See you later, Daddy.

My dad passed away last week. October 2, to be exact. I don’t like acknowledging that date because it’s so final. He now has this start and end date for his life, but his life was so much bigger than that. He’s always going to be a part of me. So, for me, his end date will be my end date, really.

I could write a literal novel on my father. He lived a truly full life. He was more sinner than saint, I won’t lie (because that would annoy him) but man, did he have a big heart. And he loved hard. Especially his kids and me, his little girl.

I will write more about my dad specifically on another blog I have yet to set up. Just one where I will write stories and invite those who knew him to participate. Since his passing, I’ve heard the CRAZIEST stories about him and I soak each one up. I can’t get enough. I want to know it all.

But for now, I’ll use this space to help me grieve. If that’s not your bag, I understand. I don’t want to be a downer. If you stick around and offer a little support though, well, I sure could use it.

Thursday morning, I woke up at 5:30 to use the bathroom. When I walked back into my room I made the mistake of looking at my phone. I noticed several missed calls and voicemails from “Dad’s Cell.” I knew it wasn’t my dad, he was in the ICU still, but due to be released the next day. Obviously, this was not a good call. To avoid waking Henry up (I’ve been co-sleeping again because that’s the only way I could sleep with the anxiety I’ve been feeling the past month of my dad’s hospital stay), I checked Facebook. I knew my brother would post something because he always did. “Things are stabilizing,” he wrote. “But we’re not out of the woods.” That was written like 4 minutes before I saw the message. So I laid back down and somehow, went back to sleep.

A little back story: my dad has been sick on and off since 2011. He had pneumonia and didn’t go to the doctor until it almost killed him. That really jacked up his lungs and heart. Last year, he went in for a cardio ablation that went horribly awry and he ended up in a medically induced coma and hospital bed for SEVEN WEEKS. He got a pacemaker and felt better, but lately, he just wasn’t doing well. He would call me and say, “Katy, everything hurts. Everything.” So when he ended up in ICU this time with sepsis, I was worried, but I knew he’d pull through. And after a couple weeks, his doctors were optimistic too.

But, the day before we was going to be released to a rehab clinic, his blood pressure just dropped and dropped and then went back up and stabilized…and then plummeted. And he was gone. Just like that. My brother Merritt called me and said, “he’s got minutes, Katy. Minutes.” And minutes later, he called me back and said, “it’s over.” I had to ask him what that meant because I couldn’t comprehend that my father was dead, never coming back. I still can’t.

My brothers and step mom were there, and I’m so grateful for that. An offer to fly me and Henry out there 2 weeks prior was put on the table but I didn’t want to go all the way out there when he was going to be released soon. No, I’ll wait til he’s home and then bring Henry out. My dad was crazy about Henry. My brother showed him a video I sent of Henry play cooking on his toy kitchen and my dad smiled really big. He couldn’t talk and he was miserable, but Henry made him smile.

Chris asked me if he should stay home from work to be with me and I said, oh no. Of course not. Go. I’ll be fine. I cried a lot but nothing major to freak out Henry. Just a little when my back was turned. Until I looked at my phone and thought, hey. Maybe there’s a voicemail or 2 from my dad. Should I look? I did and there was. One in July. Henry was napping and the apartment was quiet. I just froze, staring at it. 21 seconds long. I pressed play. There was his voice. “Hi baby. Just calling to see what’s going on. Call me back if you want to. I love you.” My knees buckled and I fell to the floor. I was in Henry’s room, holding the rails of his crib, sobbing and screaming “Daddy!” Yes, it was not my finest moment and certainly the first time I’ve ever had a reaction like that. Henry was still napping in my room (so grateful for a deep sleeper). I stood up after a minute and I ran to the bathroom and threw up. That was also a first. That’s when I knew that this grieving process was going to be a long, hard one and I better ask for help when I need it. So I called Chris and asked him to come home. I needed him.

He stayed home with me on Friday too. It was so nice to go in my room, put on music, look at pictures and cry. Henry was in the living room playing and laughing with his dad, so I had no worries there. I was allowed to just cry and think and talk aloud.

Night time is the hardest. I don’t want to fall asleep. I don’t want the nightmares to come. I don’t want to have to wake up the next day and face that reality again. I take a couple Tylenol PM and try hard to stay awake. I only fall asleep when my body involuntarily does it for me, but I fight til the last second.

When I wake up, it hits me again that he’s gone. I can’t just call him and ask him about his crossword puzzle or the latest book he’s read or what Stephanie Miller said on her show that day. He was a Stephanie Miller super fan, almost to a scary degree, and I loved teasing him about it. A world where I can’t talk to him is just not a world I ever imagined and it’s not one I care for too much to be honest.

But I try to think of my dad and what he’d say to me right now if he could. He’d tell me to buck up, live life, laugh, love on Henry, be happy, be successful, if not for me, then him. Honor him in that way. Cry, grieve, scream, kick, get it all out. And then get over it. That’s exactly what he’d say, probably with a expletive thrown in here or there. So that’s what I’m trying to do, and it’s hard, but I’ll get there.

For now, I have pictures and that voicemail, which I have listened to several more times, and his emails to me, and all of the wonderful memories. I was lucky. I had a dad who walked me down the aisle at my wedding, who saw me graduate college, and always supported me. Sure, I would have liked to have him around longer than his 65 short years, but we don’t always get what we want. We have to cherish what we had.

Rest in peace, Daddy. I’m always thinking about you and I love you forever.

10153787_843598902325764_6657208470121455278_n

Just a little bump in the road.

Today we took Henry to get his Christmas portraits taken. Oh my, he was so sweet. He loved all of the attention. I got a lot of compliments for him (and, oddly, our stroller, which I love if you’re in the market for one) from the waiting parents in the studio. But honestly, I was fawning over a few of babies in there too. Specifically, baby girls. I’ll admit that I’ve been thinking a lot about baby numero dos lately. Maybe it’s because Henry is a week away from being one year old and getting so big and I miss having that little squishy baby. Or maybe it’s because Henry sooo needs a sibling. The kid plays catch with himself. He’ll throw a ball, go fetch it, and repeat. It’s simultaneously cute and sad.

But of course, inevitably, any plans for another baby came to a screeching halt last month when my husband was laid off. To go from 2 incomes, down to 1 income is a big sacrifice, but we made it work. We even built up a pretty nice savings. Thank GOD we did, too. But to go from 1 income to 0 income, AND a child to support. Well, yeah. Crappy. And scary.

To be honest, though it’s been a very stressful month, Chris and I have been shown just how truly blessed we are. It sounds so corny, and it is, but this situation has brought us closer with family and friends and each other. My mom is paying for most of Henry’s birthday party because she knows how much it meant to me to do something for him. She also paid for the portraits today because, again, I wanted it (we also had a coupon). My mom and step-dad have bought us groceries and diapers. My in-laws bought the babe presents for his birthday and Christmas and took us to Costco for some bulk dried fruit (and other things, but we have a lot of dried fruit in our house right now. I have an open bag of dried cherries I’m eating at this moment). My BFF checks in every day and always makes me feel better. She also makes me dinner and gives me wine and bakes cookies for my son’s birthday party. And then I have so many other friends who’ve sent us money and gifts for the baby, all unsolicited. Or they just let me talk and vent to them and probably want to tell me to shut up, but they don’t. They just tell me they love me and it will all work out  (I should specifically single out Mandy Jo, since she’s a daily victim of my woe-is-me). It just warms the cockles of my heart, you guys. There are a lot of beautiful people in our lives, even ones we don’t talk to all the time.

Because of all these above blessings, I’ve been trying to stay positive. That doesn’t mean I don’t still break down into tears occasionally. I do. Maybe every day, but I’m not telling. In the end, I know it will work out. I might have to dust off my old resume and get back out there, and if that’s what I have to do, then so be it. For now, I’m focusing on our beautiful, funny, healthy baby boy and all the people in my life who love us and we love back. We might not have much money, but we’re not poor. Not in any sense of the word.

I know you want to see some portrait shots (only the last one made the cut in terms of actual prints, but the other 2 are ones I still love):

henryport12drool face!

henryport3Baby Gap called and they want their model back.

henryport1“Oh, hey, I didn’t see you there.”

Curveballs and learning to walk.

Oh, how quickly things can change in life. Just when I thought things were finally going my way and I was comfortable for the first time maybe ever, life threw a curveball. I won’t (can’t) go into details, but I will say it’s times like these that remind me of what’s truly important. Things like my healthy and happy baby boy (who is now WALKING at almost 11 months old), a loving husband, and amazing family and friends. I can’t believe the outpouring of support and love I received from the few people I confided in, but it humbles me. It really made the initial shock of what happened much easier to bear and helped me focus on the positive.

I will share what’s going on in the near future, but for now, check out Henry walking. He’s also talking more saying “nana” for his favorite food banana, mama, dada, bye bye, night night, no no, baba (he says this for the actual bottle and also when he’s just hungry. He’ll point to his high chair and say “baba.” If I say, “are you hungry, do you want some dinner?” He’ll say “baba!!” and make his way to the kitchen.)

This video is a few days old. He’s a lot more stable now and even doing a little bit of running, which is fun (not really).

Finding emo.

Last Friday, I woke up exhausted. It was because I had been crying almost all day Thursday. A distant relative passed away last week and that had me all introspective and crap. I look at Henry and Chris and I get all emotional because I know how lucky I am. My life is exactly how I want it to be and I never want it to end. That’s what made me so sad and emo. But, I took some long naps this weekend and have vowed not to cry over that crap again.

I wrote briefly last week about letting some things go that hurt my feelings. It’s always much easier said than done, but it’s got to happen. For my sanity. I hold things in and hold things in and then days like Thursday happen. In any relationship, there has got to be a give and take. I refuse to have demands put upon me without any semblance of reciprocation any more. People want so much from me, but aren’t willing to give. This ends in me feeling used and confused. (Rhymes!) Where do I go from there? Continue to be that person and be miserable for the sake of a one-sided relationship or let go and be happy? I’ll choose the latter. I have to. As hard as it might be.

I saw this quote the other day and it’s like a light bulb went off:

“The mental and physical space we create by letting go of things that belong in our past gives us…the option to fill the space with something new.” – Susan Fay West

My energies are better used on my son, my marriage, my family, and those friends that are there for me. And I’m lucky that I have a few of those. This new found positive energy will also be put toward a re-design my blog (I finally got Adobe DesignSuite last night!), looking for freelance writing jobs, and having a FUN summer with Henry and Chris. I’m really looking forward to it.

I promise I won’t post a bunch of emotional, sad sap blogs. This is it. Forever. Ok, for a long time. I’m done.

And to exit on a happy note, here is Henry with his Grandma today. Have I mentioned that this kid LOOOOOVES his grandma? He does.

henrygmaphotoYeah, my energy belongs RIGHT HERE.

 

 

 

Quickie

Some noteworthy happenings:

  • Got my hair cut and colored for the first time since I found out I was bearing a child. I feel like a new person and now I won’t have to spend the 8 seconds of spare time I have in front of the mirror obsessing over all of the gray hairs before throwing it up into a messy bun type thing and leaving it that way for a couple days before I decide to wash it and start all over again.
  • Henry is already holding his head up pretty great. His fave position is sitting up on our laps, with no support on his neck. If you try to support his neck, he gets very annoyed. And tummy time should be called “scoot across the floor time.” This kid wants to move.
  • We no longer have a newborn. We have a baby now. A babbling, giggling, alert, smiley, funny baby. I had to put some of his newborn clothes up this morning and he’s filling out his 0-3’s nicely. I love watching him grow, but it also tugs at my heart.
  • I’ve been doing more and walking. It’s been nice weather and I have the cutest little walking buddy. It knocks him out, though. Even after we get home, he continues to sleep for hours. Not that I’m complaining. An overtired Henry is no bueno. A growing boy needs his rest.
  • Chris continues to be amazing. Even when I’m stressed over stupid stuff, he’s calm and patient and talks me down. I’m lucky that I married a guy who tries to empathize with a new mom and all the stresses that come along with that. He also knows how hard it is to have a 24/7 baby-raising job and is a really good support. I have to brag on him because he deserves it. He puts up with a lot from my hormonal ass.

henrygoesforawalk

 

What he’s wearing:

Hat: knit by someone and given to Henry by a nurse at the hospital. First placed on his head when he was minutes old.

Sweater: Baby Gap (on sale)

Overalls: Old Navy (on sale)

Socks: Trumpette Skater Boy (not on sale)

Pacifier: Nuk

 

Beauty is intimidating.

Went to my weekly OB appointment this morning. First things first: if you’re pregnant and haven’t had your cervix checked for dilation, just know that it’s incredibly painful. Especially when your petite doctor has tiny little hands.

I am not dilated at all despite all of the Braxton Hicks contractions. Doctor says that’s normal and is no indication of when the baby will come. She’s seen women go from zero to 10 overnight. Some don’t ever dilate on their own. So we’ll see.

The perinatologist ended up putting me on medication. Sigh. This means induction (unless baby wants to do mommy a huge favor and come on his own). My OB told me that the perinatologist might choose to induce me NEXT week. If they don’t, she will induce me the following week. The perinatologist will be calling me tomorrow to discuss. At this point, if they are going to induce, they should let me pick the date. I’m going to push for a Wednesday so we could be home by the weekend. (I’m half joking, ok?)

Saying-just-kidding

My last day of work is Friday. This is bringing up all kinds of mixed emotions, mainly excitement and anxiety. I will have to write a separate blog on my anxiety. When it’s all said and done, however, I know that my life is just about to become even more beautiful than it already is. Infinitely more beautiful. I’m going to have my own little family. Whoa.

And I can’t wait.

 

Can’t complain.

I have somewhere around 90 days to go until this baby comes, and my shoes are already giving me bruises. I’ve mentioned before that by Friday, my feet and ankles double in size. This week, I took off my slip on Chucks (aka, my most comfy shoes), and I had a big red welt on the top of each of my poor, fat feet. I took a picture for posterity, but I don’t think anyone really wants to see it. I’ll spare you.

Saturday, my husband and I ventured down south a bit to visit my brother and niece in Belen, NM. I spent my childhood summers down there and a lot of time as a college student doing laundry at my grandma’s house. The town really hasn’t changed much since. I did get a little sad when we drove past my grandma’s old house. The last home my grandma and grandpa purchased together, and the one he passed away in. I still remember every detail of that old home, and I get a little mad that other people live there now.

My brother Danny made us for real homemade spaghetti. Like, he rolled out pasta dough, used a Kitchen Aid attachment, and made spaghetti. He also made us homemade french bread, which my husband (the carb-o-holic) really appreciated. Both of my brothers are really good cooks, but that gene must have skipped me. I do alright when I really try, but they just have this natural knack for the culinary arts. Why they aren’t working in kitchens as executive chefs, I have no idea.

Chris took this picture. He also took the second loaf of bread home.

My niece Katy is 6 1/2 now and just as cute as can be. I love that age. She is so smart, imaginative, and sweet. I just really love hanging out with her.

I told her to smile and this was the face I got. When I giggled, she said, “What? I can’t show my teeth! They’re coming out!”

“And then, and then, and then…”

My bro’s freezer. “I’m not a big sweets person,” were words he lied.

I had the worst headache all day probably due to the lack of sleep the night before (what’s new?) So instead of celebrating our 2 year anniversary a few days early like planned, we went home and picked up Chinese take out and watched a movie on Netflix. I fell asleep early, only to wake up to watch Saturday Night Live (we never miss in this house). They did a Gangnam Style parody, which made me extremely happy. If you’ve yet to see the internet sensation known as Psy, behold it here on my blog. Turns out this guy went to Boston University at the same time my husband did. I like to pretend they were best friends and maybe one day they will reunite and then we’ll be best friends.

All in all, it was a pretty great day.

7 things.

1) We went on a tour of the women’s hospital today where I’ll be delivering. Compared to other hospital maternity wards I’ve been in, it’s great. I’m about as excited as one can be to deliver a baby. Still terrified, though.

2) My wonderful, supportive mom and step-dad came with us and afterwards, made me a bacon cheese avocado burger for dinner. It was amazing. My mom also told me I looked like I lost weight. What a sweet little lie. She obviously didn’t notice my burgeoning cankles due to swelling. (Actually, she did notice.)

3) My mother-in-law has been texting me lately (this is very new). Today, she sent me a very sweet text and signed it, “Love, Mom.” I can’t even begin to express how much that meant to me. We’ve never had a bad relationship, but just…non-communicative. I’m glad that’s changing.

4) Work this week was beyond stressful and next week will be times 10. The silver lining: after next week, our trade show season is over and things will start to slow down. So looking forward to that.

5) A bit of advice. Don’t be assholes to pregnant women for no reason. The hormones are real. And you’ll either get physically hurt or feel like a dick when you make them cry. So just be nice.

6) Round ligament pain is no fun.

7) I got nothing else. I promise to be more interesting tomorrow.