Monday, January 25, 2010

Welcome to your mortality, Mrs. Bray...welcome!


I am my father's daughter. It's no big surprise that I'm obsessed with taking pictures...filming everything Corbin and Hudson do...or that I need to have "something" going on at all times. It's no big shocker that I create projects for no apparent reason...roll hard candy in my mouth when I eat it...or that every time we go to leave the house..I suddenly have to go to the bathroom. I swear it's not on purpose. But best of all...I inherited those ears and that nose. Got to love that those are the only two things on your body that never stop growing! Thanks Papa Shah...thanks a lot ;)

After I had Hudson, I started having chest pains. Not sharp shooting ones that radiate down my left arm, just a "tightening" in my chest. Mostly uncomfortable and annoying, but alarming none the less to a 28 year old mom with two very small children. I chalked it up to hormones for a while, but when it carried on for a few weeks, I thought it might be time to contact someone before I lay unconscious on the floor with two small people who have no idea how to distinguish between the numbers 9 and 1 on a telephone. So I call up my OB...I know..not sure why I thought calling a "privates" doc about chest pains was a good idea..but I guess I had just been dealing with them for so long (seeing as I apparently "like" to get pregnant) and thought it might be hormonal that I really didn't have any other choices. Of course, the nurse tells me that I need to call someone else. She was very nice about it and didn't blatantly call me an idiot or ask when the last time I saw them use a stethoscope was...so I nicely asked for a referral, which she kindly gave me.

So I call up the Family Practice one floor below the OB. I explained my symptoms to the nurse on the other line and she tells me to come in immediately...I mean within 15 minutes. If you are ever in a hurry at any doctor's office, just use the words chest and pain in the same sentence...well, in the same paragraph...ok, if you ever use those two words to a doctor...the same doctor... you're golden. I don't encourage it..I'm just saying. Corbin insisted on going to see "mommy's doctor" with me...probably so he could finally be on the other side of the table. The nurse was awesome with him..she even tore off part of the paper on the table for him to draw on while she was checking my vitals. Complete with my very first EKG, might I add...not sure if I should cash in my bragging rights on that one..but whatever. I had an EKG ;) It came back normal and when the nurse was finally done, she said the doctor would be in shortly...right after she made a chicken out of a glove for Corbs...she really was awesome! So the doc comes in and asks about my symptoms...he makes some comments and based on my low blood pressure..he determines that I'm dehydrated. PHEW!! I'm not going down today...thank god! But he continues on to ask about my family history...the fact that my dad has had 3 heart attacks..2 of which, were in his 50s...and my mom has had TIAs. Plain as day he says...wow, your family history sucks! Thanks, dude...like I didn't notice. Anyway, just for precautionary reasons...he orders a stress echo.

After several weeks of anticipation and a few hours of shear panic, I go to the cardiologist. Have I mentioned that I'm only 28 yet? Yes..I have a cardiologist. I was definitely feeling closer to 68 at this moment, but I have two new people to think about, so I was just following orders. The nurse explains the process, she puts me in a gown, uses an emory board to scrape me up, and adds all those fashionable white sticky squares all over my chest. I suddenly felt like I had forgotten my oxygen tank somewhere..urgh! She explained this elaborate way to get on and off the treadmill fast enough for her to take pictures of my heart with an ultrasound and then we began. Trust me..an ultrasound is WAY more fun when you a listening to a smaller someone's heart...this, not so fun! First level....seriously....the treadmill was so inclined, I already had to hold onto the bar to not fall off. The goal was to get my heart rate to at least 160 and as close to 190 as possible. AKA...as close to death without dying...oh joy, sign me up! Bring on the stress, lady. Every 3 minutes...the incline got higher and the treadmill sped up. I was doing well up until 9 minutes. At about 9 1/2 minutes I finally hit 160 and she took my blood pressure for the 500th time...bad news, ladies and gentlemen...bad news. She asked me if I was ok and if I could keep going. I said I was fine, but right after my blood pressure flashed on her little machine..she stopped the treadmill immediately and had me lie down on the table in this strange horizontal yoga like pose, she dropped the middle of the table out, and was frantically trying to get a picture of my heart. I had no idea what the hell was going on and they just kept asking if I was ok. Um...I would feel better if you stopped acting like I was going to be lying unconscious on the floor at any second, but at least these two people could actually dial the correct numbers to get me help. One nurse left the room to ask the cardiologist if it was ok for me to LEAVE?!?! While the other nurse explained that my blood pressure peaked at 164/107 and I had extra heartbeats the entire time I was walking. Lovely! Well, the nurse came back and said the doc said I could leave....and just like that..they sent me on my way to wait for my GP to call with the results. Welcome to your mortality, Mrs. Bray..hope you don't die on the way home...

Two days doesn't seem like a long time, but in the purgatory type limbo I was currently living in..it was an eternity. It took TWO freakin' days for that doctor to call me with the results. TWO DAYS! I didn't speak for two days...horrible images of my children growing up without a mother flashing before my eyes...TWO DAYS! I know I'm dramatic..but seriously...I moped around for two days. Richard constantly asking if I was ok..if I wanted to talk about it. What was there to talk about...28, cardiologist, 164/107, and the image of some psycho bimbo teaching my babies the proper way to blow a smoke ring as ol' papa Bray revs up his brand new Harley...I think the uncomfortable silence was legit!

Finally, my GP calls with the results. He tells me after I answer the phone that he has them and I say..uh oh. He says No uh oh..they are great. Um...WTF...I ask him if he's sure he called the right person. I'm beyond confused. He goes on to say the cardiologist's report states that I have normal heart function with no signs of ischemia. English please....aka...my heart is not failing. Well, that I could have told him. So I ask about the crazy a*# nurses that made me think I would die if I even lifted my right pinky toe and after several minutes of going back and forth, it turns out that...you ready for this....wait for it....I'm out of shape. Yes. You heard me..the 28 year old that just had 2 children in 2 years...was only a good 10 weeks out of actually giving birth at this point...is "out of shape". TWO DAYS! I could have killed and kissed that man all at the same time!


So it turns out that if I'm ever offered an envelope carrying the day I will die in it...I should politely decline. My father had his third heart attack when Corbin was 6 weeks old. He coded right in front of us while the nurse was trying to take an ultrasound of his heart. In the crazy yoga pose. It's all I could picture as this nurse frantically dropped the middle out of the table and ran the same type machine over my chest. I can't imagine my life if something had happened to Papa Shah that day. If Corbin never got to jump on the bed with his Bapu or have Bapu come play in his makeshift tent....if he never got to see Hudson's smile or make him laugh. So I wonder who they would become if something happened to me. I tend to get lost in the details (have you noticed?? Ha ha). In the day to day...did Hudson nap at the right time..did I feed him when I was supposed to...is Corbin watching too much tv? But that's not what their stories will be. Not the things that will really shape who they become. Richard and I plan on moving to a better school district before Corbin starts kindergarten. I wonder if he'll remember this house. If he loves it as much as I do. My story is here. We got engaged in front of the "sold" sign...we slaved over the beadboard in the nursery...I took my hormones out on the artist that painted the mural. Will Corbin ever say...I lived in that house for X years and then we moved to the place where I grew up? I'm sure. That will be his story. Bapu is part of his story. I am part of his story and my father is very much a part of mine. I can't imagine my life without him, but I can't imagine who I would be without standing there as they took an ultrasound of his heart..then 2 years later of mine. How much I would take for granted. I recently jumped on a treadmill..hardcore...to get "in shape". Not only because it's what you are supposed to do, but because I have a responsibility to my children to be a part of their story. To help shape that story into one that they will love looking back on. My father did the same...works out everyday...it's the reason he's still here and I am who I am. He'll never know how much that was appreciated and someday, I hope my children will feel the same way.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Younger now than we were before...


All good things must come to an end. Take a vacation for instance....you spend all that time planning, packing, driving there...and in what seems like a matter of seconds...you are driving home, unpacking, and back to the daily grind! Then there's that fantastic chocolate fondue at the Melting Pot. You "save room" during the cheese (unless you are me..man I love cheese), "hold off" on the last bit of the main course (unless you are Richard...or any man for that matter), then before you know it..you have a crazy amount of cheesecake, a few Oreo covered marshmallows, but no gooey goodness. Boo! I'm sure the proverb isn't referring to my desperate annual need to put my toes in the sand or add a few inches to my waistline....I'm pretty sure it is referring to life, death...and possibly the 30 year marriage wrecked by that skanky 20 something secretary who can't keep her eyes off the large dollar signs on her bosses back pocket, but as 2009 comes to an end so does an era. It's not quite the end of my 20s, but definitely the end of my youth!

So we have hit the six week mark in Hudson's short life. I have to admit that it has been HUGELY different than the first six of Corbin's. We are definitely waiting for the other shoe to drop, but trying to enjoy what has been our "easy" baby so far (knock on wood). He is eating us out of house and home, but it's the "cheap" stuff, not the golden milk! Who could possibly ask for more than that. Not me, that's for sure. Corbin has gotten a little more jealous in recent days, but still kisses on his baby brother ALL.THE.TIME...aka...putting all his weight on poor Hudson's belly and practically eating his face. Other than that, there isn't much to report.

It's such a weird feeling to make the last decision of your youth. To bring the string of milestones left in your life to a complete end. No I didn't plan on anymore kids. No I don't ever want to be pregnant again. But no I don't want this to be done. You wait your entire life for these things to happen. You imagine what it will be like. And then it's over. You find the love of your life. You fall in love. You get engaged. You plan a wedding, buy a house, and start a family. It's exciting. It's unpredictable. It's the things you pretend when you are 5 years old. Now I'm standing on the other side. Looking back on what has happened in the past 6 years. It happened so fast. I feel like I'm on this runaway train and I've got my hands out the window desperately trying to grab onto something to slow it down. Like nails on a chalkboard. 5 seconds ago I was lying in bed watching these small little kicks from inside my belly, laughing about what our baby boy would sound like when he said daddy, what his name would be, and where he would go to school (definitely UGA!). 10 seconds later I was singing "You are my sunshine" to Corbin and 5 seconds after that his face changed to Hudson. This can't be it. Sure...if we never had anymore kids..we would get our lives back, get back to us. I could find what it is I've always wanted to do...my next definition. I could go to the bathroom without any visitors. Drink my morning tea before it got cold. Watch a channel that doesn't sing about wanting a candy cane for Christmas. But what if you hesitate when you go to summon someone to "fix" it ;) (Richard that is). It sounds like the perfect idea until there's no going back.

I truly believe that your gut tells you which direction your life should take you. What you'll be and who you will love. And apparently when it's time to throw in the towel on procreating ;) Is this a defining moment in my life? A defining decision? Or just another moment in a string of best days in my life? I'm beginning to understand what it means to just let your life happen. You can't anticipate the next number you land on in this game of Life. Having children is seeing the steps you take in life from the other perspective, from an adult perspective....wisdom is like watching your child's life from the top of the Empire State Building...you can see a little further into their future than they can. Being a parent is constantly trying to stop that crash on 5th street from happening while the car your kid is driving is still down on Main. It's in that instant that your baby will bring back that element...that innocence you lose when you experience all the events that make you "wise". My type A mind craves the perspective you find from the top of that building. The answer to questions we don't get answers to. The ability to suck the shock out of the best surprises...no pun intended, Mom ;) To change the inevitable. But does that mean I want to miss out on the joy or the lessons in the unexpected? Plan out every minute of the rest of my life? Sounds pretty boring. So here's my New Year's resolution...to let go of those reins. To give into unpredictable. To come down off the ledge of that building. To truly be young. Will we have another baby? Not today. Will we bounce around the living room with our boys the next time Ellen dances up her stairs? Go to Monticello's on the anniversary of the day we started dating? Plan a trip to put my toes in the sand? Without a doubt. So many people get lost in the details of things that are out of our control. I can be one of them. Worry more about the outcome rather than the steps it takes to get there. So here's to reinventing my youth.. but let's be honest..here's to the first step in fulfilling my resolution... do something about the things I can "control" today...a birth ;) So Dr. Morris..let's order that up! Ha ha!