Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Movie Nite!!!

Oh, what do you do
 in the Summer Time???
Summer has snuck
 up on us...
I am starting to get around pretty well,
and even have been able to clean and do laundry. 
That means we tidied up this place a little
and invited some friends over for ...
Guy set up a projector in the back yard, a sheet for the screen
 and went a little crazy with the movie candy. 
 I popped way too much popcorn, and we introduced the kids to a classic;
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
We invited 5 families, but only one family was able to come. 
Bummer for them!!!
We had a ball.  The movie started after dark, and the kiddos just loved it. 
 I could still remember the words to the old songs, and it made me miss my mom,
who I knew would have been singing along, too.

It feels so good to be getting back to normal, especially to have friends over. 
Can't wait to do it again!
It's SUMMER!!!! YAY!!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Post-partum posting

Robin Leach Photography
Note to the Reader: I invite you not to read this post.  This is one of those posts that I have to write to purge it from my head.  It has nothing to do with the reader and everything to do with the writer.  Besides, it's really long. 
Danielle came over to visit. 
 She's had two cesareans.  She gets it.

We talked about how hard it was to walk after surgery, air bubbles in our shoulders, and baby blues. 
It always feels good when you hear your own deepest thoughts coming out of someone else's mouth.
I have been a doula for 13 years.  Helping women to have a good birth experience is so important to me, and I have dedicated hundreds of hours, maybe thousands, to that end.  But most of my time has been spent in helping women who already had traumatic or disappointing births to feel normal again.  As doulas our mantra is "Protect her memory"; do all that can be done to make those memories sweet, and empowering.  You never forget your birth, good or bad.
That is, you never forget if you are conscious. 
I feel like there is a little gallery in my head
 with a pedestal for the memory of each of my births. 
 One remains empty.
So it has been a bitter-sweet thing to welcome Natalie into our family the way she came.  After all of the miraculous turn-arounds in our situation with the blood clots, Rh problems, and diabetes, it felt like God was just carrying this whole thing in the palm of His hand, like there was no detail He was not considering, no feeling He was not aware of.  Even in the last few days before her birth my blood pressure had shot up, and upon entering the hospital we watched as it dropped quickly down to a normal range.  We were blessed in ways we had asked for, and in many other ways we had not even thought of requesting.  So when it came to the birth, I was sure that we would have the beautiful birth we hoped for, despite the trials that had preceded it.  Birth was something I had no fear about.  I was planning to just walk in there and do what I do best.
Why would it be any other way?
So, having Natalie turn to a poor birth position, having her cord present first, having my water break early, and having been late with my blood thinner (putting me at risk of paralysis if I were to have had an epidural for the cesarean), all have seemed as though heaven suddenly shut its fountains for us.  God, it would seem, had disregarded something that mattered more to me than it would for most other woman.  We were kept safe, but in the end something intangible and yet very important to me was lost.
I don't have an explanation for why things went the way they did.  I don't know why God answers some prayers and not others.  Or maybe He answers them all in His way, and it's up to us to learn to understand those answers.
So for now, this is how I talk myself through it:
This is a baby I never planned on having...
So I need to accept God's plan; what ever that is.
There are so many moments, hours and days I will get to have with her, and though we tend to place a high value on that first hour, I might have to find my sweetest moments in her hundred-and-first hour, or day, or some other moment instead.  I have a friend who adopted her baby, and wasn't there for that first hour either.  And, as my sister reminded me, "You may not remember her birth,
 but if it's any consolation, neither will she."
We put that same weight on many first's and last's... first baby, last baby...  But why does the order of the events in our lives have such significance?  What if we ordered those events differently?  Would it change how we felt if one came at a different time in the sequence of our lives?  So, though it has been pointed out many times to me that it is sad that my last birth had to be so scary, or what a shame that after 4 beautiful homebirths, I had to have another cesarean, if I relinquish the significance of the order of events of my life, I can objectively view each birth and related experiences singularly, in isolation.  When I do that, I can see that my experiences are each uniquely important to me,
and their order does not diminish that.
Though I emphasize to women that I work with that their experience is a separate thing from their feelings about their healthy baby, I can recognize the balm that Natalie's presence has brought.  I cannot think of my friend Ruth and the loss of little Rhys and not be grateful that I was spared walking that path.
Recently an online friend suffered the tragic loss of her son in a sudden accident.  I think of her everyday.  I know that she would give anything to have had a moment to warn her son, a head's up, a chance to extend her hand and to protect him from the accident.  There is no way of knowing if the only safe way Natalie could have come to us was the way she came, but I was given the opportunity to keep her safe.  I wish my friend could have been given that.
Our lives were preserved, more than once.  Though it is not obvious to me that the cesarean was undeniably one of those times, I cannot assume it wasn't, either.
If I believe, as I do, that God has held each event in our journey in his hand, then I must accept that though the path was certainly different
 from what I would have chosen,
 it leads me to God's will for me.
God creates us, one day, one event, one blessing and challenge at a time.  If I trust him, if I believe He knows what is best for me, if I accept that He will make more out of my life than I ever could, I must not just accept, but embrace this event as one that will make me
the woman who God wants me to be someday.

Raindrops on Roses....

The glorious unification of dubious DNA,
 captured by talented friend and photographer Robin Leach
 (check out her blog and hire her here!)
 Oh! I forgot how fun this is!!! 
There is so much about having a newborn that is so fleeting.  I wish I could bottle it.  And, though a 7+ pounder is a respectable arm-load, you may recall that my last babe in arms was toddler-sized at birth.  Being a seasoned (read here "Old") mama, I know enough to not be frantic when we have a fussy day and to be able to sit back and see the humor in being soaked in vomit or staying up half the night with a fuss-bucket.

So, as we are well overdue for a list (knowing as you do, my propensity for list making), here goes:

1.  Tai chi moves, jazz hands and flared toes

2.  A booty so tiny you can change the diaper on your lap.

3.  Projectile poop (rather a bummer when combined with #2)

4.  Crossed eyes and Oooooooo lips

5.  Shadow boxing

6.  Saggy-Baggy Elephant skin.

7.  Fuzzy shoulders and itty bitty buns.

8.  Looking down to find her staring into my eyes (like right now).

9.  Staring back endlessly, like when you first fell in love.

10.  Poo that smells like buttered popcorn.

11.  Two AM, and not having to wait till morning to see her again.

12.  4AM... 6AM...

13.  Counting life in days and ounces.

14.  Slings, and having a buffer between unwashed hands and her delicate immune system.

15.  Bright, warm smiles from women in their 50's

16.  .Bath time in the sink.

17.  Saying "thank you" when people say she's soooo cute,
as if we had any control over it.

18.  Clothes so small you could use them as mittens... or sock puppets.

19.  An excuse to not pay attention to anyone or anything else for 6 solid weeks.

20.   Figuring out who she looks like.

21.  Making milk, and not even knowing the recipe

22.  Having a whole person fit right under my chin.

23.  Seeing my sweetheart in love with someone else,
and being totally okay with it.

24.  Being grateful every minute from now till forever. 
(Okay, that one I get to enjoy a lot longer than 6 weeks.)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rock'n Rock (A Baby Photo Album)

Guy had perfect timing.  He hunted down a rocker-recliner on craigslist and picked it up yesterday, and none too soon. 

We had spent the evening movie-watching out in the yard with the kids, popcorn and all (dairy free for Tess and I).  Guy had set up a projector and a sheet, and we enjoyed the evening as it slowly cooled off.  Natalie slept contentedly in my arms through the whole movie.

When we later settled into bed and turned out the lights, Natalie began fussing.  Then she decided to see how far she could project her vomit in our bed.  It was awesome, epic even, and I was drenched.  Who could have imagined the capacity of that tiny tummy? 

I took her out to the new-to-us rocker, and we communed with the night.  Thank heavens for craigslist, old rockers and kind hubbies.  I sang a soft-rock selection from the late 70's, and sometime around 2am she collapsed into my neck and gave in to sleep. 

We did an encore performance at 7am, minus the vomit. 

Except that I was so very sleepy today at church, I honestly didn't mind our chair-dance in the wee hours.  I kind of can't get enough of her, and so hanging out with her in the middle of the night is nice, tears and all. 

Here are some of my favorite pix since Little Girl came to live with us...

Day 1

I love the story in this picture. 
A sweet nurse brought food for Guy. 
It was hard to get him to take care of himself while he took care of me.

Poor little heal, and that was just one.

Biggest brother, littlest sis.

Joyful faces, reflections of love.

Tired papa.


Her head is so tiny.
Ice packs...
 I didn't know air bubbles could enter a person's system during an operation and then float up between the organs into the shoulders.  Ice packs were the only relief for the stabbing pains.

The first of what will be many times
 that Ethan sneaks off with her to nap.

Home from camp, Adam finally meets Natalie.

Date night in our room.  Bishop and Kathy
 brought dinner to share, and we ate around the bed

My darling girl.

My technicolor IV site... third blown vein.

A little Joey in my pouch.

So precious

"This little piggy stayed home..."

We started calling Natalie "glow worm" after the tests with Radio Active Isotopes.
Ruth made her a glow worm bunting.  It will be perfect at Halloween.

Cute papa.

Welcome Baby...
our family tradition of welcoming our babies in a flower bath. 
Every family member welcomes the baby with special words.
#29 for Grandpa James (#32 if you count great grand babies!)

Going in for the filter retrieval and 25 cms of stent placement.
Our dear Dr. F. who has done so much to keep baby and I safe. 
He will always have a very tender place in my heart.

Because of Dr. F., Natalie got to go to term 
and not be delivered at 32 weeks

After the procedure, patch on my neck, baby drinking pumped milk
 through an SNS device due to the drugs in my system.

Tiny angel.
Doin' what she does best (except at 2 am).


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Toddler-Vision and Woman-ing Up

This is what happens
when you leave a camera within a toddler's reach...


I particularly love the "Duhd- duys" (good guys).  There were about 5 pix of these guys. 
I wonder what he was thinking.
Folks have been asking how we are doing.  My rote answer is "the baby is great", partly because I imagine that if I say anything else, judgments would fall swift and hard.  The real answer is that I feel like Indiana Jones, machete in hand, whacking my way through the twisted vines of the jungle. 
 The darling that lays intermittently squalling in my left arm is sensitive to dairy, so I have axed that from my diet.  I may need to give the old heave-ho to gluten as well, time will tell.  She is also super sweet when she is not fussing and has gained a pound. 
I am slowly recovering.  I don't use the wheelchair anymore.   I shuffle. 
My innards feel like a lava lamp; blobs of me shifting around in there.
I am weak and unsteady on my feet.  I am rather trembly. 
No, that's not a real word, but it works.
The postpartum battle simmers on in the day, and boils over in quiet hours.  I'll never quite understand how, through the ages, the survival of the species was left to tearful, barely rational beings with sore bodies and milk supply issues. I have only NOT fought it with one out of my 6 babes.    I think if I had been able to speak freely about it 6 babies ago, I would have had a much easier time with it. 
For me, "it" is waking up each day feeling like someone died, only you don't know who.  It also includes frequent trips on one or more hamster wheels in my head; thoughts that run round and round, always drawing to the same irrational conclusions, accompanied by feelings of failure and guilt.  There is mental fog, like someone hit the mute button on my feelings.
My sweet husband takes this ride with me each time.  He has gotten skilled at knowing how to help me through the jungle.  We count the blessings over and over, and he helps me get off of the hamster wheels by seeing the flaws in my thinking.  Sometimes the only thing that helps is being held.
I imagine some folks will think this is something I should be able to control, especially after all of the blessings we have been given in the past several months.  It just doesn't work that way.  I wish it did.
A lot of people have said I have been brave through
the trials we have experienced. 
For me, that was the easier part.
 Now is the time when I really have to Woman Up.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Natalie's Birth Story (part 3)

Getting to know you, 15 hours old.
Little Natalie,
I went to sleep.
And while I was sleeping you were born.
I wish it could have been some other way.  There is a place in my heart that feels empty for not having heard your first cry, not knowing what happened in those first minutes, that first hour of your life.  Instead, I have a different kind of memory of meeting you for the first time.
I remember a woman's voice reaching through the fog. 
She said, "Has she seen her yet?"
and your daddy said, "No, she's still asleep."
It was then that I knew you were a girl.
The fog lifted a little and though I don't remember the first moment I saw you, soon you were in my arms.  I remember you looked so small.  I remember I wished I had known your name right away so that I could call you by it.  I put you to my breast and you nursed as though you had been doing it for weeks.  I was so glad you knew what to do.  I laid there in awe and you nursed away.
The time we had together was so short, though daddy tells me it was over a half-hour.  They came and took you away to the NICU, and Daddy went with you.
I was taken to a room, and there were blood tests and ice packs and pills. 
All I wanted was you. 
I pumped milk for you and was told that the 11 mls I made for you was pretty impressive for a first time.  Daddy took the milk to you and fed you through a tube attached to his finger.  He told me that you were under bili-lights and that it was hard to look at you because of the glare.  As the day wore on, daddy took you more of my milk, and I tried very hard to come and see you, but my nurse wouldn't let me go to you.  She was afraid I would faint, and made me get back in bed.  The doctor wanted to protect you from needing formula because the lights can be very dehydrating, and told us he wanted to give you an IV.  I didn't want you to have it, but I didn't want you to have to deal with formula either.  Some decisions seem so simple until you are the one who has to make them.
In a while we got a call from the doctor in the NICU.  He said that they had gotten your blood test results back and as a surprise to us all, your blood type was a match to mine.  You even had the most dangerous antigen, the one they were worried could be destroying your red blood cells, and by having it you were kept safe while inside of me.  He told us that they still needed to check a few more things in your blood, but that if all went well, you could probably leave the NICU and come and be with us.
It was yet another little miracle in this amazing journey. 
I was very motivated to come and see you, but my nurse still didn't want me to go.  She told me that I couldn't go without a nurse, and she was not willing to take me.  I was determined to see my baby!  I said, "I appreciate your concern, but I disagree, and I want to talk to a nurse manager."  She left to get one, and I turned to your dad and said, "I don't think they're going to let me go, it's up to you."  He went down to the NICU to talk to the doctor.
When daddy got there, he found that your IV had blown the vein, and they had been forced to remove it.  Knowing the results of your blood tests were good, they had taken you out of the bili-lights, and not started a new IV yet.  Daddy saw you and told that doctor that because you were not receiving any treatment anymore, he didn't see any reason for you to be kept from your mama.  He told the doctor, "She needs her mother and her mother needs her!" 
When Daddy came back from the NICU, he had you with him!  I was so grateful and so happy to finally see you.  While I don't remember much from the first moments I saw you in the recovery room, I remember so much about having you with me at last.  We stripped you down so that I could see every little bit of you.  Your downy hair stood off your head in every direction.  Your poor little hand was swollen all the way up past your elbow from when the IV blew, and your fingers were blanched white and couldn't even bend.
You stared into my eyes, and never fussed. 
You knew my voice and seemed to almost know my face.
I kissed you all over.  I rubbed arnica on your sore little hand. 
I nursed you and kissed you some more.
They told me they would be testing your bilirubin at 4AM, and that they may have to take you back to the NICU if you didn't do well.  I'd like to have seen them try to pry you from my arms!
You were finally with me, and my world had found a new axis.
The days that followed were, have been, very hard, but I remind myself each day of how grateful I am that you are here, safe and sound.  We stayed in the hospital for 3 days, and they let you come home on Sunday.  I think my favorite part of that day was sitting beside you in the car on our way home as you took everything in.  You didn't cry, you just reached your hands and feet out into space, with such dark, knowing eyes, like you were exploring the universe already.  I was so glad that you were finally ours, and that there would be no more interruptions, voices, machines, or scary tests with scary answers.  Just us, our family, and no one else.

So much more happened in those days, but since this is your birth story, you don't need to know about any of that.  You just need to know how loved and wanted you are, and have been, from the beginning.  I am so amazed that God decided to send you to us the way he did.  How could I begin to imagine our life without you in it?  We thought we were too old. 
We thought everyone in our family was already here. 
We were so wrong.
If you ever doubt for a moment in your life that you are special, that you are cherished and wanted and loved, I hope you will come back to this place and read about the journey we all took to bring you here.  I hope you will read of all the prayers and kindnesses of the hundreds of people
who petitioned the angels for you. 
It was like the earth cried out to heaven and said,
"Let her come, let her stay!"
 and heaven listened.
Welcome, my little one.
I'm so glad you came.
                                                                Love, Mom


Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 15th

Leg, picnic and milk.
It's June 15th.
For months I have been saying, "I will just be glad when we make it to June 15th."
because that will have meant that this was all behind us.
The clot
the birth
the procedures...
And today was that day.
Guy fixed us a lovely little picnic dinner.
He knew nothing about my June 15th thing,
 he was just being Guy.
We left the kids with the big boys
 (which means the girls watched non-stop My Little Pony
while the boys played X-Box).
We went to a nearby park.
We watched the sunset
and the ducks
and the people.
We ate yummy curry chicken salad with pecans and dried cranberries.
I gave Guy an early Father's Day gift; camp chairs. 
 Normal ol' camp chairs.
Dinner was mostly quiet. 
 I propped my leg on the baby's car seat
and we enjoyed the new chairs.
We went to the grocery store for a few things. 
I had used up all my umph at the park,
and so Guy pushed me through the store in the wheelchair with one hand,
 the other pushing the grocery cart.
Much as he has taken care of everything in our lives for months.
 We sat in the driveway after we got home
and talked until the ice cream was melted.
We talked about the last few months, and being past them to where we are now.  We talked about how it doesn't really feel like anything is "over", and how tired we are.  About how it doesn't feel like we will ever care about anything mundane and normal again, like making cupcakes for a party, or doing dishes, or, well,
We talked about how our family needed time for healing, and how and where our time would be best spent this summer.  We need to remember what normal feels like, to help the kids regain a sense of security, and to get the balance back in our marriage. 
It's June 15th.  We're here.
(Where  the heck is here?)
Love on a plate.
Watching the sunset with papa.
Dessert...yum.  Nibble nibble.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What is an answer to prayer?

My IVC Filter... bigger than I had imagined.
Before I finish telling about Natalie's birth, I should tell you about the procedure...
On Monday after getting my staples removed from my belly, we drove to South Sac for an ultrasound of my leg.  The sonographer was a quiet lady who didn't easily engage in conversation, so I didn't even try to get information out of her like I can with some of the techs who scan me. 
That afternoon Dr. F. texted and asked if I had been told the results.  "No, they're funny that way." I wrote back.  "Well I have a feeling a lot of people have been praying for you," he wrote back.  We spoke on the phone and he told me that the scan of my leg looked clear, and that the blood flow out of my leg appeared normal.  He said no clot could be seen in my pelvis and that though there was some residual clot in my groin, he didn't anticipate needing to place any stents at all, just remove my chest filter.  I was glad for the good news.
Wednesday we went in for the procedure at two.  Dr. F. was so kind, and happily let me have Natalie with me in pre-op to nurse before having to go in.  Guy kissed me good luck and took Natalie out to wait for the half hour procedure.  Once I had a chance to talk to Dr. F. I didn't feel too nervous anymore.  I chatted with the prep team as they worked and was happy to see Velma, the nurse I had for my last two procedures, was there as well.  Music from the 20's played, and my head and neck were draped, meds started, and finally, my neck was scrubbed.
"A little bee sting..." Dr. F. warned, and we began.  A needle in your neck feels much less like a bee sting and more what I imagine an Amazonian blow dart might feel like.  Dr. F. sent his tools into my neck, through my heart and down to where the filter lay waiting.   
At one point, my heart suddenly began to race out of my chest, and I could not breathe.  The pressure I felt in my chest, face and hands was so immense that I could barely utter a sound.  My voice grew instantly hoarse, and I could only force out a word at a time, "something... wrong... pressure...can't... breath... lights..."  My vision filled with bright little lights that swam in circles like tiny tadpoles.  Velma held my face in her cool hands and stroked my hair, talking to me and encouraging me to breathe.  The pressure built and I thought for a moment that I was going into anaphylactic shock, or that perhaps this was a heart attack.  In several minutes things began to settle down, I could breathe again, and eventually all but a deep pressure in my face and chest lifted.  "I think your heart responded to the tools touching it."  Dr. F. said, I haven't given you any contrast yet".  He seemed calm, but I can't imagine it hadn't frightened him.  By the speed that Velma stroked my hair, I could tell she had been rattled.
Guided by fluoroscopy, he located the tiny loop at the top of the filter and secured it.  An intense pulling sensation deep inside my chest finally gave way with a pop, to the sliding feeling of the catheter coming back through my chest and neck.  "Here's your filter," Dr. F. told me as he held out the small metal umbrella form on the end of the catheter.  It was actually bigger than I had imagined. 
 Dr. F. went back to work to scope out the leg vein from the same entry point in my jugular vein.  The tools were placed and dye was released, but soon Dr. F. said, "Laine, looks like I am going to have to go up through your leg."  For some reason, he was not being able to get the images he needed.  My neck was patched up and now laying almost on my belly, the team prepped the back of my knee.  A half and hour and a "bee sting" later, and tools were being inserted into my leg vein.  Contrast dye was injected and this time a clear picture told a totally different story than any of us had anticipated. 
The dye flowed up my thigh through the femoral vein, but suddenly took a detour, splitting off into about 5 collateral veins that crossed my pelvis and entered the femoral vein of my right leg.  The entire vein in my pelvis, running from my groin to the Inferior Vena Cava up near my chest was 100% blocked, and to save my leg, my body had created bypasses that made my right side do all of the work for my entire lower body.
"I'm afraid we're going to have to place stents after all."  Dr. F. said.  "I'm sorry."  I wondered why he was sorry, except that perhaps he felt like he had misled me.  Honestly, though I am nervous about having metal parts in me for the rest of my life, and hopeful that they last, I was relieved that I hadn't been crazy.  I had felt so many sensations in my leg these last few months and been so careful, that Monday's news there had been no clot had made me feel as though I was imagining things, and even as though I, in my unwarranted caution, had caused the baby to become poorly positioned resulting in the cesarean, all because I had been fearful.  This new scan proved it had not all been in my head.
The process for placing the stents was long and painful.  A wire was first forced through the blood clot and up the vein.  It touched the bottom of my heart and my pulse shot up again to 140, but without the drama of the first event.  Once it was pulled back, my pulse settled down.  Next a series of balloons were guided by catheters through the clot, and then inflated.  The inflation was intense and very painful.  As Dr. F. worked I was given fentanyl a few times, and I will admit to yelling out when he inflated the balloon that lay between my spine and my artery.  The searing pain and pressure was akin to the worst part of a labor contraction.  Even now, as I write this, the majority of my pain now is right where those balloons were placed. 
Finally, the area was ready for stenting, and one by one three long stents were placed to line the walls of the vein from my groin up to the IVC (Inferior Vena Cava).  All in all, I was being worked on for over 3 hours placing 25 centimeters of vein length.  I learned later that Guy was not told what was taking so long.  After the first hour someone came out to tell him that it was taking a little longer than planned and would be another half hour, but no one went out again for another hour and a half.  In that time my poor sweetheart had imagined a terrible accident having taken place with the filter removal, and, not knowing they were placing stents after all, thought that all that time they were working on keeping me alive.
I was finally wheeled into the recovery room, all patched up, sore and pretty tired.  Seeing Guy again brought tears to my eyes.  We were finally done with all that had begun back on February 20th.  He kissed me and asked how it was.  I tend to lose my fortitude when Guy is near, and suddenly the difficulty of the procedure surfaced in tears. 
Dr. F. brought cake to us that his wife had made.  I thought it was funny that after not eating for a whole day my doctor gave me cake, but there was the feeling in that moment that we had something to celebrate.  I reserve cautious optimism as I move forward from here.  I deeply hope I never need to revisit that room for another clot, though my risk of future clots is about 30% for the rest of my life.  But you never know what life is going to bring. 
And you know, even though Dr. F. might have felt that he had been wrong about all those people praying for us -since there was a clot after all-  that is not how I feel.  After the clot came, I asked our loved ones to pray for the health of my leg, and the health of my baby.  The very first time we faced this crisis we were told that if my vein completely blocked up, I would have no choice but to undergo this stenting procedure in order to save my leg from amputation, exposing the baby to 3 hours of radiation.  Instead, God provided answers to prayer in the form of all of those collateral veins that both saved my leg and protected the baby. 
Perhaps some would say that in a real answer to prayer God could have kept all this from happening.  Or that if he were going to heal me it would look different than it has.  I have stopped trying to dictate to God what an answer to my prayers should look like.  I still struggle with some aspects of all of this experience, because the part of me that wanted certain things to be within my control that ultimately were not.  My postpartum brain is working hard to undermine my sanity and the many comforts that have been extended to me. 
But as I sit here on the couch, a bandage on my neck and leg,
 a scar on my belly, and a beautiful, healthy baby girl at my breast,
 I look back and see the answers to so many prayers.