My Family!!

My Family!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Voyeurism, Exhibitionism, New Friends and Old Friends

I had to take the time to make sure to post today because so far it has been a fun filled weekend, and I still have two days left.

Yesterday I had to go down south to pick up a bridesmaids dress for a wedding I am in in September. I had ordered one a couple weeks ago from a different store, but unfortunately they could not guarantee that it would be in on time. I started to get nervous, because they said it wold come in the week of the wedding. I have been trying to lose weight, and although it is coming off slowly, it is still coming off, and was afraid I would need to get the dressed altered for the ceremony. However, if the dress did not make it here till a couple days before, I would not have the time. So, I found a sample that was available for purchase and pickup immediately. I called the original store and canceled my order, and drove my happy butt down. It was a beautiful day for a drive. It was a perfect 76 degrees, the sun was shining bright, the clouds we a scattered through the brilliant blue sky, and it put me in a happy mood. I cranked up the radio and belted out along with the familiar lyrics. I assume people driving by thought I was crazy.

I reached my destination, saw the dress hanging behind the counter and tried it on. It fit perfect. I was thrilled. Until I looked down at the tag. Sure the dress was a little pricey, but the color said "Posie". I needed "American Beauty". I was hoping beyond hope that the company used some weird code for their color names, and I had not just driven two hours for nothing. Sure enough, when the shop attendant checked the swatches, the dress was NOT the color I needed. SO, I quickly logged onto Ebay and purchased a dress the bride had found as a back up in case this dress did not pan out. The Ebay dress is the right color, perfect size, and right fabric. She gave us choices on styles to pick, and although this is not one of the six original style, it is still a beautiful style, should compliment my figure nicely, and is approved by the bride.

Now, I know I sound like a irresponsible bridesmaid. I waited until the last minute to order my dress. Yes, I admit to it, I could have gone out a few weeks earlier and taken care of it. However, I got the email about our dresses 3 days before losing my daughter. Really, I went back and looked t my emails. I read the first email from the bride explaining the different styles and where we could order them on April 17th. Of course, after Rosie's passing, not only was I too sad to really do anything, I was so disgusted with my body to even want to try on clothes. The bride understands. She said if it was anyone else, she may be a little annoyed, but everything is taken care of, so it all worked out. AND the dress was half the price it would have cost me in the store, of course I lose my deposit on the original dress, but it was still cheaper in the end.

The trip to was not a total waste. When I first started blogging, I was really hesistant to start reading other people's blogs. I almost felt I was being a voyeur peaking in on other their lives and most intimate feelings. It was weird though, because I was putting it all out there too, so does that make me an exhibitionist also? When I finally started following other people, there was one in particular that I really enjoyed reading. She had inspired me, because although I thought my situation was bad, she carried her daughter KNOWING that she would not survive, and hoping that she may get a few minutes or, God willing, hours with her daughter and be able to hold her as she passed. I cannot imagine the strength it takes to choose to carry a baby knowing you would say goodbye. She is pregnant with her rainbow baby, and just a very inspiring individual. We got to talking through email, and sure enough, she lives about an hour away from me. So, I got to meet her. I won't lie, it was kind of awkward at first. When you have been reading about a person for a few months, know a TON about them, but have never had a phone conversation or seen them face to face, I felt like that creepy voyeur again. However, after talking for a while, it got easier, and I actually ended up enjoying myself and hopefully making a new friend. She was just as sweet as her blog has portrayed her.

Then, when I returned home, Foster and I got to spend and amazing night with the Princes. One of my really good friends, whom I have NOT been spending nearly enough time with, was due to be induced tomorrow. As I have mentioned before, I am VERY happy for this couple, they are going to make wonderful parents. However, I did not want to respond the same way I did to Mrs. Prince going into labor, so I was bound and determined to stay away from facebook and the updates, and keep myself busy. Because not only was she bringing home a baby, but bringing home a girl. Once again, girls are still difficult for me. I held and loved on Baby Prince last night, but girls are still too sad for me.

When I returned from my semi-productive trip, I made some home made bruschetta and Foster and I headed over. I played with Baby Prince for a while. I found that if I bounced him on my knee, he would be calm and content. As soon as I would stop, he would start scrunching his face as if he was going to scream if I did not continue with the spatial disorientation. So this continued for a good half an hour before he finally relaxed and fell right to sleep in my arms. Foster got a glimpse of what it would be like if we had had Rosie. He had to hand me food, my drink, and anything else I needed, because I did not want to wake a sleeping baby.

Mr. and Mrs. Prince were wonderful hosts. Mr. Prince made some amazing fare to include venison sirloins and venison chili for the hot dogs. I tried not to sway too much from my diet but I had to sample SOME of his hard work. Foster and Mr. Prince seemed to be trying to out do each other in drinking beer. It was my turn to be the understanding and patient wife. It was pretty entertaining to watch and listen to the two of them. Half the time they didn't make sense, and the other half of the time they were being ridiculous. Mr. Prince fell asleep on the patio and I wonder if Mrs. Prince was able to wrangle him upstairs to bed. Foster made it home, barely, and made it up to bed, barely, and now feels like utter crap. I warned him, because I was in similar circumstances last Sunday morning, but I guess he didn't want to listen.

Overall it was an amazing day, and I am completely ready for another wonderful day with friends. Today we are celebrating Anne's (Bride #1) last week of being single with a bachelorette party. I am sure I will have great pictures and a great story to tell tomorrow, IF I don't feel like utter crap:-) Until tomorrow.......

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drunk Singing and Bringing the World together

I was listening to Pandora on my computer the other day. For those of you who may be technologically inept, or just not familiar with Pandora, it is an amazing application where you choose your favorite genre, song, or singer, and it will chose all of the music that is similar to and thinks that you will enjoy. I started out with country, listening to the musical talents of Lady Antebellum, George Straight, and Rascall Flatts. Then I switched it to rock/heavy metal with Seether, Three Days Grace, and Linkin Park. I realized that neither of these genres were what I was in the mood for. Then it dawned on me, OLDIES!

There is such a nostalgic feeling I get when I listen to band such as Fleetwood Mac, Journey, CCR. I mentioned before that growing up with JJ, our parents consistently had this kind of music playing in the background of every family event. James Taylor, Tracey Chapman, and The Beatles started to feel like close friends. Then I realized as I listened to "Don't stop Believin" By Journey, that these bands have followed me through my young adult life also. Certain songs like "Don't Stop Believin", "Brown Eyed Girl", "Pour Some Sugar on Me", "Benny and the Jets", "Piano Man" seems to make an entire bar join together in a God-awful rendition of group karaoke and uncoordinated flash mob dancing. Complete strangers put arms around each other's shoulders, swaying back and forth while we beg along with Billy Joel, "Sing us a song Piano man, sing us a song tonight," or jump around and accidentally spit all over our neighbors as we belt out, "B-B-B-Benny and the Jets" while making up the rest of the words to the song. It is as if for those three and a half minutes everyone forgets about their differences, ignores the troubles going on in the world, come together in drunk, not so harmonious voices FEEL. They feel happiness, nostalgic, maybe even sadness, but they feel.
I have always turned to music regardless of the occasion. If I am mad or running I listen to heavy metal like Marylin Manson, lately I have been listening to a lot of country and christian music for obvious reasons. If I am in a happy, calm mood, I listen to the old rock and roll. I love music and no matter where I am, what is going on, I can always turn to my old friend. I can't say it any better than one of the all time best music advocates and artists, Bob Marley:

“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain”
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”~Author Unknown

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"For Every Cross....

.....Is a resurrection." No truer words have ever been spoken.

I attended the wedding of my cousin yesterday, and of course I sat through the mass wondering what about this wedding I was going to blog about. Lucky for me, I was given ALOT to write about, now it is all about just filtering out the best parts.

When Foster and I took our seats at the church, I looked at the beautiful black and silver program and noticed that the priest was Joshua Wagner. Father Wagner is a thirty something Catholic priest who does stand up. No joke, you can find him on He has some great clean humor, and goes around with the "White Collared Comedy Tour", yes a spin off of the Blue Collared Comedy Show, but instead of hillbillies it is Catholic priests doing stand up. I first met Father Wagner at a young adult retreat a few months ago, and he had me rolling at times, so I was very interested to see how he would spin a Catholic wedding which are know to be pretty traditional, and LONG. He did not disappoint!

I was looking forward to seeing him at the reception, because I wanted to thank him again for the great retreat, ask him when his next one was, and just catch up. As I approached him, his face lit up with a smile, and he recognized me. I figured he recognized me from a few months ago, but I was suprised to find out that was not the case. He had clicked onto my link for Rosie's story on the faces of loss website through facebook. He was impressed by my writing and my faith in God. We talked for a while and I told him how so many good things are coming to pass through the loss of my daughter, and how it was definitely helping me heal. I mentioned the Non-profit group I am getting involved with, my writing, and the policies I am changing. He responded, "That is wonderful! For every cross is a resurrection." How powerful and insightful! So wise for such a young man.

It is true, although we may not understand the reasoning and it may take us a while to see through our anger and grief, but good can usually come from bad. Whether it is a life lesson learned or a policy change, there can be good in everything.

Case in point, I had my meeting with Kam from Back in His Arms Again. I am getting rolling with it, and very soon this organization is going to be a very large part of my life. We were brainstorming fundraiser ideas, board meeting topics, etc. I am so excited to jump head first into this ministry. I can see what great things they do for parents during the worst experience of their lives. So, if any of you have fund raising ideas let me know. I was thinking about a silent auction dinner or something similar.

The wedding was beautiful, the food was amazing, and most important, the bar was open. I told Foster ahead of time that I was planning on getting a little tipsy. By the end, I was a little more than "a little tipsy" and God love my husband for putting up with me. When I drink I become more affectionate and more talkative and louder, if you can imagine that. He rolled with the punches and laughed at me when I woke up this morning with the worst bruises above my knees I have ever seen. I would share the story, but I am not sure if I am quite ready to recap my unfortunate drunk moment, but it is a funny story. I will post pictures of my knees tomorrow. He drove me all over kingdom come when I wanted to meet my cousins out at the bar following the reception but was ecstatic when I saw the line at the bar downtown and told him to turn around and go home, because I did not want to be packed into a hot bar with a bunch of hot smelly people. He was happy, cause he was sober and tired and did not want to be in that environment either.

I am so happy for my cousin. The newlyweds were so happy and I don't think the smiles left their faces all night. It makes me reflect on the happiest day of my life, our wedding date.
There was a moment in the service both Foster and I became emotional. There is a tradition in a Catholic marriage to set a flower at the foot of the Mary statue in the church to ask for her to pray for your marriage. Foster and I decided that since we were pregnant during our wedding....GASP, a Catholic girl pregnant at her wedding!.....we decided I would place the flower and ask for guidance and for her to pray for me as a mother and Foster lay a flower at the foot of St. Joseph and asked for guidance as a father. So when the beautiful prayer "Ave Maria" started, and they made their way over to the statue, Foster and I both started crying. As much as you would think are prayers were not answered, they really were. I did not ask for a healthy living child, we asked to be good parents, and I think we are being good parents, and I am striving to be strong and an advocate for my daughter just as Mary was strong and an advocate for her son.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Broke My Diet

Yesterday I had the most amazing chocolate cake, a whole pizza on my own, and topped it off with a nice cold Venti Carmel Frappucino. It was the most amazing meal of my life. Did that break my low-carb diet? Yes! Was I satisfied? Yeppers! Did I feel guilty? Absolutely! Until I woke up and realized it was all just a dream. That is right, my lack of sweets and carbs has caused my mind to indulge itself in these off limit treats while I am fast asleep. This makes them calorie free, and completely satisfying. I wake up feeling very gratified and really guilty at first, and then I remember it was all a dream. What a great way to cheat! I get to eat all of my favorite foods without the fat and sugar going straight to my hips.

I wonder if my mind remembers all of the amazing flavors of my favorite foods and that is why the dreams are so real. I just hope I am not actually sleepwalking and eating the food out of the fridge in the middle of the night. Maybe I am going to have to have Foster set up a video camera just to be sure. Then again, I guess if I really was eating all of this unhealthy food, I would not have dropped seven pounds in the last 2 weeks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Erin Takes on Washington and the Literary World

Well, the ugly face of third shift living has reared its ugly head. I went to bed with Foster around ten p.m. after sleeping from 10am to 230pm. I woke up at 2am unable to sleep anymore, so I figured I would give you an update.

A few very exciting things are going on, hence why I have not been around quite a much. I have been so busy writing "other things", that unfortunately my blog has taken a slight back seat.
First, I have mentioned that I am getting a policy changed where I work, and I got a phone call that it had made it up through numerous boards, and they all agree that there needs to be a change. They want me to write a letter explaining why I feel the way I do about the issue, my experience, and what I think should be changed about the policy. I mentioned that I was going to be pursing the change in the National Guard policy too, and they said to add this information in my letter. They also suggested that although it is not necessary, that it would benefit me to have the backing of one of my state representatives. So I have started preparing my first letter to a politician. This is a little scary for me, because I am very aware from being in the military, that there is a certain standard to letters of this nature. SO I called in reinforcements. I have mentioned my friend "Mrs. Roma" in previous entries. He father is a long time politician in our home town, and she has had a recent experience with writing a letter to her congressman, so she knows the ropes. She has agreed to review my letter after I write it, give me some pointers, give it to her father to look over, and then I will send it in to the recommended representatives who will be most willing to support my mission. This takes a huge weight off of my shoulders, and appreciate her offer in the midst of her extremely hectic life.

One other project I have written for, is a beautiful website founded by a fellow baby loss mommy. It is I combined the four main blogs that make up Rosie's story, and submitted it to her project. It looks AMAZING, and for those of you who do not know the entire story, you can find it here.

Third, I have been inspired to jump head first back into writing my book. I have received so many wonderful comments from followers, friends and family that I have a gift. I guess I never really thought there was anything spectacular about my writing skills, because I just write what I know, how I feel, and what I have experienced. However, one friend mentioned that one of the greatest books of all time was written from true life experience, To Kill A Mockingbird. So, why not? It would honestly be a sin to waste a gift that God has given me. I am nervous, and honestly terrified to put my work out there to be critiqued by professionals, so occasionally I may post an excerpt on here for all of you to give me feedback. It is completely different than writing on this blog. This has served as an outlet, a form of therapy for me since the loss of my daughter. All of you read it, but I do not feel as if it is something to be scrutinized because it is just my thoughts and memories down on paper. However, I will never succeed in truly reaching millions of people unless I go out on a limb and try. So her it goes, I might as well. I have 2 months until school starts back up, so I am going to utilize the time while I have it. I am going to have to try my hardest to set aside at least an hour a day to dedicate strictly to the book, so unfortunately, my blog may take a hit because of this.

Fourth, I am proud to say I will officially be published for the very first time sometime after August. Foster and I are taking a trip to Austin in August for a National Guard Conference that we attended last year in Nashville. This conference is near and dear to our heart for a few reasons. Last year Foster and i got engaged during this conference, conceived Rosie around this time, and Mr. and Mrs. Prince conceived Baby Prince here. So you can understand why I am excited to go. I attend as a spouse, not as a soldier, Foster is the soldier at this event. However, I have a more important role this year. Instead of just looking good on Foster's are at the social event, he has volunteered me, and the board agreed to allow me to write up about the conference through the eyes of the spouse. I am so honored that Foster would consider this, because it just shows how supportive he is of one of my dreams, and that the organization agreed. It is only going to be an article in the National Guard publication, but I am thrilled that I will officially get to see my writing put into print other than my computer screen. Who knows, maybe this will open more doors and motivate me even more.

There are so many amazing things going on and it is bitter sweet. None of this would come to fruition if not for the death of my Rosie, however, there is nothing more I want than her to be here to witness all of this. The one comfort I have is that she is watching me from heaven, rooting me on, and when I get up there and see her, I hope I have made her proud and given meaning to her death.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Questions and Answers

I got the Idea off of a fellow blogger friend. I go on and on about myself as if all of you already know me. I have to remember that half of you have only stumbled across this blog because of similar losses, because you are military spouses too, or from friends and family members referring you here to read about my story. My life has been a huge journey these past 28 years, and if you want to know ANYTHING about me, my family, my life, feel free to ask. There are no restrictions. Email me @ (there is an underscore between the elfie and 17)and address it "Questions about Journey" that way I know they are not spam.
Ask me about the military, being a military wife, questions about Rosie I have not already covered, etc. There are times that I do not have anything to blog about, and it would be nice if I have an idea of what you all would like to hear about instead of just my ramblings.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rosie is My Crutch!

I had someone recently tell me not to use my loss as a crutch and that I "have to get over it sometime." This person was speaking particularly to my incident with SGT Knowitall, but I got the feeling they were also referring to any future encounters also. A crutch is defined as "A staff or support used by the physically injured or disabled as an aid in walking, usually designed to fit under the armpit and often used in pairs." or "anything that serves as a means to an end. ex: He uses drugs as a psychological crutch." ( Seeing both of these definitions, this person did not use the word crutch properly. For one, as much as I would love to, I cannot physically use my daughter to hold me up, she is buried 6 feet under, but emotionally she does hold me up and keep my strong. Her, along with Foster keep me going, because I highly doubt she wants to watch her mommy fall apart and crawl into a hole and die from her view in heaven. Second, as a means to an end, I am using her but in a positive way. I have my first meeting with the Non-Profit group founder this week, and we are going to discuss my role in this organization. Also, I am in the process of writing a letter to our Senator and OSU Medical Center to argue my case about the National Guard Regulation and OSU policy. I am using my daughter and my experience as a means to an end. That end will be when no other woman has to worry about money or work or discharge from the Army, if God forbid another woman has to experience this.

I believe what the outspoken person was trying to tell me was not to use my daughters death as justification for all of my words and actions. I hate to break it to you, but probably 75% of what I do on a daily basis revolves around Rosie. My thoughts are always one her, the way I feel, the reason I adore and love my husband even more than before, my appreciation for friends and family, the way I can truly feel for someone else who suffers a loss, even the loss of a dog. Do I blame all of this on my loss? YES! April 20th 2010 has been an extreme pivitol point in my life. As I have mentioned before, there is the Erin prior to that date, and the Erin after that date. They are two totally different people. If anyone has a problem with that, be my guest to walk away and not speak to me again, because this is who I am now. I am closer to God, stronger in my faith, I am more aware of people's feelings, more appreciative of the little things in life, and realize how much life truly is a miracle which is taken for granted too often.

Of course there are things that I am not completely happy with in this new person. I was very outgoing and would rather be out with others than cooped up at home. Now I would rather stay home with Foster than go any where. I used to not worry about stupid things, but now I worry about losing loved ones. I also feel so guilty about my reactions to close friends and loved ones finding out they are pregnant and having babies. I am ecstatic when a new announcement is made, but then this little ugly voice in the back of my head goes, "Why does she get a healthy baby and I did not?" Not that I would wish this pain or suffering on my worst enemy, but I just wish I had had that happy ending too. When a new pregnancy announcement is made, I have to admit beneath my happiness for these women is a little bit of jealousy, and I feel awful for this. I also instantly start praying for that person to have a happy, successful pregnancy, because NOW I know that the first trimester is not the only threat. I see the wonderful naive happiness these women have being pregnant and I know I will NEVER have that again in a pregnancy because of my loss of Rosie.

In response to this person's comment about getting over it, I won't, and I hope I never do. That was my daughter! Unless you have been through the loss of a loved one, particularly a child, it is not something you get over. You learn to live with the pain, and it gets easier and easier every day, however, you have a permanent hole in your heart that every once in a while likes to ache so bad that you feel like you can't breath. These pains come without notice, and unfortunately, people like SGT Knowitall feel the backlash. As I mentioned in that entry, I felt immediately bad for using my daughter's death in a way to shut someone up, but sometimes it needs to be done. It raises awareness that you do not always know the path someone has walked and the life they have lived, and judgment is not ours but something only God has the right to do.

Please do not let this entry fool you into thinking I am angry with this person. They just do not understand and I am trying to raise a little awareness. I am pretty good at verbally justifying myself, but I feel, especially lately, I am better with words when they are written down, and I know this person will read this blog and hopefully think twice before opening their mouth to a person who is hurting, me or anyone else.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Hard Day for Foster and I

Foster and I just got done doing what no parent should EVER have to do. We designed Rosie's headstone. I cannot stress to you how sad this was. I have been stressing over it for the last 3 months because it makes her death so FINAL. Also, being the mom of an angel baby, there are so many things I can do in her name but only a few things I actually get to buy her, and I wanted it to be perfect, I wanted her to be proud of me and like her headstone. Since I will never get to help her pick out her prom dress and Foster will never be able to help her buy her first car, it was important that we put a lot of time and thought into this last earthly purchase we will ever make for her. It is going to be beautiful, just like she was. I promise, in 6-8 weeks when they place it, I will take pictures and let you all see and then you can see what quote won the honor of being engraved under her beautiful name.

To add insult to injury, we had our family picture taken for the church directory. We were expecting to have Rosie with us, but instead it was Foster, me and out two fur babies. As usual, Rowdy was a ham for the camera, and Reagan ran and hid, but we were able to get a few really good shots, and when we get them I will post one for you all to see. However, as we rounded the corner to purchase our prints, there was a beautiful picture of a mom, dad, and infant in the father's arm. It was a beautiful picture, and I could not take my eyes off of it. It made me really sad, because that SHOULD have been us! UGH!!

Oh well, as much as sometimes I wish it were not the case, life goes on. Wedding season is upon us! This next weekend Foster and I are attending my cousin's wedding, then I am celebrating my friend "Ann's" bachlorette party (from my previous post "Sleepwalking and Weddings"), then her wedding. It is going to be a busy couple of weeks. I am hoping it will put some smiles on my face, and make the time pass a little faster.

I am sorry I have not been posting quite as much, I have been busy helping Foster paint and get our house together. We are fixing up the basement bedroom and rec room. We will officially have all five bedrooms with beds and able to take guests. Welcome to "Hotel De Foster". If you stay, I would suggest taking the basement bedroom, cause the air is not on in the rest of the house. We are hoping to get the house in order and finished by the time we can start fostering and that way the home interviewer will have no excuse to deny us. I will definitely post the before and after photos of this home. I love this house, and we have worked hard to make it our home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thank You SGT Knowitall

Once again, I apologize for going on a few day hiatus from my followers. I have had a lot going on. When last I left you, I told you about a SGT who was giving me a hard time about the money Foster and I supposedly have. After talking to him about it, Foster asked, "Although we are not rich, we are very comfortable, and why should we be ashamed of that? We both work very hard for our money. I have graduated college, you are about ready to, we work everyday to make a living and afford the things we want and have."

After further thought, I came to the decision that he is right. I don't know why I felt the need to defend myself about making a good living. I certainly do not go around flaunting it or bragging, but there is no need for me to feel bad about it either. It must be out of jealousy that he felt the need to make an issue of it.

I found out the next day that this SGT must really have some mental issues. He must feel the need to belittle others in order to feel better about himself. I was sitting out in the parking lot eating my lunch. I noticed a guy hanging out by himself on the breezeway. he was leaning against the railing like he was not feeling well. All of the sudden he stiffened up, fell backwards, and started seizing. I immediately jumped out of my car, spilling my lunch all over the pavement, hurdled over a concrete blockade, and ran as fast as I could up to the breezeway. People were yelling "Medic, we need a medic."

I came up on the guy and responded, "I am a medic, someone help me roll him and keep him on his side." It was apparent he had bitten his tongue in the 30 seconds it had taken me to reach him and I wanted to make sure he did not aspirate the blood and drool into his lungs. There is not a whole lot more we could do for him other than call an ambulance, which I instructed someone else to do. As the crowd got bigger, and a doctor came out of the building, I loosened his boots and pants, and then told someone to get a neck brace for him since I think he hit his head on the way down. I then stepped back, allowed the paramedics to do their job and gave them the information that they needed about the soldier.

Never in a million years did I think something like this would happen in a basic Soldier readiness day. These days usually consist of medics like myself drawing blood, giving immunizations, taking vitals, and doing pregnancy tests on all of the soldiers getting ready to deploy. I was helping out with the lab draws and paperwork. When I returned into the lab I was at least thirty minutes late from my lunch break. I told the Sergent who was in charge what happened, and apologized for being late. We will call him SGT Knowitall responded in a very sarcastic tone, "Sure, good excuse for taking an hour lunch break."

"No Sergent, she really was out there helping, I brought the trauma bag out to her," another soldier came to my defense.

"What soldier was it?" an officer asked me.

I told him the soldiers last name, since the officer was in the soldier's unit. "You just violated HIPPA," SGT Knowitall reprimanded me.

"Excuse me? I did not," I claimed. For those of you who are not familiar with medical policies, HIPPA is the Health Information Privacy and Portability Act. Individuals, organizations, and agencies that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA must comply with the Rules' requirements to protect the privacy and security of health information and must provide individuals with certain rights with respect to their health information. If an entity is not a covered entity, it does not have to comply with the Privacy Rule or the Security Rule. These entities refer to health care professionals who are in contact and have access to the paperwork and information of a patient.

"If she REALLY works in an ER, she would know that she violated HIPPA," I heard SGT Knowitall say under his breath to another sergeant.

"Actually Sargeant, I was a first responder, but had nothing to do with his care involving charting, paperwork, or information. The only information I gave that officer was a last name and that he had a seizure. I would be considered a bystander, and not a medical provider, so HIPPA does not apply to me in this situation," I responded. I could not believe he was going to try and lecture me on HIPPA. I have been working in a hospital for 8 years, and have taken MANY classes on it. This sergeant has been a medic in the Army, which I hate to say does not put us through the amount of classes that OSU has for HIPPA, and now he is a nursing student, has only ever been in a hospital for his clinicals, and thinks he is the subject matter expert on EVERYTHING medical. Drives me nuts when students, med students, nursing students, etc., think they know it all.

Anyway, enough ranting, but I eventually got him to shut his mouth. I was a little offended that he would even question my integrity with the phrase, "If she REALLY worked in an ER, she would know about HIPPA." The funny part about this whole thing is this sergeant is not even in my unit, he is in a different company that I had volunteered to assist this weekend. Most of the sergeants in my unit know and respect what I do, and respect my knowledge and would never question my integrity.

On a better note, Foster and I bought me a newer car today. I have been driving around a great 2003 Toyota Corolla. I bought the car last July for myself, and it is a wonderful car. the only downside is it has about 186,000 miles on it. Driving it, you would never know because it drives like a dream, gets about 38 miles to the gallon, and only cost me about $6000 dollars after I got my way at the dealership (another story for another time). However, the opportunity came to us to buy Mama JJ's car which is three years younger, has 76,000 less miles on it, and is an upgraded version of the Toyota Corolla for $5,000. We could not pass it up! We figured we would post my Corolla on craigslist and see what we can get for it. Who knows, we may end up getting all $5000 back. If you know anyone who is in need of a car, let me know. The only thing to note of my 2003 Corolla is it needs new rotors, and is a manual transmission, so the person needs to be able to drive a stick.
I am actually really excited about having Mama JJ's old car, I feel like she will watch out for me every time I drive, of course, she is watching over me anyway, but it makes me smile.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Money Cannot Buy Happiness

I was at drill for the National Guard today and for the first time I actually used "my daughter died" to get some one to shut up." Instantaneously I felt bad about it. The conversation started out innocent enough. We were talking about the accommodations the Army provides for the soldier who travel over 60 miles to be at drill for the weekend. It is this dinky hotel where they actually make the patrons change their own bed sheets. The air conditioners don't work, their are roaches and other creepy crawlies. I was explaining how much I was relieved I only live 10 minutes away from our unit and I get to sleep in my own bed. I also said that I have frequently offered my unit members to come and stay in our five bedroom home to save them from the roach motel. The sergeant I was talking to started teasing me saying I must be rich to have a five bedroom home, and kept going on and on. I tried my hardest to tell him that was not the case, that our home is large, but by no means the mansion he was trying to make it out to be. It is a four bedroom home, originally built in the 70s, that has a full finished basement that adds to the bedrooms. The basement has a full bedroom, a smaller room, and a big rec room. However, no matter how much I tried to convince him that Foster and I were not rich, things kept "proving" ME wrong. He saw my ring, which is a beautiful, a little over a karat, and sparkles from a mile away, "You better not go into a body of water with that thing on, you will sink right to the bottom." Then an officer Foster and I know came in and started talking to me, asking how Foster was doing. So the sergeant found out Foster was an officer, which means he makes more money than an enlisted soldier. He continued to tease me about being rich.

This went on and off for about an hour, and I continued to refute his claims, but the mocking went on. Then, while I was talking to another soldier from around lake Erie, I was explaining to him that my family is thinking about all going in on a vacation house on a Lake and Erie was on the list. The sergeant overheard this conversation and interjected his thoughts on the matter, "Well I guess when you are rich, everything is perfect and you can buy your happiness."

This is when I snapped in response, "Actually Sergent, NO, money cannot buy all happiness, my husband and I lost our daughter April 20th, so our life is NOT perfect."

"Oh, my, um, ah..." he stammered, "I am sorry, I should just put my foot in my mouth now."

"So can we please stop with the money comments now?"

"Yeah, I am sorry, I guess I pushed it too far," he apologized.

I feel so bad. I am so ashamed that I could not just suck it up and deal with the teasing, but he had pushed me over the edge. I was able to take all of the teasing until his comment about money buying happiness. I would give every dime, every material possession Foster and I have to have my Rosie back.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What is Reality?

Seriously?!?!? Sometimes I feel like people need to prioritize the things that are important in life. It is interesting how everyone is so focused on reality TV, what celebrity is cheating, which one is going to jail, and now Lebron leaving the Cavs. I don't know if it is the fact that I have gone through way too much lately to care about this, or if all of the sudden my world was rocked and now I see perspective on the important things in life.

Correct me if I am wrong, Lebron is still playing basketball right? It is not like he stopped like Michael Jordan did to try out a little baseball. He will still be playing, and the Cavs are not going anywhere either. So if you like Lebron, and you like the Cavs, GREAT, now you have two teams to watch. I do apologize to my mother and my Bean. My mom is absolutely in love with Lebron which in turn has made her fall in love with the entire Cavs team. She schedules her days around games during the basketball season, and looked forward to her Christmas gift of game tickets and a hotel stay in Cleveland every year. She has had so much going on in her life lately, and the Cavs WITH Lebron made her happy for a few hours at a time. And Bean has been a fan of both the Cavs and Lebron since she attended high school with him years ago. So I feel they actually may have a right to grieve. However, it is awfully sad to see people getting so upset they are burning jerseys in the streets of Cleveland. I like what Lebron said, "If the Cavs fired me, my family would not come and burn down the facilities."

He is being selfish, yes, and he has every right to be. It is his life, and he can live it the way he wants. He has a talent, and wants to win a championship. There is nothing wrong with that. I bet if everyone of these wayward Lebron fans were in his shoes they would do the same thing. That is one thing I have definitely learned in these past eleven weeks. Sometimes you have to be selfish. Sometimes you have to say to hell with what others think and to what others want, I need to do what is best for myself and my family. That is the same advice Lebron's mom gave him, and I am glad she did! She could have pressured him into staying in Cleveland and he probably would have done it, but obviously that is not what he wanted. He has been friends with Dwayne Wade for a long time, and he wants to play ball with him. Heck, I would want to do the same, I would want to go and play with my friend if I had the chance. Now Cleveland and everyone else is trying to make him feel bad and accuse him of the further downfall of Cleveland. That is not fair to him! No one should hold one man responsible for the fall of a whole city. The man is not God. They should be focusing on the amazing seven years he gave Cleveland.

My challenge to America, is instead of focusing on the stupid reality of everyone else, turn off the TV and make your own reality. It may stink at times, hurt at times, and may not be as action packed as Lebron's reality, but it is REAL life, and that is a beautiful thing.

The only thing that really concerns me with Lebron going to Miami, is what the heck am I going to get my mother for Christmas this year?!?!?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time for Bed..Another Night in the ER

I am exhausted, so this will be a little shorter than usual. Once again I sit with my mind reeling after an intense night in the ER. Unfortunately, a glass of wine is not on my diet, and I thought a rum and diet was a little extreme for eight in the morning, even if it is considered my night time. It is amazing how one patient can change the whole feel of the night.
We were having a pretty busy night, but at the same time were having our usual joking, easy going banter amongst the staff. We were getting the usual bellyaches, earaches, buttaches, etc. coming in the door, until about two a.m. All of that changed when we got a call over the medic box announcing a cardiac arrest en route to our facility. I wasn't paying attention to the details coming over the radio, so was shocked when I saw what rolled in. A twenty something woman lay lifeless on the gurney as the paramedics were performing CPR and other life saving procedures. I was sure it was one of our usual O/D patients, but was sadly mistaken. I cannot go into a bunch of detail, but she had just been at the doctor that morning and all labs and tests said she was fine but 12 hours later she was on her death bed and no one was able to figure out why. the doctors and nursing staff did an amazing job at trying to keep her alive. They brought her back numerous times, but ultimately she passed. This is the first death I have had to witness since Rosie's passing, and it was definitely getting to me. She is only a year older than me. It is crazy to think how life can change in the blink of an eye.
The doctor brought the family back to see her and say their goodbyes and it was in that moment that I had to step outside and get away. When the mother walked into the room, that all to familiar sound came immediately after. It was the sob from a broken heart. A cry so distinct that you can feel the pain and and anguish as it leaves her lips. The sound of a mother mourning her child's death. I had let out this same cry in the hospital room when they told me Rosie's heart had stopped. Unfortunately, I know what was running through her head. She was in total disbelief. This is not natural for her child to die before her, and she would gladly give her life for her child to live again. She will forever go around with a lump in her throat and a hole in her heart that will never heal. This mothers existence and life have been changed forever and she is going to have to learn to function in this world without her daughter.
I started to cry and had to step outside to compose myself. I felt a true sorrow for this woman I had never met, this mother who lost her daughter.
When I returned to the ER, I picked up my cell phone and had missed a text Foster had sent me earlier in the night,"I love you my love." It is amazing to me how he says the right thing at the right time, or in this case, I opened the text at the right time. These are the moments at work when I wish he was around, and his text made me realize that I am in his thoughts as much as he is in mine. I love you too my love.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Bug's Life

It is official, I have posted my first entry for my sister's blog. Here is the new link:
Feel free to join it too! It has a totally different feel to it, it is more cute and funny and adventurous!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Changing the World One Policy at a Time!

As I have mentioned numerous times, I am in the Ohio Army National Guard. I joined a little over 2 years ago while Foster was deployed. He inspired me. He really enjoyed his experience, his college was paid for, and he was thriving in the military. It really motivated me and made me want to put on the uniform also. I figured the perfect time for me to join is while he was deployed because it would help make the time pass faster, and would make me keep busy and keep my mind off of the fact that he was putting himself in harms way.

I thought for sure it was meant to be. I went into the recruiting office and specifically told them what I wanted to do and what bonuses I wanted. I wanted my $20,ooo bonus, I wanted them to pay for my school, pay off my student loans I had already accrued, and I wanted to get the kicker for the GI Bill. I specifically wanted to be a "combat medic", and was really disappointed when I saw "Health Care Specialist" as the explanation of the job. However, after further explanation from the recruiter, they have to use Health Care Specialist for two reasons. One, women cannot hold combat related jobs, and two, it sounded more appealing, aka, it tricked people into picking it. I breezed through the ASVAB, which is the aptitude test to enter, and came out with a score of a 97 which is extremely high. I made it through my physical with advice to lose a few pounds to make basic training easier. I told my recruiter I NEEDED to leave by May 21st in order to return home in time to prepare for Foster's return from Iraq. Most of my friends who had recently joined were not given ship dates until July, however, both my recruiter and I were SHOCKED when the lottery picked a ship date of May 20th. He had never seen anyone literally pick their ship date. I felt it was meant to be.

I worked really hard to get into shape. I diligently ran every day, preparing myself for the 2 mile run in the PT test. I practiced push-ups and sit-ups to get ready for those. I wanted to succeed and even excel in the Army.

I shipped out on May 20th for basic training and endured a grueling 60 days of getting yelled at, "smoked", and writing letters in order to communicate with my boyfriend in the "sandbox". I then went to AIT in San Antonio, TX. It was just as hard, if not worse than initial basic training, but at least I was able to have my cell phone which meant Foster could call me whenever he had a moment. It was amazing to hear his voice again and to have his encouragement to do my best and achieve my goals. If you remember, I told the story of how I achieved the distinguished honor grad, and received my first Army medal while I was still in training.

When I got home from training, I was so motivated to join my unit and take it by storm. I just knew they would be proud of me for my accomplishments in training, be a great unit, and I would learn and teach as much as I could. I came back in the best shape of my life with a tremendous amount of confidence, and I expected that the National Guard would help me maintain this. I was expecting to get the amazing experience out of the guard as Foster had for almost 10 years. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Not only did my command not congratulate me on my accomplishments in training, they didn't even acknowledge them. I came back from training with pneumonia and was made to take a PT before they would promote me, even though I had just taken one and excelled in it the month prior. Unfortunately, I was unaware that I could have taken a pass due to the pneumonia, and tried to run the test but miserably failed. I couldn't breathe. Thanks to this, I was unable to get a promotion. Then there was a huge change of command and most of the personnel were switched out which changed the whole morale of the unit. Our new command was not well liked, so the motivation of the other soldiers was non-existent. I would go to drill on the weekend and instead of doing cool Army training, it seemed like everyone was just sitting around gossiping and texting on their phones. I became so frustrated with the entire scene. I should have gone active duty.

Then our unit got rumors of a deployment. We were told we would be leaving in April for Iraq. The morale started to change, and we actually started to conduct some pretty good training. We were given the funds for new equipment, more schools, and more activities. I was enrolled in ROTC to become an officer, so I would not be going on the deployment with them. However, when I found out I was pregnant, my plans for my military career were cut short. Foster is in a rapid deployment unit with little notice when called. He is unable to be outside a certain radius of his base and we do not have a family care plan that covers a call at 4 am if I am out of town for training or a deployment and he is home alone with the kids. So we decided it would be best for me to take the honorable discharge due to pregnancy. This would give me the option to reenlist 2 years following my discharge if I chose to.

I started asking my chain of command for the paper work and regulations that helped me get the process rolling, however, no one seemed to know anything about the pregnancy "out". With the hustle and bustle of the upcoming deployment, I feel like I was kind of brushed under the rug. I feel like I was almost snubbed because I got pregnant before a deployment. But I was already not going because of ROTC, and it wasn't like I did it on purpose, I was on birth control when it happened. I had to do the research on my own, get the paperwork printed up through a Sergent who was not in charge of doing so, and hunt my commander down to counsel me and get my discharge started. All of this SHOULD have been done earlier on in the pregnancy, and I SHOULD have been out by now. To top things off, they were not treating me like a pregnant soldier. they still made me go to the weapons range and fire a M16 while on my stomach fo 3 hours while I was 12 weeks pregnant and wearing about 20-30 lbs of gear. They threw me in the kitchen where I was on my feet for 8 hours straight, and made me ride in Humvees that shook me around like a baby rattle. I am not blaming the Army for the loss of my daughter, but I find it interesting that the bleeding started only a few days after the weapons range incident.
I finally got all of the paper work signed and sent up to higher headquarters on April 18, 2010. Well, we lost Rosie 2 days later. According to Regular Army regulation, if a woman loses a child 16 weeks gestation or after, than she still has the option of getting out of the military. This is an obvious regulation, because the emotional strain and mental anguish that goes along with losing a child takes over your existence, and is not conducive to being a good soldier. However, I guess the Ohio Army National guard does not agree with this. they claim if you lose the child, you are still enlisted, and your discharge orders are cancelled. So, my discharge was supposed to be April 28, 2010, and now it has been cancelled. Period. End of story. Sorry, I get no choice in the matter.

To say I am a little stunned is an understatement. I cannot imagine who would think that losing a child would be any different for a woman in active duty and part time. I understand an active duty soldier is a soldier everyday, but National Guard soldiers are getting deployed left and right now a days, and we still have to train away from home. I would NOT be able to mentally handle a deployment right now. I would freak out if I had to leave my home and husband for that long. I cannot even imagine going to annual training for 2 weeks this August and being away from Foster and the safety of my home for that long. If I could take him with me, that might be a different story, but unfortunately, unlike his missions where I accompany him, he cannot go with me.

I had a meeting with my commander to go over everything that had happened wrong through this process, what could be done next time to rectify the situation, and what my future plans with the Guard are. If everything had been done properly, I would already be discharged, and would not have to deal with all of this. He acknowledged this, and apologized for the hold up with my paperwork. He said although it was not an excuse, the deployment and subsequent cancellation of the deployment took up so much of his and the command's attention, that they unintentionally let my situation slip through the cracks. However, being a Nurse Practitioner, he agreed with me and felt that the Guard regulation pertaining to stillbirths was very disturbing, and he is going to bring it up at the next big meeting. I told him I wanted to do everything I could to get that policy changed and give the women the option of still getting out if they so choose. He is 100% behind me. I do not know exactly how it will effect me, probably not at all, but at least no other woman will have to stress over the Army while they are grieving their child.
He has given me an excuse from annual training this summer, and is going to allow me to make it up by helping in the office for a couple of weeks. He also promised that as soon as I get pregnant next time, that he will personally help me with the paperwork and make sure I am out without any stress since my next pregnancy will be stressful enough. I don't know if I am completely satisfied with the outcome, but I am glad he apologized and I hope he does not make the same mistake with me or any other female soldier for that matter. I hope he learned from his mistakes. Until the next pregnancy, I will continue to try and be the best soldier I can be regardless of the lack of enthusiasm from the other members, and will TRY and make the best of the rest of my experience in the Guard, however, I have come to the conclusion that I will probably never have the amazing experience that Foster has had. Who knows what my future holds in the Army, Whether my path leads me to a career in the military, or I remain only military wife and give up my job as a soldier, I will embrace it with an open mind and open arms. I just wish that I still had the passion from when I was in training, and pray that my feelings about my unit and the Guard will change in the coming months.

My Bug's Life

After much contemplation, I have decided to create another blog, so keep your eyes open. I have mentioned my sister Bug numerous times in my entries, and decided after recent events, that she deserved a blog of her own. I know she will never write a blog of her own, she leaves the writing up to me, but most of her stories are totally blog worthy.
You had a small taste of the adventures she has on a daily basis when I told you the story of her naked horseback riding, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. She is one of the smartest women I know. She works in the NICU taking care of the really sick babies, but when it comes to common sense, she can sometimes be way off base and this leads to some pretty funny, sometimes scary stories.
I will not be posting on her blog NEARLY as often as I post on "Journey", but it will be worth looking out for posts! She has gotten herself into three funny situations this week alone!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cookouts, Groundhogs and Bridge Jumping

Well, it is official, we have made it through our first holiday without Rosie. The fourth means a lot to my family. I come from a family full of military service members. I have a retired Air force Colonel, a retired Navy pilot, decorated Army Lieutenant Colonel, Foster is an Army Captain, and my self and many of my cousins are currently scattered amongst the different branches. Independence Day signifies not only or nations independence, but also those who fought, died, and continue to fight for the freedoms that we all take for granted every day. My family and I always have a huge celebration on Fourth of July weekend. this year we had been planning on celebrating the 4th with family and friends at Mama JJ's house in New York. We had been planning for this to be the weekend that David and I took a trip with a 2 month old Rosie to NY to meet her extended family. Before losing both Mama JJ and Rosie, we had joked that Rosie and Mama JJ could hang out together because neither one of them would have an immune system.

The JJs' house is one that holds a place in my memory for summer holidays. The kids would be in the backyard playing in pools and with toys while the adults hung out in the front yard playing guitars, drinking beer, and listening to bands like Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, and Tracey Chapman. We would play volleyball in the front yard, eat until we couldn't move, and watch as Papa JJ and my dad set off fireworks. It was going to be like old times this Fourth.

However, as you know, Mama JJ passed and instead of going to NY to celebrate, my parents decided to hold our fourth of July festivities at the farm. The whole day was bitter sweet. It was great to spend time with friends and family but I could not get how this weekend should have been out of my mind.

As soon as his feet hit the ground, Foster was on a mission to kill his ground hog for the day. I hung out with my mom and dad while we waited for the other guests to arrive. Some of JJ's family came, my aunt and uncle, a couple cousins, and a few family friends. We drank, ate WAY too much food, and Foster helped successfully set off a great firework show without setting anything on fire or taking out a spectator. I won fifty dollars by winning not one, but two texas hold'em tournaments. I was so ecstatic, because of all the times I have played against my father and my uncle, I have never beaten both of them. I usually come in second to one of them. However, last night I put them both out with one very lucky hand.

It was funny, because I had no cash to put in at the beginning, so I had to borrow ten dollars from Foster. He was hesitant because he doesn't agree with gambling for money. So it took me a bit, but I convinced him into coughing up ten dollars to let me play against the guys. You can imagine how thrilled he was when I handed him his ten dollars back and still had an extra fifty in my pocket. I think I impressed him with my mad poker skills. Maybe now he won't be so anxious about me losing money if I go to Vegas.

Rowdy and Reagan had an amazing time and are currently out for the count. They played with their brother Cleatus and Mama Jellybean. Of course Reagan is missing from this picture because she runs from the camera. We took them out to the covered bridge and taught them all to swim. Foster, Bug and Ky all jumped off the bridge but I could not get the guts to do it. I don't know why, I have jumped off this particular bridge numerous times, but the water was rally shallow, and I was afraid of breaking something. So I played with the pups and tried to avoid the water snakes.

This weekend was proof that yes, I can have fun on the holidays, but Rosie will forever be thought of on these family events, because she will from now on be the missing link.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sailing the River

I had my MRI on Friday. First off, I became a pin cushion for the tech. I had gone for a run in the morning with Mrs. Prince, we are trying to work off the baby weight. I tried to drink as much water as I could to replenish the fluid I lost in the 4 miles I jogged/walked but I guess it was not enough. It took the tech three attempts to finally get a viable IV started on me to administer the contrast. She said if she didn't get it the third time, she was going to send me home and make me come back in in a few days. I am glad she got it, because I would have been very frustrated if I had to go in a third time to get the MRI. So as I was laying there through the exam, I started to wonder how the heck I was able to sleep through my last MRI.
When I was in 68W training (the medic school for the Army), I had some major shoulder pain that ended up being a damaged nerve resulting in a condition they call "Rucksack Palsy", or Parsonage Turner Syndrome. Anyway, before they were able to tell what was wrong, the Army doc ordered an MRI of my shoulder. As I lay in the big noisy machine on Friday, I wondered how the heck I slept through the entire 45 min exam the first time. Yes, they gave me ear plugs my first time, but even with the ear protection on this time, the machine sounded like a jackhammer drilling away. I realized I must have been exhausted during training.
Now that I reflect back, one thing the Army taught me, in addition to shooting and running, clearing a building, and saving a fellow soldier, is to sleep anywhere, anytime. I even learned how to sleep standing up. I remember falling asleep on the rifle range while the other half of the soldiers were firing their M16s, I guess the rat-a-tat-tat of the weapons was an interesting type of white noise. Of course when I was up at 4 am every morning and lucky to get to bed by 10pm, I worked out and trained all day and even occasionally in the middle of the night when a Drill Sargent felt like being extra mean, I learned really quickly to catch a wink of sleep whenever the opportunity arose. I must have really needed a good nap when I was in the MRI machine back then, because there was no way I could have slept through it yesterday.
The coolest part of the MRI yesterday was that they had a pair of head phones I could wear and listen to music through the process. I asked her to play a little country music. I love country. People make fun of it, but I feel country is a main stream kind of gospel music. Most of the music is focused on family, God, love, and even loss. Even if you don't like country, I guarantee you there is a country song that you can relate to. One of my favorite artists came on toward the end of the exam, Garth Brooks. I have always loved his music, even before I became a country fan. All of the sudden, a song of his that I have loved for years took on a whole new meaning. "The River". There is a verse that goes:

There's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my captain
I can make it through them all...yes

I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

I started to tear up. It was so true. I have take probably the biggest fall I will ever have to face in life this past April. I have given my burdens and grief up to God and asked for his strength and trusted him to be my captain through the rest of this journey. I will continue to sail wherever this river and this wind blows me. And I will not give up until he calls me up with him.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

It has been a while since I have done any kind of update about our darling Rowdy and Reagan. Rowdy is growing fast, but yet still seems to stay pretty small, which is a good thing for a Sheltie. Regan was probably twice his size at her age and we were desperately hoping for a smaller sized Sheltie this time around. He has an amazing personality on him and he is a HAM for the camera!. He is full of energy, and finds ways to make us smile every day. The potty training has been going pretty well. Every once in a while he has an accident in the house and it always seems to be in the same place, on our new carpet! I was not really a huge deal until this week when he got a bout of the runs, and he had three little spots in the formal living room. I was so grossed out and even after scrubbing, I still could not get all of the stain out. Do any of you have any suggestions on how to get stains out of carpet? He recently graduated puppy preschool. It is a fun socialization class that teaches them to overcome their fears and get used to different objects like vacuum cleaners and skateboards that they may come in contact with. We bring him into the class, introduce him as Rowdy and then of course he sleeps through the entire thing, way to live up to your name buddy. It is fun for Foster and I also because we get to see a lot of other puppies and get to watch them play while talking about common problems people encounter with new puppies. We found that his "big dog" behavior only comes out with familiar dogs. He dominates my sister, mom, mother in law and sister in law's dogs, but when he came in contact with strange dogs, he became the submissive one. As if he lost his courage.

Reagan is my sweet girl and she has really been worrying me lately. When we got pregnant, she seemed very excited, and as my tummy grew bigger she would lay her head on it and Rosie would kick her. When we lost Rosie, Reagan knew something was wrong. She seemed to be really depressed and became very overprotective of Foster and I. She started bad habits such as barking when people got too close to the house. She would mope around with me and would lay her head on my belly with a longing look in her eyes. I firmly believe that she was feeling all of the emotions and loss that Foster and I were. We were under the impression that if we got a puppy she would perk up just like us. This seemed to be the case for a while. She loved her new little shadow. It is a constant game of monkey see monkey do between the two of them. I spent all day with the two of them while I was home from work. I would have Reagan time and Rowdy time in order to teach Rowdy manners and to make sure Reagan knew she was still loved. Foster and I continued to allow Reagan to sleep in our bed with us while Rowdy has to sleep in his crate downstairs. We made it a point to shower Reagan with extra love to remind her she was still our favorite. Then I went back to work.
She became an unruly child the minute I went back to work! We usually would leave Reagan loose in the house because she had outgrown her chewing habits while we kept Rowdy in his crate. This worked for about the first 3 shifts I worked, then all of the sudden she went crazy. She started with little things. First it was pieces of paper, pieces of cardboard, and a book. We would get mad and yell at her. She would look guilty and skitter off to her safe place under the kitchen table. She would fool us into thinking she felt bad and would never do it again. Then she started chewing the base boards and the wall!!! I came home from work at 6:25Am. Foster had left the house at 5:45am,a this is what she did in a matter of forty minutes:
So we decided to get her a separate, bigger crate so we could have them both in their own crates when we leave, but if we go stay at someone's house, we can bring the big crate and fit both dogs in it. It is the same crate that my sister has used for her dog for 2 years. It is meant to hold a 75 pound dog so we figured it would be perfect for our 35 pound dog. Well, we were wrong.
The first night we put her in the crate there was a pretty big thunderstorm and when we returned home we found Reagan at the front door to greet us. When we went down to the basement to see how she got out of her crate, we were expecting to find that we had forgotten to close one of the latches on the crate, but instead we found one whole side of the crate laying on the floor. She had some how accomplished busting through and breaking the welded metal of the crate that is supposed to withhold a 75 pound dog. We felt bad for her because we thought that she had gotten scared during the thunderstorm. We rigged the gate shut with zip ties, and decided to try again.
A couple of days later, we put her back in the crate while we were at church and shopping. When we returned home, Reagan had busted out of the other side of the crate and had chewed up some of the paper and cardboard that was in the basement. We zip tied that side to reinforce it. However, even zip ties were no match for Reagan's brute strength. We came home after being out for about an hour, and she had busted out of the crate, found a cardboard box, chewed it, and then took Foster's Army Cavalry Stetson out of the box and destroyed it. Foster is the one who discovered the mess first, and needless to say he was livid. I drove up into the driveway, and saw him out on the front porch. By the look on his face I thought someone had died. "What happened?" I asked.
"Go look," He responded.
"No, you are scaring me, tell me. Did something happen to one of them!?!"
"No, they are fine, but she destroyed my Stetson."
I ran downstairs and sure enough there were pieces of felt, brass buttons that decorated his hat, and cardboard everywhere. I turned around and saw a picture hung on my wall that was not there before. "Why is that there?" I asked Foster.
"Well, I got mad, and did not want to take it out on the dog, so I thought it looked like a good enough thing to punch, but then I felt bad and put the picture over it to hide the hole," he said guiltily, "I am so sorry baby."

"It is okay, I am just glad that wasn't the dog!"
"You are not mad?"
"No sweetheart, you were upset," If you remember when I told you about Foster, he very rarely gets mad or emotional, so when he does, I am not one to hinder that or reprimand him for getting mad. He would NEVER hurt me or the animals, so if he needs to punch a wall, whatever, I just hope he doesn't punch too many more, cause this is what it did and it went ALL the way through to the other side.
So we went back to putting Reagan back in her crate. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trusting her by herself in the house for 15 minutes while I went to work and Foster was on his way home, and her "little" hole turned into this:
Ugh! So now we cannot trust her on her own. I wonder if she is depressed, or if she is having separation anxiety. At first Foster thought it was because Rowdy was here, and we were not spending enough time with her, but we are and she loves her puppy. I wonder if it is all the change. I honestly think it is because I returned to work. She really got bad when I went back to work. She makes me feel so guilty. I hope we don't have to put her on any puppy antidepressants. My poor pup. Maybe the trip to the farm this weekend will do her some good too! We just need a nice relaxing weekend as a family!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thanks and Praise

Thank you guys. I am amazed at how blessed Foster and I are with friends and family! You guys are what have helped us through. Like I said don't worry, I will be fine. I was warned about these moments, and as one of my dear friends said, "Healing happens in that dark place." I embrace these dark places, I "ride the wave of grief", because it is in these sad and dark moments that the healing does happen and I can feel Rosie wrapping her arms around me trying to console me. I wake up every morning (or afternoon like and thank God for the many gifts I do have. You know what they say, Thank, Praise and Then Ask. So I thank God for all of you, for Foster, for the home I have. I praise God for all of the amazing things he has created, like the beautiful lives that are about to enter this world, and the happy, healthy little boy for whom I have absolutely fallen in love with (Baby Prince), and then ask Him to lead me in the right direction, give me strength, give me hope, and IF it is in His plan, give Foster and I the family we have prayed for. I told Foster about the 0.0 Hcg from the blood draw yesterday and he was actually sad about it. I asked, "Are you disappointed? You were really hoping I was pregnant weren't you?"

He replied "Every month I will hope you are, and will probably be disappointed if you are not."
I told him, "Don't worry, Bug, JJ and I are heading to Vegas in September, and you know what happened last time," We fought the entire time I was in Vegas last time, when I got home we made up in Nashville, and next four weeks we found out we were expecting. Maybe a trip to Nashville is in order too! Needless to say, I did not expect Foster to be sad about the BFN (in Baby Loss World that means Big Fat Negative).

I DO have another blog to finish and post today, an update about our ornery little dogs, but I have to go pick up Bug and help her get her car out of the tow lot. Oh the life of Bug, that is an entirely different story. I could create an entirely new blog off her adventures! Enjoy this beautiful day, and once again, thank you all for your love and support.

Broken Heart, Broken Dreams

This is not going to be an easy blog to read, for any of you, so if you want to leave now I completely understand.

Since this past weekend I feel like I have taken a few steps back. I thought I was doing pretty well in my grieving process and moving on pretty well. I was warned about these "dark times" that will pop up out of no where and rock you to the core by other Angel Baby Mommies, but I thought I would be immune, I thought that I would be ok. Well, this week I have not been. Every moment of every day I have been thinking of Rosie. I have been thinking of all the things I should be doing with her and all of the things Foster and I will not get to be a part of.

We will never get to see her smile for the first time and see the dimples I hope she got from her daddy and me. We will never get to see her take her first steps and soothe her when she cries after her first fall. We will never get to yell at Reagan when she steals the cookie out of Rosie's hand as she toddles across the kitchen floor with sippy cup in one hand and cookie in the other. We will never get to kiss her in front of her preschool classroom on her first day of school and pick her up after school and hear about all of her adventures. Foster will never get to help her learn how to ride her bike and teach her how to play soccer. We will never get to help her learn to drive a car. We will never get to watch her graduate high school, help her move into her dorm room for college, graduate college and get her first job. We will never get to see her go on her first date and console her first broken heart. Foster will never get to walk her down the isle and give her to the man of her dreams. I will never get to watch her and advise her as she carries new life inside of her. We will never get to meet the grandchildren she could have given us. i will never get to hear the words "I love you" from her mouth.

We had so many hopes and dreams for our little girl's future, and when we found out that our precious daughter had died, all of those dreams died with her.

I know it has been ten weeks. There are people out there who think that you should be "over it by now." All I can say is I will NEVER be over this. Every holiday, every vacation, every event will never feel the same again. There will always be something missing, and that something will be my first born. If I am blessed with more children the only way they will get to know their older sister is through what Foster and I tell them. They will never get to share a room with her, never get her hand me downs, never get to learn from her mistakes, and never get the chance to follow in her footsteps.

Yes, and I purposefully said "If I am blessed with more children." I know to all of you, it looks to be no problem to us being able to have healthy children, and this may very well be true, but in my mind, I have lost my only child. I have no clue if I will or even CAN have live children. I am envious of those Angel Mommies who have living children before their angel, because at least they know they can have children. I know I have one of the best Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctors in the state, but until I am holding a screaming child in my arms, there will always be a small part of me that wonders if that is even in my future.

I apologize if I have been distant. I have cut phone calls pretty short, if I answered them at all. I have made lame excuses for not wanting to do things with people this week. I am sorry, but I will make it up to you when I get out of this funk. I have also neglected my blog because all I can think to write about is these sad emotions, but that is when I realized I had to write them down, get them off my chest, because that is why I started this blog, was to welcome you all into my life. If I leave you out of these dark times, that is not fair to you and not honest of me.

I can't help but think of how cruel it is that when I should be walking my daughter in her stroller with Foster during our evening walks, I am instead walking our new puppy. We have a family photo for our church coming up on July 16th, and instead of me, Foster, Rosie and Reagan, it will be Rowdy sitting in my lap. I love my puppy, don't get me wrong, he has been a great source of smiles and if we had not lost Rosie, we would not have this amazing little guy, but I would have Rosie!

Thinking it would help give us a little hope, I made a phone call this week. After Mama JJ's passing, Foster and I were inspired by her generosity to look into fostering children. We have a big open home, the means, and the hearts and love to give to children who do not have the perfect family lives. I called the city for an information packet. They asked me all the basic questions, what we did for a living, where we lived, if we were married, if we had any children. Then she asked me a question I was not expecting, "Have you lost any children or had problems with fertility?" I answered the question honestly, because they do background and medical background checks, and I figured if I lied now, it would bite me in the butt later. I told her we lost our little girl in April. Her upbeat attitude did a complete one-eighty, and her tone got a little condescending. She told me that I had to take time to deal with my grief, and they would not even start the process with us for at least six months. I understand they have protocol, and that they are just making sure that we are able to emotionally handle having children in our house, but who the heck is she to tell me how long I need to grieve?!?!?! This ticked me off a little. I asked her when the next classes were, she said September. I asked her how long they took, she said 8 weeks. I said perfect! By the end of the classes we would be past our 6 month point. She said that even if we took the classes, there was no guarantee we would even be approved to foster because of our loss!!! How stupid is that?!?!? They will approve these people who beat and abuse foster kids and end up on the news, but because we lost a child, we may not even be approved. In my mind, we would be the perfect couple, because we would love these children so much because we appreciate the little life they are. I kept my cool on the phone, but when I got off, I started crying and shaking. I was mad, upset, devastated. It was as if we had had another loss all over again. Our hope was dashed, at least for the time being.

One of my friends is within weeks of giving birth to her baby girl, and another friend not too far behind. I found out this past week that another friend of mine just found out she was pregnant. Now, I am obviously very excited for these women but it saddens me too. Because once again I feel left behind. I feel like they are getting their perfect little families and Foster and I have our new reality instead. I can't help but feel a little jealousy towards these friends, and I HATE that I feel this way!

I had a little glimmer of hope this week. I was officially late on my period. Although I was realistically happy that the pee tests were coming back negative, because I have my MRI on Friday and I want my new doctor to have an arsenal full of knowledge to help with my next pregnancy, I could not help but be a little excited that maybe we would be expecting our little rainbow baby so soon. I asked a favor of one of the ER docs to order a blood draw so I could be absolutely positive I was not pregnant before my MRI since I still did not have my monthly visitor. He gladly did it, and when I called lab to get the results a half an hour later, I must say that I did have a little bit of disappointment flow through me when she said the HCG level was 0.0.

I know that we don't always get what we want when we want it and God always has a way of making things work the way they are supposed to, but I am just praying that His path for me has a little bit of happiness down it soon.

I am sorry to all of you who may still be reading this that it was a little on the sadder side. Please do not worry about me, because this is all part of the natural grieving process. Thank you all for your support and love, because without all of you, I have a feeling I would be in a lot darker of a place. Hopefully with a fun filled weekend in paradise (aka the farm), I will come back refreshed and happier. The farm and my family always have a way of making me feel better!

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