Super Bowl life lesson

I sat in a ball on my living rom floor with my eyes covered. Tom Brady had one more chance to beat my beloved Eagles…and he was going to throw a Hail Mary. My thoughts? Of course he will complete the pass…he’s Tom Brady!

Well, we all know how it ended…I could go on and on about my Eagles…but there is something else is aggravating me and I need to vent about it. I know…shocking…there is something I want to vent about ūüėČ

Let me start with this: Tom Brady is one of the greatest athletes of all time. Not just a great football player…not just a great quarterback…he’s one of the greatest ATHLETES ever. He treats every practice and every game just as intense as the Super Bowl.

But…

My kids were about to get a pretty important life lesson served up close and personal on the big screen.

My eyes were filled with happy tears so I didn’t notice it…but my oldest kids did…and it’s all they could talk about.

“Look, he’s running off the field. Why isn’t he going to shake the Eagles’ hands?”

“That’s not nice. He’s a sore loser.”

Rather than shaking hands…giving a high-five or heck, even a dirty look…Tom Brady ran off the field and into the locker room.¬† I was reading articles that defended him and said, “it’s okay because he is a fierce competitor!”

Losing stinks. I could use a million other words to REALLY describe it…but we’ll just go with “stinks” for now.¬† I get where Brady is coming from…ok not really because I have never played in a game even remotely close to the magnitude of the Super Bowl ūüėČ But I can’t imagine it would be any fun standing on a field with hundreds of thousands of pieces of confetti falling down while you hear fans singing “FLY EAGLES FLY!” I would want get out of there ASAP too.

Losing isn’t fun but it shows our character.¬† Failure shows others who we really are.¬† Sure, we’re all about the high-fives, hugs, fist bumps and smiles when things are going our way. It’s like thanking God in the good times but wanting to blame Him in the bad times.¬† We can’t roll like that.

I have to admit…I laughed when I was listening to Nico be critical of Tom Brady. This is the same kid who quit playing kickball mid-game because he got called out instead of safe.

So I took a break from celebrating my Eagles to reiterate this to my children: it just wasn’t his day.¬† It’s not going to be your “day” every single time.¬† You may not win every game. You may not ace every single test.¬† But you will get up the next day and try even harder until you win…until you ace the test. If you never fail, you’ll never really know how great it feels to succeed.

Nobody said it better than Winston Churchill:¬†“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

 

 

 

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No words…

I’m still up in the middle of the night feeding the baby…that’s normally the time I get caught up on news headlines. I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw a man complaining. I’ll leave out his Twitter handle but he said:

“That Judge in the Nassar case needs fired! Did u hear how she talked to him?!”

Blood. Boiling.

{Larry Nassar is the doctor who molested hundreds of girls over the years. Hundreds. He wrote a letter to the court saying all of this testimony against him was damaging to his mental health, blah blah blah. The Judge called him out on it. Let him know there will be no pity party.}

Another tweet read:

“Ok he did it. Let him leave with a lil dignity.”

Dignity??!

I. Can’t. Even.

Young athletes went to this “world-renowned” doctor to get treated for sprained ankles, pulled hamstrings and sore backs…and he would put his hands inside of them. Sorry if it’s TMI…but it needs to be out there…that’s what this sick man was doing FOR YEARS. Sexually assaulting young girls was part of “normal treatment.”

These athletes reported his behavior to their coaches and nobody believed them. Instead of grabbing the pitchforks and torches to beat his door down…the coaches instead interrogated the athletes. Told them all they “misunderstood” their treatment.

I just can’t. There aren’t even words.

Let’s stop looking over our shoulder for the creepy van with the curtain on the window in the back.

There are people around us…people we trust…who could be grooming our children to be their next victim. They could be telling our children things like, “this is routine…this is normal…there is nothing wrong…trust me.”

When our children talk…be sure to listen…ask questions…

Let them know…WE BELIEVE YOU.

That sick monster COULD HAVE and SHOULD HAVE been stopped decades ago. But hundreds of young women were called liars instead.

 

 

 

 

 

#KIDSTOO

There are numbers that keep me up at night. The mortgage payment…the cars…future cost of college tuition…co-pays…hospital bills…oh the list could go on and on.

But there are other numbers that stay in my head morning, noon and night. They’re disturbing…disgusting…sad.¬† And what’s bothersome is this: people don’t want to talk about it. It’s uncomfortable for them…there’s the “not in my house” mentality.

Here’s the truth: we need to talk about it. Because if we don’t, the problem will only get worse.

BEFORE THE AGE OF 18 —

ONE IN FOUR GIRLS WILL BE THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE.

ONE IN FIVE BOYS WILL BE THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE.

Let me type that out again…

BEFORE THE AGE OF 18 —¬†

ONE IN FOUR GIRLS WILL BE THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE.

ONE IN FIVE BOYS WILL BE THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE.

This isn’t happening on the other side of town…

This isn’t happening in another neighborhood…

This isn’t happening in another school…

This isn’t happening “anywhere” except Iowa…

THIS IS HAPPENING.

It’s in our neighborhoods…in our schools…in our cities…it’s happening.

The recent #METOO movement finally gave women their voices back. Women were finally feeling empowered to speak up against the sexual harassment and abuse they have endure for years.  Women sat in silence out of fear of the repercussions.

Let me be blunt: there are SO MANY children in our community who are SUFFERING in silence.  They are being abused.

Our children need to be heard.

Our children need to be protected.

Our children need to know what is ACCEPTABLE and what is NOT ACCEPTABLE…

And our children need to know THEIR VOICE will always be their strongest weapon.

Why do we wait until something bad happens to a child to react? We, as adults, have the power to PREVENT a child from suffering.

Look, I get it. I had the “white picket fence” mentality. Abuse doesn’t happen in my home…my children are loved…they are happy…so I don’t need some to worry about it.¬† Well look at it this way…my kids always have presents under the Christmas tree.¬† But I still buy presents for kids who don’t have any gifts. Make sense yet?? We live in a wonderful community where people make sure there is never a child who goes without at the holidays.¬† So WHY ARE WE NOT MAKING SURE CHILDREN HAVE HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SAFE CHILDHOODS EVERY DAY??! Pardon the all CAPS and in bold but seriously…take a minute and let that marinate.

So when people stop and ask, “Now that you’re out of TV…what do you do? What is Family & Children’s Council all about?”¬† Every day is about protecting children…making sure they have happy, healthy and safe childhoods. Making sure their family is STRONG.

There is nothing more important than that.

ONE IN FOUR GIRLS.

ONE IN FIVE BOYS. 

Let’s start talking. Let’s start preventing. Let’s start investing.

#KIDSTOO

 

 

 

Rattle some cages

Wake up and rattle some cages.

I shared that recently during a FB live and I was hit with some questions via email and social media. “What do you mean? That’s a little aggressive…you’re going to upset people. That’s not very feminine of you.”

Sigh.

I have always said I feel like society gives women the standard four-sided box and says: “here…go ahead and fit in this just like the others…don’t do anything outside of this box.”

If we dare to push the edges on that “box” than we’re immediately labeled. We’re TOO aggressive, TOO pushy, TOO demanding, TOO emotional, TOO loving, TOO passionate, TOO dominating, TOO overbearing…oh the list could go on and on.¬† But we’re labeled.

I’ve always been labeled “TOO” something.¬† Normally I was labeled “TOO opinionated.” I’ve never wanted to be the type of woman who sits in a meeting and goes with the flow. I didn’t want to be the kind who nods, smiles and doesn’t want to make any waves.¬† I want to question the who, what, why, where, when.¬† I don’t want to talk about a problem over and over…I want to find a solution.¬† I won’t cry when there is doubt surrounding me…I put my nose to the grindstone to work my tail off to prove people wrong.¬† I want to lay my head down at night and say “I did everything I could to make a difference today.”

I know I am supposed to fit into the “keep your hair and makeup flawless, show some finesse, don’t ruffle any feathers because it is un-ladylike and nod and smile” box…but hey, that’s not me.

Will everyone like you? Nope. Not everyone likes me…that’s for sure.

But I guarantee is has nothing to do with you. YOU hold the reins…not them. And THAT is what will make them uncomfortable. Don’t follow their script. You make sure to write your own.

It’s not about being popular.¬† It’s about making sure your voice is ALWAYS heard. Our children need our voices…our communities need our voices.

So throw on some red lipstick…or not.¬† Curl your hair…or throw it in a ponytail.¬† Rock your best suit…or sweats. It doesn’t matter. Don’t fit in that box you are given. Put your foot down. Raise your voice.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. Even if it shakes.

 

I took it all for granted.

Something exciting happened this morning: I GOT TO TAKE A SHOWER!

After four weeks of taking sponge baths and washing my hair in the kitchen sink…this felt BIGGER than going on an exotic vacation. And I am not exaggerating.

Wound vac is still on (cue eye-roll)…but I was allowed to unhook it for a couple of hours…shower and then head back to the Wound clinic to get it put back on.

I truly believe in everything happens for a reason.¬† Most of the times…it’s not rainbows and sunshine when it’s “for a reason.”

I took all of the little things for granted. There…I said it. I’m admitting it.

Showers…getting down on the floor to play a board game or Legos…going for a run…getting dressed “normally”…lifting weights…just being able to walk without a 2-pound contraption strapped to me…playing kickball in the backyard with the kids…teaching my daughter how to make a jump-shot…running upstairs without having to worry about tripping on a tube…being able to sleep without being attached to a cord so this vac can charge…taking a nice long bath.

Every little thing. I took it all for granted.

Now let me say this: I didn’t deserve to get as sick as I did. It ws supposed to be a routine delivery and recovery…just like my first three children. It could have been prevented (at least in my opinion). My kids didn’t deserve to lose out on precious time with their mom. But, it happened. There is no turning back from it.

The important thing is I learn from it…I grow from it…and I never go back to taking things for granted.

Sure, I still don’t feel 100%. I get tired pretty easily. This vac makes some loud noises from time-to-time at the most inopportune moments. I can’t take normal baths. I can’t shower. I can’t exercise. I can’t sleep without being plugged into the wall. It’s beyond inconvenient. (But it IS healing me!)

This is the thing: I have a warm home that has food…healthy children…a supportive husband…a lot of belly laughs…and ton of excitement for Santa…a job that has the ability to save and change lives.

So maybe I needed to be stripped of some things in order to get back to the basics. Get back to being GRATEFUL for simply having air in my lungs.

“And¬†once the storm is over you won’t remember¬†how¬†you¬†made it through, how¬†you¬†managed to survive.¬†You won’t¬†even be sure, in fact, whether the¬†storm¬†is really¬†over. But one thing is certain. When¬†you¬†come out of the¬†storm you won’t¬†be the same person who walked in.”

I definitely won’t be the same person.

I will be better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My story.

I had three, fairly easy deliveries.  So in my head, I thought baby #4 would be just as easy.

I was wrong.¬† As I have written before, the baby of the family wanted to make her entrance a little more memorable.¬† After hours of pushing, I met my precious Aria after a C-section.¬† Then came the infection that landed me back in the hospital when Aria was less than a week old.¬† After several rounds of antibiotics…I was back home with my family…and I was finally feeling like myself.

That was short-lived.

I had the chills a lot.¬† I thought it was because I was low on iron…or so that is what I had been told.¬† So every morning and night, I took a steaming-hot shower.¬† I needed to get those chills out of me.

At the 6-week mark, I still couldn’t bend over.¬† When I tried…I would nearly cry it hurt so badly.¬† I couldn’t understand it.¬† Everyone I talked to…everything I read…all said by 6-weeks out, they felt “normal again.”

Then came the stabbing sensations. Pain so intense, it would literally drop me to my knees.¬† It happened at a store when I was with all four of my kids by myself.¬† I crouched down and held on to the cart and loudly whispered to my oldest, “You’re going to have to call Daddy for me.” It would even hurt to have any clothes touch my stomach.

“What is happening?” I would ask that over and over.¬† “Nerves reattaching…normal recovery pain…your incision scar is sensitive.”

I knew whatever was happening…it wasn’t normal.¬† It wasn’t recovery. Something was not right.

Then came that Tuesday night. (This part is a tad gross…and TMI)

It was the week of Thanksgiving and my family was in town.¬† We decided to take all of the kiddos to the indoor trampoline park.¬† I was standing there with my sister-in-law when the pain became unbearable.¬† I could barely walk…I had shuffle my feet to get anywhere.¬† Then something was happening…my sweatpants were soaked. Soaked. From the waistband…all around my legs…down to the floor. Soaked.¬† I made my way into the restroom to try and figure out what was happening.¬† I stood in front of the mirror and lifted up my sweatshirt when I saw it…there was some kind of liquid gushing from me.¬† It looked like it was shooting straight out of my stomach but I couldn’t tell. There was so much and it was coming out so fast.

Next thing I know, I am in an ambulance on the way to the ER.

Abscess.

That’s what formed inside my body from the infection. And on that night…it basically exploded…and started leaking.

I was readmitted to the hospital…my incision was reopened…and the abscess was drained. (Most. Painful. Thing. Ever.)

I thought it was done. I thought I was healed. Nope.¬† Now I had to pack the wound. Basically, stick gauze inside the wound…so my body can heal from the inside out. Again, not a fun procedure. Once-a-day packing…that required me to take some pain meds before it was time to get started.¬† And my mother-in-law, who is a doctor, was the one packing my wound. Talk about a humbling experience.

The packing wasn’t going to work well enough.¬† “Let’s vac her.”

Let’s vac me??

At the wound clinic, I was told that I would need to wear a wound vac for about 8 weeks. Basically, a sponge is put inside the wound (near incision scar)…tubing is attached…that tubing sucks out all of the “bad stuff” inside of me and sends it into a canister that is tucked away in a black pseudo-purse.¬† I wear it like a cross-body purse on most days.¬† I haven’t found a sweater or jacket that can hide the four-feet of tubing I have folded up in the bag…so, I will just get used to all of the stares I get ūüėČ But I don’t care because this wound vac is a little bit of magic attached to me…it’s healing me!!

For now, I am loading up on protein because I’m told that will help rebuild my tissues and cells and help me recover more quickly.¬† I’m back at work because I missed it…and I need my “normal” back.

But I’m bitter. I’m angry. I’m sad.

I feel like Aria got cheated.¬† I wasn’t able to fully enjoy all of my moments with her because I was in so much pain. I spent most of my maternity leave in tears.

I feel like I broke Luciana’s heart.¬† She didn’t understand why I couldn’t pick her up for SO long.¬† She didn’t understand why I couldn’t get down on the floor and play with her.

Nico & Gia kept asking me, “Mom, are you ever going to be better? Why are you always crying?”

So this is my story. This is my now.

I never truly appreciated good health…until now.¬† I miss it. But I’ll be back…more attentive than ever.

Trust your body. Trust your instincts. If you don’t think it’s normal…than it’s probably not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forget the plan

Baby #4 was supposed to be the easy delivery.¬† I joked with everyone I knew that I would be able “to sneeze her out.” I know…TMI…sorry.¬† But my third baby weighted more than 10 pounds and was more than 22 inches long.¬† THAT was my difficult labor and delivery.¬† Or so I thought.

At my 38 week appointment, I didn’t feel right.¬† I joked with my midwife, “Just take me in now…I won’t tell!” I went back to my office where I had a meeting.¬† The others sitting around the table kept saying, “You don’t look like you feel too well…you okay?”

Fast-forward to a couple of hours later around 1:30pm, I was calling my husband from the L&D wing saying, “It’s time.”

I remember thinking, “wait…I was supposed to get induced next week! My family isn’t here…who is going to watch the three older kids? Is my bag even packed? OMG my desk is still cluttered at work…I didn’t finish that brochure yet…I haven’t tied up the loose ends yet.” A million and one thoughts went though my head.¬† While I was READY to have the baby because I was over pregnancy…everything else in my world was not ready.

My upbeat attitude lasted until about 9pm. That’s when I felt the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my entire life. I remember looking at my husband and saying, “What the —- is going on?”¬† That’s when he noticed it…my epidural fell out. Yep.¬† At the height of intense contractions, I somehow managed to knock that sucker loose.¬† I’m not surprised though…with all of the readjusting I try to do on my own in the hospital bed.

You know those scenes in the movies where the husband tries to soothe his wife who is in labor with sweet words and motivational “you can do it babe” lines? Yeah. That was my husband. Sweet guy.¬† But if you have ever felt a full-blown, crazy intense contraction…the last thing you want to hear is something sugary-sweet from someone who has NO idea what this pain feels like.¬† Let’s just say…I was a monster.

About an hour later, the new epidural was in and I was finally in an apologetic mood to my husband…and thought about calling our priest so I could schedule a confession session.

Around 12:30am, it was time to push. I was banking that by 1:00am…I would be holding our new daughter.

Nope.

I tried every single position.

Nothing worked.

Three hours of pushing.

She was not budging…she was stuck.

At 4:00am…it was time to call it. It was time for a c-section.

I remember my midwife, nurses and the doctor all apologizing to me…saying they were sorry that I had to have a c-section.¬† This is the thing…I never had a plan.¬† The only plan I had was “get my children out safely.”

I remember being exhausted…like just climbed a mountain exhausted…when they wheeled me into the OR. I remember it was bright white…and very cold.¬† I could barely keep my eyes open…I was absolutely spent.¬† Then I remember thinking, “am I going to be ok? I’ve never done this before. What if something goes wrong? My other kids don’t know I am having surgery.” I started to panic.¬† I remember closing my eyes and saying the “Hail Mary.”

Then I heard it.

I heard her cry.

Aria Isabella came into this world on her own terms…she wanted her birth day to be just as memorable as her big sister.

We all have a plan of how we want things to be…or how we want things to go.¬† We have expectations because that’s how it’s always been before.

We can have our schedules set…everything written down on the dry-erase calendar in the kitchen…but we can’t control life.

There is a much greater power who controls all of that.

Just embrace the ride…and have faith.

xx