each other. I don't know where he stands on grieving our first child. There's so much to do and think about and focus on now with our living child. And I wouldn't change that for the world. I just wish I could change the past. To clarify: not the decision to terminate, as I still know that was the right decision for us, just to change what happened, period. But I can't and I never will and I have to find a way to live with that. Most days I do okay. Today is not one of those days. Today the tears are slowly rolling down my cheeks as all the sweet happy families pass me by. And that's my reality right now. That's how Mothers Day effects me. Maybe before next Mothers Day I'll find a way to figure out how to not let the past take over my present.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hand Foot Mouth Disease in Adults (Day-to-day)

So here's something fun: I caught hand/foot/mouth disease from my kid. Uggggghhhhh. I didn't know much about it before but have since learned it is a BITCH.  And it's super contagious. And of course he caught it after only being at a new daycare for TWO DAYS.
There's tons of internet info on HFMD in kids but not as much in adults because they don't always get it. (Lucky me!) So I've decided to keep a daily log of every strange gross detail in case others go searching like I did.

Before I knew I was sick
I was taking care of Jack 24/7 while he was sick with HFM because Hubs was traveling for work. Sleeping was terrible for many days because he was waking up SO OFTEN and I was spending a lot of time "sleeping" in a chair because he couldn't sleep unless I was holding him.  Therefore, I was exhausted, getting very little sleep, and I started feeling like I was getting a cold.  Not surprising. I started taking DayQuil around the clock and just continued feeling under the weather the whole time I was nursing little man back to health.  After about a week he got better, his blisters scabbed over and he was mostly back to normal. Hooray! And then the fun started...

Day 1 (Thursday)
I woke up with an extremely sore throat and was really run down all day. Low energy, no appetite, body aches, headache, chills. I assumed the HFM had finally gotten the best of me but as the day wore on and my body ached more and more (even becoming sensitive to the touch) I started to wonder if maybe I actually had the flu. Went to bed at 6pm and for the better part of the next two hours, laid in bed super uncomfortable and, though I'm not proud of it, was actually moaning and writhing in pain from the soreness at certain times. Extra Strength Tylenol did nothing.

Day 2 (Friday)
Awoke feeling like there were knives stabbing my throat. This continued throughout the day every time I tried to swallow or talk. Decided it was better to try not to do either. Body still sore and sensitive to touch but nothing like last night. Then discovered that there were white pus patches all over my throat and tonsils which is indicative of Strep. Great. Decided to head to the doctor since Strep is bacterial and would need antibiotics. They ran a Strep test - negative. They drew blood to test for Mono - negative. I asked again if it could be HFM and they said it was "unlikely as you don't see the white patches in the throat with this disease and you don't have any of the telltale blisters on your body". They sent me home with a shrug and a prescription for more rest and some viscous lidocaine which I was supposed to gargle with every 3 hours to numb the pain and be able to eat. I tried it. It was like trying to gargle with metal-flavored pudding. Impossible, disgusting, and I have no idea how I kept myself from puking. Later in the day I decided instead to squeeze some onto a Q-Tip and dab it on the worst parts of my throat. It dulled the pain for approximately 5 minutes. I gave up. Who needs to eat, right? Popsicles became my new best friend.
Another strange thing this day: my nose. I had like a little leak in the very tips of each nostril where I had never felt snot before, and it would solidify into a translucent but yellow colored crustiness. (Yes I picked it to examine it.)  And I kept blowing and cleaning the crusties out throughout the day (I can't call them boogers because they really weren't...hard to explain) but stopped when I realized I was fighting a losing battle and they just kept coming back. Very strange.
Lots more rest and to bed early again.  Alternating Advil and Tylenol still was not doing much.

Day 3 (Saturday)
Again with the stabby knives in my throat. Also, woke completely drenched in sweat. I mean drenched - like I went swimming in the night and then just climbed back into bed. Aaaand...hello blisters on my hands!  Ah ha - so it is HFM!  So glad I spent most of yesterday in the ER and paid $125 for them to tell me it wasn't HFM. :-/  I almost felt a sense of relief. Not that I wanted to catch it but I was glad to finally know what it was so I could know what to expect.  But then I did research on how HFM presents in adults and realized I probably would have preferred something unidentifiable.
Throat sores were so sensitive popsicles were now a lovely distant memory (too much acidity) and ice water and ice cubes were the only possible replacement. Overall body soreness was much better but now I had itchy, pins-and-prickly-needles blisters coming out over all my fingers, hands, feet, scalp, and a couple on my face. The full quarantine began and I spent most of the day in bed alternately sleeping, watching Netflix, and trying not to swallow.

Day 4 (Sunday)
Throat ever-so-slightly less stabby upon waking. Still hard to swallow but no longer felt like I was eating shards of glass.
Could not use my hands at all due to painful blisters. This was extra fun because it was my son's 2nd birthday today and I was completely useless to help or play with him and had to just be the dirty diseased ragamuffin in the corner salivating over cake I can't eat, and then slinking back upstairs to my bed to hide once presents were opened. Starting to wonder if the Netflix show I'm binge-watching is actually my reality. Hmmm.
Towards end of day I was thinking that maybe I made it through the worst day (! Huzzah!) but then I discovered the rash had spread to both legs (thighs and knees mostly), elbows, ears, one side of my abdomen, back, butt...well, basically everywhere. FML. Bring on the Benedryl.

Day 5 (Monday   with pics!)
Feeling a little better overall. Sore throat still there but not awful every single moment of the day. Discovered I have already lost 8 lbs from my steady diet of ice cubes, ice cream, scrambled eggs and ramen. Quite itchy and Benedryl is doing nothing. Having a hard time walking because even though the blisters on my feet don't look like much they are super uncomfortable when I stand or even move a toe.  The ones between the toes are the worst. But hands are getting better (see pics) and I can now sort-of use them again. Thank God.
Took a shower today for the first time since oooh, Friday? Gross.  It was tough though. I needed to use cool water because even slightly warm water made the blisters hurt more.  And my head was one giant dreadlock so trying to comb that out with hands that barely work was fun. In the end I think I dried my skin out more. Super itchy now and day dreaming about a tub full of calamine lotion.
I feel like I HAVE to be getting better soon, no?  But I'm not seeing any evidence of blisters actually popping or oozing so now I'm getting suspicious. Thought they had to pop then crust over before you can start getting better. So I'm still in waiting mode, hoping every night that the next day will be better.

It's amazing that the blisters don't look like much in the pics but they hurt so much the last few days!

Day 6 (Tuesday)
I can sort of walk again! I can still feel the blisters on my feet and between toes and it's super annoying and itchy but at least they don't hurt as much. And the throat is a bit better. I even ate today! And my fingers are now becoming calloused, which is a good thing because I'm able to use them again.  All the itchy rashy parts on my legs, back, side, butt are just staying an itchy rash, not turning into blisters like on my hands and feet. But they are super itchy so we'll see what happens there. Another day of rest and my new Netflix world.

Day 7 (Wednesday)
I am officially on the mend. I even went out today to Target and the grocery store. Like a real person! My throat is like 80% back to normal so I am eating ALL the things. The callouses on my fingers make everything I touch feel like it has a layer of fuzz on it. I've still got some itchies in some places but for the most part, the places that were just rashy (like my thighs) are starting to clear up and the random single blisters around my body are hardening. Except my toes - those are still bothering me and wearing shoes today was not fabulous. I still have those weird calcifications (I refuse to call them boogers) in the tips of my nose and am resisting the urge to dig 'em out. They're just so weird!!  But other than that, I have my energy back and I expect to be back to normal soon! Hurrah!

That sucked.

In re-reading everything I wrote just now I noticed that I didn't mention anything about coughing. I had a dry, un-productive cough off and on the whole time I was sick. Sometimes it was just a tickle that I couldn't seem to get rid of and at other times it was kind of a deep chest cough.  Strange. That seems to be going away now too.

If anything else crazy happens I'll update this post again. But for now, I am just keeping my calloused fingers crossed that I don't lose any finger- or toenails over the next month+!


UPDATE (May 22): So more than a month later I'm now starting to lose my first fingernail. Yee-fucking-haw. And the scabs(?)/marks(?) on Jack from his blisters still have not fully disappeared. This is like the sickness that never ends.  I also failed to mention that my fingers peeled like crazy in the weeks after and then my feet too - in every place there was a blister.  So, like, 100 places. My feet are still peeling a little. Two layers of skin every time.  SO weird. I just hope to God I never get this again. Ugh.