Thursday, August 25, 2011

I made it...

So tomorrow marks the end of my first week back at work.  And yes, I made it.  I personally wasn't as concerned as I think everyone thought I would be.  I do miss her like crazy and it seems I can't fit in enough kisses in the morning before I leave, but she has come home in such a good mood every day I can't exactly complain.  I know she's getting taken care of and they're engaging her and stimulating her and she's around other kids and I think she's really enjoying herself.  I miss not being with her to know what she's doing, but her teacher gives me a report everyday about when she ate, how she did, and what they did all day and I'm exhausted just thinking about all of it! That's not to say this week has been without it's stress.  It's so hard having to adjust to being back in work mode and keep track of everything in both places.  When I'm at work, I'm thinking, planning, remembering, teaching, learning names, responding to emails, adding meetings to my already busy calendar, and in general learning how to use my brain again.  And then I get home and empty out my lunch stuff and we wash her bottles and then repack her bottles and food and then I pack my lunch and make the coffee and feed her and then feed us and then she's in bed and we are ready to collapse. 

On the plus side we interviewed a new pediatrician that we are very happy with and who has more experience with Down Syndrome so I at least feel more at ease that someone else can be the expert on her health.  She has so few issues to even worry about, but I always felt like I had to be on top of all the right questions to ask and now that I'm back at work, I just don't trust myself to be as on top of EVERYTHING as I was before.  Besides being an incredibly busy, hectic week, I feel ok about being back at work and knowing that Tera is in such a great place during the day.  But I am definitely looking forward to the weekend.

Tomorrow also marks 6 months since we got one of the best gifts we could have ever asked for.  She's changed our lives in ways I never imagined and every day that I get to see her and spend time with her makes my life better.  Our time as a family is one of the best things in my life and I cherish every minute of it.  She's made my husband and I closer than I thought we ever could be and made me appreciate so many little things.  She's the first person in my life that has actually succeeded in making me slow down and just enjoy life and for that I will be forever grateful.  I love you my sweet girl.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So many emotions, so little time

So the time has come and I finally have to go back to work.  When my husband and I decided to try and get pregnant, we figured that the most convenient time would be around March so I could take the rest of the school year off and then have the summer off and low and behold, it somehow worked out exactly like that.  Tera was born February 26 and I've had 6 glorious months off with my little girl.  For the most part, I do love my job.  I wasn't thinking that last winter when I was pregnant and trekking all over the building with a crappy schedule and mostly freshmen (which are not my favorite), but now that I've been away, I can delude myself into remembering the good parts.  I'm just not sure how that all works with Tera in the picture now...

The one thing I can honestly say I didn't expect as a mother, was the constant and oftentimes overwhelming emotions.  I'm sure part of it is dealing with the Down Syndrome and all the emotions that go along with that (not to downplay the emotions of other moms), but a lot of it is just being a mom.  I can look at her and have a million thoughts and feelings go through me and there are times when I'm just not sure how to deal with that.  I've had more than one person recently tell me that I'm very laidback for a first time mom and I have to say, I'm a bit surprised that I have been because that's not really my personality.  But I've come to discover that I can't be all crazy psycho about everything about her because there's just too much to be crazy psycho about! With three therapists, a cardiologist, a pediatrician, and now we're adding an ENT to the mix, if I freak out about every little thing, I literally won't make it. 

So now that I'm going back to work I'm somewhat relieved that something else will be there to take my mind off of thinking about her current situation and all future situations, but I also know that relief will be short lived and sooner rather than later the reality of missing out on some of my favorite times of the day with Tera will hit home. 

Today I was able to visit her daycare and talk with her teacher and I feel so good about where she's going to be that it does make the whole situation so much better.  I'm looking forward to her being around other kids and learning from them and with them and having someone other than me to stimulate her (I should add in addition to me, I do love playing with her).  So next week my little girl goes off to school and I will go to work and be grateful that she is not old enough to do what I did to my mom when she brought me to daycare.  And that is, cling to the fence and scream, "Don't leave me!" as she drove away...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What CAN I handle?

About a week ago, someone on the BabyCenter forum posted about a very common comment made in reference to a DS diagnosis.  "God only gives you what you can handle."  Her post was about how many times parents of kids with DS hear this and she was asking what other parents thought of the comment.  I am not a person who is easily offended.  While certain words, phrases, or comments may bother me, I generally tend to assume (correctly or not) that the person saying them doesn't mean them in a harmful way to me or someone else, it's just something to say.  However, this particular phrase, while still not offensive to me, does somewhat bother me even more than others.  I have definitely been in my fair share of situations when you really just don't know what to say, but I really have tried hard not to fall back on a cliche that really does nothing to comfort the person I'm talking to.  This particular saying, I suppose, is not only meant to make the person feel better about the situation, but about themselves as well.  As in, "I must somehow be viewed by other people as uniquely qualified for this situation."  Well, guess what, I'm not necessarily.  When we found out about Tera's diagnosis, we heard this a lot (and if you happen to be reading this and remember saying this to one of us, don't fear, we are in no way offended or angry, we understand the sentiment).  However, I believe that it's just us doing what we have to do to take care of her.  My husband and I made a committment to each other and especially to Tera that we would just do whatever she needed, no matter what.  Now, I do not believe this is what any parent would do because there are a lot of really crappy parents out there that don't do what they're supposed to do.  But I also don't believe that I am in some way deserving of this situation because I'm some sort of saint (not even close)! I truly do understand why people say it, but in all honesty, it doesn't make me feel better and it's not comforting in those moments when I wonder, "why our little girl?" I don't know that those words will come back to me when I'm wondering how I'm going to handle her therapies and appointments and just getting to spend quality time with her when both my husband and I are working.  And I doubt those words will cross my mind when people start to notice her (for reasons other than her being insanely adorable) when we're out. 

I think the other reason it may bother me is that it assumes that your beliefs are the same as mine.  I have always considered myself a fairly spiritual person, but I stopped following and believing in organized religion a while ago.  In my adult life I've come to believe more in karma than anything else.  There have been periods of time, many of them, when I've wondered how so many things could be going wrong at once (in fact I'm currently experiencing it).  But then inevitably something very lucky and good happens out of the blue and while it doesn't make everything all better, it makes me remember there is usually a balance to life and sometimes you just have to wait for it to happen. 

So I'm not "special".  I must have missed the class in college that covers how to handle having a child that you weren't necessarily expecting.  I'm not unusually calm; making me better than someone else in handling all the chaos that goes along with this (in fact, I'm the EXACT opposite, so this should be interesting).  But I'm not cursed.  I'm not a bad person that deserved something like this, in fact, every single time I look at Tera, I think to myself, "How did we get so lucky to get this amazing, beautiful, happy, charming, sweet little girl?" It happened by chance and because of the luck of the draw of mother nature.  I believe in statistics and science wholeheartedly.  We will handle this not because we're special, but because that sweet little stinker deserves every chance we can give her.