Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, as I celebrate my first "non-celebrated" Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my husband, son, family, and friends.  My health, body and mind.  My work, my life, and all of its adventures.  My role as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.

I am grateful for my optimism, open mindedness, patience, love, and determination.

I am grateful for my independence, freedom, and choices.

Today, and everyday, I am grateful for what is my life!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Being Knocked Off My Foundation

I consider myself a strong woman, a solid mother, a super-star most times, okay, maybe not most, but I do try my best (chuckle).  I love my job of motherhood and cherish the time I get to spend with Braden.

What rocks me, knocks me off my foundation, and pretty much sends me in a tailspin is when Braden is sick.  A simple cold, runny nose or mild cough doesn't bother me, but the middle of the night fever which spikes to 105 with no warning or preparedness is what paralyzes me.

Last night, not too long after I had fallen asleep, I awoke to Braden calling out random statements.  "Don't take away my tracing board, I want to do my Korean letters."  Or, "I want my balloon.  Give me my balloon."  Initially I thought he was simply having a dream and talking in his sleep, so I called out after him, trying to jostle him out of his dream.  When that didn't work, I walked over to his bed and put my hand on his back to try and gently shake him awake.  As soon as I placed my hand on his back I could feel the burn through his pajamas.  I quickly scanned his whole body and he was burning up all over.  Still talking in his sleep, he wasn't having a dream, he was hallucinating from the high fever.

I panicked.  I quickly grabbed him, which made him cry out that I was hurting him.  Even more petrified I asked, "What do you mean I'm hurting you?  What hurts?  Please tell Mommy what is hurting you?"  Thoughts of meningitis, swine flu, Asian flu were all swirling around in my head.  When he couldn't tell me what was hurting, I just held him as tightly as I could and through tears, I kept whispering, "Everything is going to be okay.  Everything is going to be okay."  Braden, completely attune to my feelings, stopped and asked why I was crying?   This of course, made my cry even harder because this was not the time for him to worry about me.  He was supposed to depend on me for support, me to remain calm, me to assure him that everything was going to be okay.

It was at that moment that I pulled myself together and did what all mommies and daddies do.  I rocked and held him for as long as I could, gave him Tylenol and a lukewarm sponge bath until his fever broke, and then I lay down next to him, watching him sleep for the rest of the night.

It was during that time of my watching him, his fever and my fears subsiding, that I began to reflect on what caused my panic.

It was then that I realized, I was afraid:  I was afraid of failing him;  I was afraid of being unprepared;  I was afraid of being in a foreign country unable to help him.  There are no 24 hour CVS pharmacies I could drive to, or a pediatrician I could call. I didn't have a medicine cabinet I spent years filling; all I had was a bottle of Tylenol I brought from home, and a wash cloth and bowl of lukewarm water.  That's all I had to help my baby and that... scared me. 

In the midst of my fear, I was grateful for the time difference because what was my middle of the night was the middle of the day at home.  So I called a friend for support and she let me share my fears, my worries, and my insecurities.  She assured me that Braden would be okay, and she offered to just sit with me as the time passed.

I know, in reflecting, that babies get sick all over the world.  That if it's not a CVS, it's a local pharmacy.  If not a pediatrician I know, it's someone I will meet at the hospital or clinic we walk into.  I know that there are mothers all over the world who wake up in the middle of the night with a child who has spiked a fever.  I know that there are mothers and father everywhere, who fall apart, just like I did, when their babies are sick. 

As I now sit here and blog about my experience, Braden is sleeping comfortably in his bed.  We've been to see the pediatrician and he does not have meningitis, the swine or Asian flu.  He simply has a throat infection.  We've been prescribed medication, and I trust, just as I would back in the States, that he will be better in no time.

So to those of you who have sick children right now, love them, care for them, get some rest if you can, and don’t worry about holding it together, because nothing knocks us off our foundations like when our babies are sick.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

As We Count The Weeks

While we are pregnant we count the weeks until our due date.  The biggest milestone is crossing the threshold of your first trimester.  It gives you a sense of relief, a knowing that the baby will be okay.  Twenty weeks marks the halfway point and typically the time you can get a glimpse of whether it's a boy or girl.  By then, the countdown begins.

After our little ones have arrived, we begin counting all over again.  Our two week old, four week old, six week old, and so on.  Slowly the weeks turn into months as we anticipate the milestones of rolling over, the first tooth, sitting up, first foods, crawling, walking and talking.

Braden and I arrived to Korea four weeks ago today.  In those short weeks we have done, seen and accomplished so much.  We have, like infants do, grown and changed quite a bit.  We started to learn a new language and culture.  We have adapted a new cuisine.  We eat with chopsticks and take off our shoes at the door.  We have taken the subway fifty-two times and the bus four times.  We have explored fifteen subway stops,  traveled from one end of Seoul to the other, visited seven new parks and playgrounds, the aquarium, the zoo, and attended a traditional Korean concert and Lantern Festival.  We shop at open markets and carry our shopping dolly with us.  We have made nine new friends and have had seven playdates.  We started a MeetUp and have eight new members.  We even signed up for a Korean art class.

And this is just the beginning, because just like infants, we have a lot more growing and learning to do.

Stay tuned...