can you hear the dissonant strains of the circus music

3 07 2009

i swear we are being followed by a little organ grinding monkey piping out the big top theme song while the smallest members of this traveling troupe of accidental clowns turn one today!

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happy birthday babies who were born in winter half a world away from the summery south where they are celebrating today. it just keeps getting better and better. we are so blessed to have you join us for the ride.

ps. chicken, sorry about the double ear infections. let’s make a deal. no more emergency room visits in any country for the next 12 months, ok?

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because the next time we are at a beach

14 06 2009

we will be in bathing suits.

a week from tomorrow, we are going to toss the lot of them in a taxi and make our way to the airport for the start of what i think may be the best 5 weeks we have had in a long, long, long time.

i left the states almost exactly 15 months ago and i can still taste the salty tears i cried as i put my hands on my belly willing the unborn twins to kick as the plane took off. i needed something. some sign that we were going to be alright. those moments are still so fresh and a bit of that fear is still unresolved, but i think the cure is coming. every day is its own reward and my life over the last 450 odd days has been amazing and wonderful… but with all the new, i crave some of the old. i need to go back and see my friends. i need to confirm what i feel in my heart that even over the miles and years, we are connected by something that can’t be destroyed by that distance and time.

that we truly are alright.

from our winter day on the beach:
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sometimes it is zebras

11 06 2009

but you first look for horses when you hear the sounds of hooves galloping towards you.

when clover got sick almost two weeks ago, i had no idea what would unfold in the days that followed. everyone thought that she had a tummy bug. a nasty, clingy, unwelcome yet ordinary virus. like anyone fighting gastro, she became dehydrated and on the morning of the fifth day, alec and i decided to get her to the children’s hospital for some specialized care.

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in the er, they determined (as we already knew) that she was indeed dehydrated. the chicken was not herself. she had no energy, no color, no spunk. the medical team was convinced that she would be all better after a night of fluids. all the symptoms she had (lethargy, vomiting, fast breathing, increased heart rate, lowered temperature etc…) could be and were being attributed to the stomach flu and resulting dehydration. that was the most likely cause and in medicine, you have to look at the obvious first. they gave her medication to stop the vomiting and hooked her up to the standard NG tube for intense rehydration. alec brought me chocolate, fresh clothes and some red wine disguised in a travel coffee mug. i settled into the parent “bed” next to the hospital crib and did my best rendition of sleeping. i was distracted by worry and the cacophony of noises coming from my temporary neighbors. as soon as it was declared morning in the windowless short stay unit, i expected a perky little baby to at least smile at me. everyone was surprised to find that there was no improvement. once the medication wore off, she started to get sick again. time seemed to slow down and speed up all at once. suddenly we had been in the short stay unit for 2 days and unlike the other patients who were going home after 12 hours, clover was sent up to a ward. i was shown a place where i could shower and was given a much appreciated box of donated toiletries. this was looking like an extended stay. the littlest patient fell asleep again which is pretty much all she had been doing for the last string of days. i was getting scared. the chicken is never quiet. she is always on the move. at home, she would wake if a neighbor turned a light on in their house down the block just to see what was going on. her personality is one to not miss a thing, so it was devastating and eerie to watch her be wheeled through the bright and busy emergency department and up in the loudest service elevator ever without even a wiggle of a finger.

the only thing that kept me going that night was the great doctor who had started to finally look for the zebras.

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turns out that our girl is no garden variety clover. this was not a stubborn virus… it may well have started as one, but what was keeping her down and making her so sick was actually a metabolic disorder, Ketonic Hypoglycemia. we now know that any stress, illness or extended fasting triggers accelerated ketosis in her itty bitty body. the reason she was not improving was that she needed a specific treatment and not the standard fluids by NG tube. we turned a corner the next morning after she had the IV solution. she was still very ill, but she was flashing those 4 pearly whites of hers and i tell you what, i have never seen such beautiful smiles. ever.

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the recovery is ongoing. she is still not all better, but she is home. leaving the hospital with her after this whole thing was as euphoric as the day we brought her home after the twins’ birth.

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even with my mind on my own sick child, there was no way to avoid the grief that sits everywhere in the hospital. i pray for the teen whose room was decorated as if she had been there for months. i pray for the mom i encountered weeping in the parent’s room. i felt so guilty making my instant coffee knowing that my heart was light and we would be leaving this place with our daughter. whole. i also could not stop thinking about the blogger families who have recently lost their children both unexpectedly and after tough fights. i had a moment’s glimpse of their world beyond their words on the internet and my heart broke all over again for them. i am even more determined to work on living in the moment because that is the only moment we have.

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while we know what happened to clover. we don’t know why. most children with this disorder have no underlying disease causing it. they are small kids and as they get bigger, their bodies are better at handling the fatty acid and they literally grow out of it. as we left the royal children’s hospital, there were some outstanding test results, but we did not think about them. they came back today and there were not completely normal. since they are a screening test and not a diagnostic, it leaves us with questions not answers and once again, we are on the lookout for zebras.

i could not call the states, so my blackberry kept me connected via email, twitter and facebook.

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the overwhelming outpouring of kind words and prayers from people all over the world lifted my spirits when i needed it most. just when i thought i would feel isolated, my family felt supported. i can’t thank you all enough. please keep the chicken in your thoughts as she deals with this. she is just a dot of a girl, but she is amazing.

a few images from my visual diary of those days.

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i forward to the next blog post so i can fill it with photos of all my children. together.





the post where i give the universe a piece of my mind

7 06 2009

our baby girl is sick. and the doctors don’t really know what is wrong. the doctors are the people i am counting on to know what is wrong so that they can fix what is wrong and we can have our clover back.

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we are thankful for all your prayers and good thoughts. we need them. clover needs them.

she is still in the hospital and we do not know how long she will remain there, but hopefully she will be home soon. we miss our fiesty little chicken.

i can’t update the blog from the hospital and i can’t call the states from the hospital either, so i am using twitter and facebook to keep everyone in the loop. at least i can do those from my blackberry. since alec took the nightshift for me last night, i was able to come home and shower and pop on the computer for a moment.

back to the hospital now to hug my baby girl. universe, i don’t want to piss you off, but please. PLEASE. CUT. THIS. CRAP. OUT.

obviously, i will try to get back to clients and people who purchase my actions and presets as soon as it is possible, but my baby girl and getting her healthy is my main focus at the moment. thank you for your care and understanding in light of this difficult situation.





free range chicken

7 05 2009

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the (no longer) angry chicken gets a new nickname.





different

1 05 2009

blonde, brunette, blue eyes and brown. girl. boy. they are as different as any two siblings could be, but they are growing up together. sharing the same day of birth. apparently that one little fact makes it so that people assume they should be the same person. strangers stop me to compare my babies. telling me what they should be doing and how. what those folks can’t see, don’t see, won’t see… is that they are perfect. perfectly clover and perfectly kieran. they are just as they should be.

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yesterday we found out that kieran has an issue with his muscles. it is called hypotonia of infancy and at this point, that is all we know. but it is an answer to the questions i get asked all the time…”is he crawling?” no he is not.
and he can’t right now. and maybe he will never crawl.
“how about standing like clover?” he is not standing yet either, but that will come. it will be a lot later than his sister, but my baby boy is doing things in his own time, just like my baby girl.
the same, but different.
he will catch up and run one day, but for now, he sits and claps and laughs and charms the pants off anyone who meets him.

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so for the moment, i only have one baby torturing the cat and scaling the furniture.

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it is an antibiotic kind of weekend

17 04 2009

i have been feeling pretty rotten for the last week or so and was not really sure what was going on. i just figured that i was coming down with whatever strain of germs kieran was brewing.

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no flu for me…i had no idea that my aching chest was related to the fever and joint pains, but after a trip to the doctor i have been given the diagnosis of mastitis.

i thank australia for making medication containing codeine over the counter.

clover has decided that now is the perfect time to start rolling around the house. quickly. you can see the annoyance on her face in the photo as i kept putting her back to sitting. she would much rather roll and get stuck under something.

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i need to find a play pen. a real old fashioned jail for babies.

so many people have asked…the new presets really are coming. i have just some fine tuning to do and then out they go. these photos are done with the expired film preset.