Sunday, February 19, 2012

four years ago...

i was beginning to think i would be pregnant FOREVER.

our baby boy was due on february 20, 2008.  i had spent the nine months of my pregnancy in a perpetual state of illness....and not just the typical morning sickness and aches and pains.  debilitating migraines, unexplained syncope and dizziness.  so when the end of my pregnancy neared, i was extremely anxious for the baby to come.

and i wanted to meet my precious baby boy and be a mother for the first time.

february 17, i began having contractions.  inconsistent but strong and painful.  i passed them off as worse-than-usual braxton-hicks contractions, since i started having those when i was about 13 weeks along.

february 18 came.  contracts still inconsistent.  sometimes five minutes apart, sometimes an hour apart.  that evening hubby and i had some friends over for dinner, then the boys played video games while we girls sat on the couch and talked.

contractions started being consistent and increasingly painful.

i contracted all night long.  they got worse and worse.  i thought i was going to die.  at 2 am, we went to the hospital.  and i had only dilated to 2cm.  an hour walking the hospital later, and i was at 3cm and they admitted me.  epidural several long hours later....and it was an even longer day.  i was tired, but couldn't sleep.  uncomfortable.  anxious and scared.  baby's heart rate dropped with every contraction...sometimes setting off the alarms, which was terrifying. 

i began to push around 3pm.  that baby just did not come.  after almost an hour and a half of pushing, doctor finally got out the forceps (OUCH) and our sweet baby boy was born.

february 19, 2008
4:20 pm
8 pounds, 1.5 ounces
20.5 inches long

healthy and beautiful, even if he was covered in white slime and blood.  mommy and daddy cried with joy.  daddy got to cut the cord, and i got to cuddle my sweet baby while the doctor stitched me up.  my epidural wore off, and it hurt, but my little one was gripping my finger and it was all okay.  everything in my life changed the moment he took his first breath.

being a mother is the most amazing, awe-inspiring thing i could imagine.  today we celebrated little buddy's fourth birthday.

today my sweet boy curled up on my lap, looked at me and said, "i'm glad you're my mommy."

oh, my little man, no one is more glad that i am your mommy than i am.

happy birthday, my little buddy. 

i'll love you forever,
i'll like you for always.
as long as i'm living,
my baby you'll be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

valentine's day in the cornnut household

yesterday was the day of love.
happy valentine's day!

while a number of people (including hubby) grumble about how valentine's day is a stupid holiday invented just for the greeting card/flower/candy companies to make money, i happen to like valentine's day.  for several reasons.

decorations.  let's face it.  decorations are a plus for any holiday.  i, being the nutcase that i am, LOVE decorating for any reason.  valentine's day is no exception.  (here, enjoy a photo collage of a few of my decorations.)  most of these items were made by me.  the wreath i made with dollar store ribbon, wire garland and vine wreath. the conversation hearts and the "be mine" blocks i made at my mom's house, where she and my sisters made some also.  the paper conversation hearts my adorable kids helped me make.  you can tell by the scribbles.  we made a ton of these to put down the stairs along the railing.  the LOVE banner i made with the help of my mom.  the conversation hearts in the vase...vase i already had, dollar store flowers, leftover candy from two years ago.  (i have two of these.)  window clings on the mirror in my living room, and the adorable hedgehog is courtesy of wal-mart.

flowers.  i LOVE flowers.  flowers are the BEST.  i love GETTING flowers.  not just on valentine's day, but, well, that's pretty much the only time i get them, because flowers are expensive.  so valentine's day is GREAT because hubby buys me pretty FLOWERS.  like the ones pictured below.  mini-roses.  aren't they gorgeous?

jewelry.  hubby also buys me pretty jewelry.  this year he got me a pretty necklace and earring set with teardrop-shaped purple stones.  i've worn them two days in a row.  and i LOVE jewelry.  (take a look at my bathroom counter if you don't believe EVERYWHERE.  but don't really look, because it is a mess.  really.)

chocolate.  seriously.  need i say more?  okay, i will.  CHOCOLATE.  lots and lots of it.  CHOCOLATE.  yum.  hubby got me one of those giant symphony candy bars.  chocolate and toffee.  unfortunately, it is not pictured, because i ate it.  and it was DELICIOUS.

kids.  kids are the best, year-round.  kids on holidays even better.  my kids were thrilled with the teddy bears hubby and i got them.  and they were by far the most adorable little valentines the world ever did see in their wal-mart shirts.  (especially little buddy.  everyone commented on that shirt.)

valentine's cards.  while we're on the subject of kids, let's talk about valentines.  my kids LOVED making valentines this year.  i cut out construction paper hearts, they used the glue sticks and crayons and voila.  beautiful cards.  since little buddy is now in preschool, he also had a class party where he got to hand out valentines.  thank you pinterest for the great ideas.  (apologies for the big black boxes, but i had to block out little buddy's name.)

the cards for the kids were so fun to make.  we took a hotwheels car with tread on the tires, ran it through black acrylic paint then across the cardstock.  doublestick tape to hold the little cars on.  they say:
"you're a WHEELY good friend!"
"you make my heart RACE!"
and "i'll never TIRE of your friendship!"

for the teachers, i got some inexpensive lotion, traced little buddy's hands on cardstock and taped them on.  they say, "miss so-and-so, you deserve a hand!"

greeting cards.  technically this could fall under the category of "valentine's cards," but we'll keep it separate.  hubby got me a cute charlie brown card to go with my fantastic gifts.  but i have to say i was extremely pleased with the card i found for him.

background: i love my husband's rear end.  this embarrasses him.  (sorry, honey!)  but the truth is, i tease him about it all the time, because he really does have the most attractive bottom i have ever seen.  (i could even tell you a story about the first time i realized what a nice butt he has, but i'll save it for another day.)  ANYWAY, i found this card while perusing, you guessed it, wal-mart. 

in case you can't read it, i will translate.

TO THE MAN I LOVE: after all this time, i still catch myself looking at you.  especially...well..the butt part of you.  i can't help it.  it's right there, connected to your legs.  how can i not look?  even now, as you read this, if i'm next to you, and even my eyes seem to be looking at your of them is actually--yep, you guessed it: butt.  i can't help it.  my eyes are just that talented.  oh, sure, there's a lot more to you.  you're kind, and thoughtful, and funny, and oh, so handsome.  hands down, you're the best guy a girl could want.  no ifs, ands, know.

HEHEHEHEHE!  i giggled.  out loud.  in wal-mart.  i would say that everyone stared, but there are lots of strange people in wal-mart so i just fit in with the crowd.  and hubby loved it.  he rolls his eyes every time i compliment his derriere, but i think he secretly loves that i love his butt.

giving gifts.  i am a gift-giver.  i love to be a gift-receiver, but one of the true joys in my life is gift-giving.  in fact, i frequently get into trouble for spending money i shouldn't on gifts for others.  this year, thanks to pinterest, i found another awesomely cool idea....a little book called the alphabet of our love.  (originally posted on the blog i love it all.)  it took me a long time to make this book for hubby.  i was thrilled with the outcome, i think it's pretty darn cute.  he loved it, too.  (and will cherish it always, because i said so.)  i have pictured only a few of the pages, because there are a lot, and because some of them i just didn't want to share.

but the best part about valentine's day?  the fact that my hubby loves me (and shows me he loves me) every other day of the year, too.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

reflections of a blog in two parts: insight and history

doesn't that title make you think you're going to get some awesomely intelligent and insightful post?  hehe...fooled ya.  (maybe.)

i got an email today from cat, the doctoral student using my blog for her dissertation.  she asked me several questions about why i started blogging and how it has helped me.  before i knew it, i had written her a new copy of war and peace.  (go, me!)

and i really do know how to talk and talk and talk.  just ask my hubby.  he'd be happy to tell you how i never shut up. (and you can tell by the way i always put these extra parenthetical remarks at the end of most of my paragraphs that i just can't help myself.)

if you've been here with me from the beginning, or close to it, or have spent insane amount of time reading archives, you probably know the answers to these questions.  i'm not going to post what i wrote to her about when and why i started blogging.  (you can read more about that if you read my "about" page, the page called "my story," or the first month or two of my archives.  none of those are hyperlinked because they're on my sidebar and i'm to lazy to find the URLs for all of them.  sorry.)

but as for how it's helped me?

Blogging has most definitely been helpful, for several reasons.  Most of them selfish, I confess.  First, it's a great place to vent.  But not like venting to a journal.  I can vent on a blog, and someone else (maybe my best friend, maybe a complete stranger) can say, "hey!  Me too.  I understand."  I really felt (feel) listened to.  And every time someone leaves me a comment, I feel validated.  I feel worth something.  That is huge for me, when I've spent my whole life feeling worthless and invalidated.

It's also a great way of working through things.  I can go to my blog wound up so tight and so anxious I am hyperventilating, and leave twenty minutes later with a smile on my face.  It's a dumping ground.  I dump my baggage, I shut my computer and leave most of it there.  Talking about it really is helpful, but sometimes it's too hard or scary to say the words out loud.  Letting my fingers put it in print is not the same as voicing it.  I know it sounds strange, but maybe you understand.  Saying it makes it too real, almost like creating a tangible being with my words.  As if saying my abuser's name makes him appear before me.  It kind of does, actually, which might say something about me, I guess.  

A long time ago (when I was a teenager) I decided that if I had to live through hell, I might as well use it to make someone else's hell less terrifying.  I told a few people about what I was dealing with and found that several others had been through similar experiences.  Sharing mine helped them (and me) feel less alone, less isolated.  I perpetuated that with my blog, in a much broader sense.  Instead of telling a few select people in a very confidential way, I put it out on the internet for the whole world.  Granted, a lot of my readers don't know me, but almost everyone I know in real life has access to it as well, between twitter, facebook, my email, and word of mouth.  That was scary for me, but it was also liberating.  No more hiding anything.

The last reason is to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse.  Telling people about it.  Talking about statistics.  Putting the facts out there, right in their faces, where they can see that the chances of their daughter being molested is 1 in 4--and more than likely by someone that they know and trust.  If my talking about it makes a difference for one child, it's a huge thing.  Not only for that child, and that child's family, but also for me.  It helps me to think that maybe I'm making a difference for someone else.  Maybe I'm saving one person from having to live through what I've lived through.

her third question.  she asked me to look back through my posts and choose one or more to talk about and tell her what inspired me to write it.  (i haven't responded to that question yet.)

i looked through my archives tonight.  i'm not kidding, either, when i tell you i went through three years of posts.  some of them i just skipped over.  most of them i read.  (well, mostly read.)

and i cried.

i cried for myself, mostly, because in reading these posts full of despair, and confusion, depression, isolation, fear, and helplessness, i saw a shadow of my current self.  the shadow that i fear still lurks under the surface, as i saw last week with the sudden reappearance of a nightmare.  i also cried because i'm so grateful that i'm not having multiple flashbacks a day.  because i'm relieved that i'm not constantly struggling with suicidal thoughts.  and i cried because when i started this blog, little buddy was a baby...and i watched as an outsider while he and princess grew up in my posts.  time passes so quickly.

while i read through all of these posts, i saw comments from readers that i have missed, others whose blogs i felt a connection to.  friends...other survivors.  i miss them.  is that weird?  people i have never met, don't really know, but felt such a strong connection to.  (i swear sometime soon i am going to find their blogs again.  or are you reading, enola?  vicki?  bev?  patricia?  tara?  paula?  cheryl?  and a hundred others?)

it's been a roller coaster tonight.  but i think i narrowed it down to a few that i'd like to think about further.

the post about my teddy bear (which happens to be my most popular post as far as views goes...interesting)

a post about my nightmares

one of the art therapy activities i did, my life's road

lessons from a sparrow

a chapter closing

(guess i'm not too lazy to find those URLs....haha!)

what do you think?  do you have a favorite post?  those of you who have been around for a long time, even those of you who haven't, let me know which posts you like/love/hate or really speak to you.  or the ones that i better not talk about. 

totally random and unrelated sidenote: had to watch some stupid video today for my computer class about how to start a blog on blogger, upload media, create posts and use blog features.  i laughed.  then i aced the quiz.  (go, me!  again.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

it comes again

two nights ago, something happened that hasn't happened in a long time.

i woke up shaking in terror...a nightmare.

nightmares aren't really that unusual for anyone.  for the past year or so my nightmares have been mildly disturbing, creating the occasional night of restless sleeping and disorientation that comes with the end of the dream.  i recover from them quickly and forget about them almost immediately.

two nights ago, that didn't happen.  i had another nightmare related to my abuse.  this one was different, though.  it didn't feature my abuser or the actual abuse in the way previous nightmares did.  it was mostly about one specific place.

places have been strongly linked to my memory.  my flashbacks and memories were not typically of events, but rather of the places the events occurred.  for example, i had a frequent flashback that was a single image: a camping site that my family visited almost every year as a child.  even now i see it in my mind's eye, almost like a photograph.  (i am happy to say that this image does not cause me panic or anxiety anymore.)  i thought i had put all of it behind me.  as with everything else, however, there are always setbacks, struggles, and frustrations that come up periodically.

this was the basement of my grandparents' house when i was a kid.  the place where much of the abuse i experienced occurred.  in my nightmare, i was at this house.  i told someone if i had the choice i would torch the house and watch it go up in flame.  later, for some reason, i had to go into the basement.....forcing myself to stop every few stairs in order to calm down and keep going.  when i reached the end of the stairs, there was a door to the bathroom (not where it was actually located in their house).  in my nightmare, i had an anxiety attack.  i made it past the door, into the main room, but i was crying, shaking.  i was alone.  i was terrified.  i could hear my husband talking to someone upstairs...asking where i'd gone.  when he realized where i was, he was upset i'd gone by myself, knowing it was hard for me.  then (in the odd, disjointed nature of dreams) he was there, in the basement, holding a baby.  (i knew it was our baby somehow.)  i turned around and there was a strange man behind me.  the man tried to attack me and pushed me up against a wall.  my husband saved me.  then they were both gone.  i was alone again.  i turned in a circle, seeing the whole basement, the laundry room that was always kind of scary when i was a kid, the stairway to the backyard that always had spiders in it, bedrooms.  playrooms.  the bathroom.  and i panicked.  i screamed. 

my daughter woke me up from the dream.  she cried one word.  "mommy!"  really loudly...then nothing.  she either did it in her sleep, or fell asleep again immediately after.  at the time i was alone, hubby at work, and i was suddenly scared of the dark, afraid to go downstairs, afraid to get out of my bed.  i was a helpless, scared and lonely little girl again, which is a feeling i do NOT like.  in fact, i HATE that feeling.  it is attached to almost every dark moment in my life.  luckily i was able to reach hubby immediately on the phone, and he got home shortly after to hold my hand and comfort me.

last night i turned the light on in my closet because i didn't want to be in the dark.  i couldn't sleep.  i make myself anxious thinking about how tired i am but how much i don't want to have nightmares.  i was scared and lonely again.  around midnight my little girl woke up crying about something...perfect excuse for me.  i brought her into my bed, and she immediately curled her warm little body against my side.  feeling her next to me, listening to her even breaths, i was able to relax.  even feel a little bit of contentment.  and i immediately fell asleep.

i've learned a few things about myself the past few days.  i will never really get past this abuse completely, although i view this as a minor hiccup in my journey.  (considering it's been about a year since i've had one of these, when they used to happen nightly, is a pretty awesome thing.)  i don't like being alone anymore.  my family can tell you that when i was a kid, that's all i wanted--to be alone.  now, i want my husband.  i want my children.  sometimes i want to be alone, but usually i want a hand to hold, a cheek to kiss, a hug, a shoulder to lay my head on.  just a simple physical touch has the power to make me feel safe and happy now.  before it was almost threatening at times when i was in this kind of situation.  i still, however, have a very difficult time verbalizing my i literally cannot form words to describe it, even when i physically try to force myself.  the words won't come.  writing them, however, is possible. 

so here i am again, on my blog, my place to expel the hurt and fear and nightmares inside me.  my husband is here to hold me, my children are here to give me sloppy kisses on the cheek, the love of my family to keep me safe.  and my blog to let me release it all.

tonight i think i'll sleep better.  without the light on in the closet.  (the baby might end up with me again...but mostly because i love that soft little head and the way she clings to me when she sleeps.)

thank you, hubby, for being there for me when i'm at my worst....thank you, little ones, for loving me even though i may be the most imperfect mother ever...thank you, family, for sticking with me for 26 years of crazy....and thank you, readers, for listening.



side note: i feel compelled to say that while this house held so much horror for me, i also have so many good memories of it.  that is part of the trouble i faced in therapy: feeling such mixed feelings about a place.  i remember the most horrible experiences of my life in that house...but i also remember sleepovers, watching scamper the penguin, my grandmother making tuna sandwiches with lettuce and fried eggs.  playing in the pasture and garden.  pink flamingos, climbing the tree in the front yard, finding fuzzy caterpillars.  riding my pony.  birthday parties and holidays.  playing in my grandma's jewelry box.  the transformers.  the play kitchen in the basement.  the time one of my uncles gave me a crybaby to see me make a sour face and how disappointed he was when i liked it.  rolling on the waterbed in my grandparents' room.  the mustardy/olive green bathtub and sink in the bathroom....playing on grandma's piano.  cutting up old copies of "redbook" to make collages.  easter egg hunts, visits from santa, family dinners.  eating hamburger patties with nothing but ketchup on them, no buns.  the brown couches with blue flowers and birds on them.  the hot tub.  watermelon on the back porch....more than a decade of memories.  i am glad i am able to compartmentalize them now.  i can think about their house, the campsite, my childhood bedroom, and remember the good things without worrying about the bad.