Thousand Acre Heart Part 13- OH BILLY

A message I painted in my kitchen as a reminder to my family that they don’t have to be ordinary. Never be afraid to be extraordinary!!




Etymology: L, bilis + ruber, red
the orange-yellow pigment of bile, formed principally by the breakdown of hemoglobin in red blood cells after termination of their normal lifespan. Water-insoluble unconjugated bilirubin normally travels in the bloodstream to the liver, where it is converted to a water-soluble, conjugated form and excreted into the bile. In a healthy person, about 250 mg of bilirubin is produced daily. The majority of bilirubin is excreted in the stool. The characteristic yellow pallor of jaundice is caused by the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood and in the tissues of the skin. Testing for bilirubin in the blood provides information for diagnosis and evaluation of liver disease, biliary obstruction, and hemolytic anemia. Normal levels of total bilirubin are 0.1 to 1 mg/dl or 5.1 to 17 μmol/L.

I love the springtime when everything is fresh and new, trees are budding and color is being restored to the world. The anticipation of Spring is not unlike having a new baby. You experience all the stages and although full bloom is perfection you secretly want to enjoy each stage as long as possible.

We brought Haley home in the Spring.  The second week of May. She had to spend some extra time in the hospital due to sheer incompetence.  I had a male nurse who seemed like he was playing the part of a nurse in a reality show, and certainly not a good one!! I didn’t breastfeed with Morgan so on top of the fact that it was near impossible to try to breastfeed a jaundiced, sleeping baby I had lots of questions. The only answer I got from my nurse was a confused look followed by a muttered “You will be fine” as he walked out the door. The extent of his check ups were to awkwardly lift my blanket just to drop it as quickly and say “You are OK…right!?” I felt more then a little uneasy with him and suggested that maybe I could have a nurse that was familiar with breastfeeding. He ignored this request with a blank stare. I felt that he was not anxious for anyone else to know about his extreme shortcomings in his chosen profession. I felt slightly sorry for him until he dropped the ball in a very big way. My doctor left explicit instructions when he left for the weekend that if  Haley’s “billy” levels were up that she was to be put under the lights immediately.  The instructions were communicated to the ward staff, to me, and noted on my chart. It was cut and dry! When Haley’s test results came back with the inevitable news that her “billy” levels were elevated the course of action was clear. I am not a medical professional but I had been through this with Morgan and I understood the importance of getting her under the lights as soon as possible. Nurse Dolittle and I did not share the same of urgency in regards. I inquired about the lights, asked about the lights, insisted upon the lights, demanded the lights, but to each action I got the same result one would get from banging their head against a wall repeatedly. Upon my repeated insistence I was told the lights were in a construction area and could not be accessed. I asked for a doctor, another nurse, a passerby but my best option was hoping for a sunny day to sit her in the window. I left a note for my favorite nurse Beth at the nurses station. Beth had assisted with all my children’s births and she was amazing.  Unfortunately she had the weekend off. She woke me at 5 am Monday and I anxiously recounted my plight. I had spent a very stressed out weekend and I was as happy to see her as a five year old waking to find Santa. She assessed the situation in her head for mere seconds before heading out the door so fast her Super Nurse cape got stuck in the door. She returned quickly with a beautiful set of lights. She downplayed her Super Nurse skills when asked how she managed by replying, ” I lifted the plastic divider, I crawled under, I wheeled the lights out” So simple, so awesome. We both knew the damage was done though. If your broker calls and tells you to sell failing stock you don’t wait for three days and then wonder about the huge loss. There was time to make up so initially Haley was under the lights around the clock. Her “billy” levels needed to be brought down and she had continued to lose weight. I was scared and distraught. I can’t imagine how parents of children in Neo Natal must feel waiting for the tiniest of milestones. I just wanted to bring my girl home. I knew that even if the “billy” levels stabilized that Dr. Chalmers would never allow me to take her home until she gained weight. The nurses suggested taking Haley to their station so I could get some rest but I insisted she stay with me florescent lights and all! Breastfeeding continued to be an impossible challenge as Haley was too sleepy to bother with eating. If I managed to get her latched on she would fall asleep quite quickly and I would doze off and feel all sorts of guilty. I was fixated on getting her to eat as it was about the only thing I had any control over but my attempts proved to be pretty futile.  Luckily for me I never saw Nurse Dolittle again and I was blessed with a team of exceptional nurses to keep me calm and informed. There was a senior nurse on the Ward who appeared looming and more then a little scary. Her assistance was sought in getting Haley to eat. Her demeanor, at first overbearing, won me over and I knew quite quickly that deep down she was a soft nut in a tough shell. They hooked me up to a breast pump which could better be described as an industrial milking machine. It milked me, I bottled the goods and Nurse Notsoscary would coax precious Haley into eating little by little. She managed to get more into her in one feeding then myself and all the other nurses had for days. I felt the promise of progress. The steps were little but the more Haley ate and the more time she spent under the lights I was able to get her to feed here and there for short periods of time. I am thinking back to how incredibly delicate she seemed, tiny featured and curled up in the fetal sleeping position. I can vividly recall the news that she had began to gain weight. I was elated! It was a slight amount but it is the step we were all waiting for.  The next day I had our bags packed and I was ready and excited to go home when Dr. Chalmers popped in for rounds. He was happy for the progress but not satisfied with her “Billy” levels just yet. This game continued for several days where I would have us packed and ready and Dr. Chalmers would inform me “Not Yet” He agreed to release me but Haley had to stay. I wasn’t about to leave without her! One cheerfully sunny Friday Dr. Chalmers was feeling generous and noting with familiarity my packed bags he offered a compromise. Haley and I could go home if we agreed to come into the hospital everyday to get her blood work taken. The hospital was a fair jaunt for us but at that point I would have agreed to come to the hospital three times a day. I WAS FREE!!! FREE from four months of hospitals and FREE to go home with my family!


Doll on a music box

Haley performing Doll on a Music Box at Edmonton’s 2013 Kiwanis Musicfest Junior Musical Theatre


Thousand Acre Heart-Part 12


I am eating cookies in bed, that is how my day went. After a long day I was relaxing and chatting with Kirk online (he is up North in Kearl Lake). We were both in a playful mood, our conversation was very fun and flirty until Morgan informed me that the coldroom and laundry room was flooded. Instant buzz kill. It was pretty tense here for awhile but equipped with Kirks snowmobile boots, a fire poker 40 soaking towells and my phone (for frantically texting Kirk) I managed to fix the pump and twart any further disaster.  I am not happy about the mess but on the bright side, because of the floor drain in the laundry room the main rec room area was not affected and being forced to clean out the cold room is a good thing. See Kirk I am not even going to mention who filled the cold room with unnecessary crap!!

So to continue where I left you I frantically called Kirk and told him to get there fast and then I called my Mom. Dr Clague said they would induce me at 5:30. Between 5:30 and 6:30 nothing was happening. We were all just joking around with the nurses. At 6:30 I started to feel a significant amount of discomfort and got quiet immediately. I threw up in the bathroom which was a sure sign of hard labour. When the contactions began they were one on top of another. In the same fashion as my other pregnancies I went from zero to sixty in minutes. I guess Kirk mistook my sudden silence for boredom because he said to the nurse “when does labor start?” I was breathing mid contraction and looked at the nurse wide-eyed as if to say “is he friggin kidding me?

The nurse asked Kirk if there was somewhere he needed to be. Poor Kirk had missed Morgans birth so he really just didn’t know what to expect. All he had really seen of actual labour was exaggerated on tv and in movies.

He was great at keeping cold wash clothes on my forehead. It was unbearably warm and trying to keep me cool was a full time job for Mom and Kirk. I started pushing shortly after seven. I was expecting Haley to come into the world in a few pushes. I was getting the regular encouragement “she’s right there, we see her head, she’s coming” I was pushing for everything I was worth. Let’s just say if pushing were an Olympic sport I was going for gold. I thought that Kirk should go to the other side of the room prepared to catch. I pictured her flying across the room like a football.

I recall the doctor saying something about her being stuck. I remember thinking WTF does that mean? I wanted to ask but could barely muster a breath between contractions let alone a question. Turns out her umbilical chord was wrapped around her neck. Once removed she made a speedy entry into our world! Haley Jade Catherine DeBay was born @ 7:45 pm on April 29, 2004.

She was healthy but earlier then the doctors had originally thought and in a certain amount of distress from me pushing with a chord wrapped around her. She was creamy white…full of vermix. She looked like someone had slathered her up with cold cream. She had a headful of dark curls and a beautiful button nose.

Our first picture with her she is in an incubator. I felt completly different about her then I had with Morgan and Jeffrey initially. I felt very protective, I guess that is definitely a parental trait but it lacked that warm and fuzzy feeling because I so badly wanted to make her strong enough to bring her home. I am sure anyone who has ever had a preemie has felt this on a much larger scale. Her first month, even after bringing her home she was so sleepy I had to wake her for feedings and coax her to feed. It felt like a job. She didn’t look at me, she didn’t brighten at the sound of my voice. I silently worried a lot about not bonding with her the way I did Morgan. After the first four weeks once I chubbed her up and she became more alert things changed instantly. She has been an ongoing joy!

I always felt very differently about my girls. Morgan in glorious teenhood likes to say we love Haley more, we always take her side. Truth is I love Haley differently then I do Morgan. She has always been smart and fiercely independent. She has a very analytical mind like her Dad. Morgan is softer, led more by her heart. As smart as she is I worry about her being led astray by her caring and trusting ways. I want her to know how beautiful she is. I want her know that she is smart and that she can be anything she wants. I want her to know that SHE is the person to impress and please. I want her not to seek validation from friends and boys. I want her to pat herself on the back for a job well done and when she fails I want her to have the strength to get back up and try again. Haley at 9 has these tools. She hasn’t let the world beat her down. She told me one day that she will never be able to please everyone but she is happy being herself. Jeffrey and Morgan are a lot alike. They know what they want and they can dream a life for themselves but sometimes overlook the harsh realities that can get in the way of those dreams. Dreams take hard work to make them happen! I heard a saying recently about a mothers constant challenge “the right mix of kindness and dicipline” I think all of my children will agree that I can be a good and fun friend but I will never sugar coat the realties of life!! Life is hard. Prepare!!

This is short and I apologize. I am catching up from a whirlwind visit with my family in Nova Scotia and my new granddaughter. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to see if it is all real.

P.S for those of you twitterbugs, follow @1000acreheart

Thanks for dropping by, be back soon. I will leave you with a sneak peek of beautiful Gracie. ♥

Thousand Acre Heart -Part 11

I have always liked to write and always said I would love to write a novel if I had the time. In fact I still have a couple manuscripts in the works that have been lying around in binders and boxes collecting dust for many years. You would think that being in the hospital for months on end would have afforded me the time to write something meaningful but inspiration was sorely lacking! I did write letters though. Even though I saw Kirk often sometimes I would write him letters and send them in the mail, handwritten letters were so retro, even back then! I thought it would be fun for him to reach in the mailbox and get something other then a bill. They were ridiculous letters just meant to be funny and I would even address them in unusual ways. I came across one recently in a box of pictures. It was addressed to Mr Craven Moorehead. Some of you won’t get that and some of you will get it and not be amused. Judge if you will but I can assure that if you spent as much time on your back staring at four walls as I did you would do anything for a laugh. Anyways the letter in question was largely about “Nipplegate” otherwise known as Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. Obviously a cheap publicity stunt because when Janet Jackson stopped flashing her nipples she abruptly disappeared from pop culture. Besides the occasional mention in a rag mag about her weight gain or loss, no nipple…no mention! The letter was dated February of 2004 right after the incident at Superbowl. In the letter I confessed to my own unfortunate wardrobe malfunction where my hospital gown slipped off the shoulder exposing my nipple to a young , wide eyed intern. I then preceded to tell “Craven” that after my initial embarrassment about the incident I decided to use my  nipples to my discreet advantage and began flashing the man that delivered my breakfast in hopes to get an extra sausage the next day! This of course is not true…..well maybe it is, you will never know. “Evil laugh”

So as much as I recall I hadn’t completely lost it by Superbowl of 2004 but there was still plenty of time and wall staring to come. I did what I was told which consisted largely of doing nothing. I even tried to spend less time in the washroom when Kirk was around so that he and the doctors would not conspire to put a catheter in me. The nurses desk was outside of my room to the left. It was always a flurry of activity but even with my door open I couldn’t see what was going on. Every Monday I got to go on a big excursion to get weighed. The weigh room was directly across the hall and I was wheeled on a wheel chair, weighed and wheeled back! Do not turn left our right, do not pass anything fun, do not collect any smiles. Back to bed.

The nurses were at times my saviors. I would get pretty attached to the good ones and there were some that would come and sit with me for a couple of minutes at night, as there time would allow and just chat. Nights were the hardest, not tucking Morgan into bed, not curling up with Kirk. The nurses worked on rotation of course so when they were sent to another floor or wing it could be crushing. I guess I got used to the consistency of my hospital routine but I never got used to the people that came and went out of my life on a weekly basis. I have a profound respect for “some” of the doctors that treated me during my stay but I have to say that some of the nurses went way beyond the scope of their work by understanding how hard it was to be cooped up in a little room away from your family and treating me with such kindness and love.

One morning I was so excited because there was a craft program in the family room that I was invited to with the other ladies on my floor. I am not super crafty but I was looking forward to the social aspect (for my sanity) I was all ready to go at the designated time. I think I even put on lip gloss. The doctors came for their morning visit and delicately told me that the nurse had made a mistake and I wasn’t allowed to go to the craft program because I was not allowed to leave my room and sit up for any length of time. I know I tried to hide it but I was thoroughly devastated. It was like being 14 and getting grounded before the big dance that your crush was going to and being certain your best friend was going to dance with him. That kind of angst. My nurse for the week quietly felt my pain and she brought a lady on my floor who was in a less precarious position then me and able to wander the halls periodically to visit me. It was nice to be able to connect with someone else in a similar position. The lady who came to visit me was pregnant with twins. She lived in Cape Breton with her husband and three young girls under the age of seven. They owned a video store in their small town. Because of the distance and the fact that they were trying to keep a small business afloat her family could only visit on weekends. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must be for her to be away from all her family and then to have the whole crew come visit and be cooped up in her little room. I think we were able to offer each other some comfort and understanding and I thank that wonderful nurse for recognizing my need to have some socialization. I never saw the woman again but I questioned my cleaning lady and found out that she had been put on complete bed rest as well. One morning the doctors only detected one heartbeat and during an ultrasound confirmed that one of her babies did not make it. She had to continue to carry both babies as long as possible and ended up delivering an early but healthy baby boy to the delight of his three big sisters.

My family and friends were fantastic and Kirk and Morgan still stayed with me as much as possible. Kirk tried his very best but I was grumpy and irritable when he was around. Looking back I had no control over anything and truthfully he probably felt much of the same thing. It drove me crazy that Morgan would come to the hospital with a big bag of candy from the Candy Bowl bulk store. She thought Daddy was the best and I thought that was complete idiocy. Lets take a four year old child, hop her up on sugar and stick her in a tiny room with a mother who cannot leave the room. There was a definite rift between us but I believed that when things went back to normal we would get better.

One night I was going crazy and Kirk tried to convince the nurse to allow him and Morgan to take me for a walk in a wheelchair around the hospital. I was only a couple of days away from self care so I didn’t think it would be an issue. Self care was in another wing of the hospital and it allowed for a lot more freedom. Moving to self care meant I had reached a point in my pregnancy that if I delivered the baby was not in any significant danger. I believe it was 36 weeks. It was still too early for me to go back to Truro because they were not equip to deal with a pregnancy that early. Anyways the nurse said “No way” and Kirk felt really bad. I asked him to take Morgan out for a bit, they had been cooped up in my stupid room all weekend and we all needed a breather. The minute they left I called my Mom and lost it. I cried my eyes out and told her I was going crazy. She assured me I wasn’t and I assured her I was. Mom calmed me down and even had me laughing and in a much better frame of mind by the time Morgan and Kirk returned.

I moved to Self care right before Easter and was allowed a certain amount of freedom which to my Mothers dismay I immediately took advantage of. Kirk allowed me to come to Walmart with him to help pick up some Easter stuff for Morgan. It was supposed to be a quick trip but I begged him to take me home. There was no reasoning with me, I wanted to see my house so Kirk made the hour long trip to take me home. He was pretty pissed when he found me in the bathroom with my big pregnant belly hunched over the tub scrubbing the dripping hard water stain under the spout with an SOS pad. I had already cleaned the toilet with bleach and was about to put in a load of laundry when he discovered me. He convinced me to halt the housecleaning and come lay down for a minute. He held me in our bed while I cried because I didn’t want to go back to the hospital. I had been away from home for over 3 months and all I wanted to do was tidy up and prepare for Haley coming home. Kirk comforted me and it was probably the warmest most honest interaction we had had in months. Somehow he convinced me to go back to the hospital, I recall a phone call from my Mom so it is possible that he enlisted help. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel though and that was positive. Self care was not as exciting as I anticipated. All those exciting interactions I had heard from my bedroom on the other wing of the seventh floor were certainly not happening over here. There must have been a lot of vacancy because when I was out wandering the halls it was about as exciting as a non alcoholic beer on a hot July day! Blah!

At 38 weeks pregnant they allowed me to go back to Truro but I wasn’t allowed to go to our house in North River because it was too far from the hospital. We stayed at my Moms but it was short lived. I think I had four days of freedom before Kirk dragged me into the Truro hospital. I was having headaches and swelling and according to the Doctor my blood pressure was on the rise. I tried to insist that my rising blood pressure was due to being in another hospital but as if I didn’t exist Kirk and the doctor discussed my immediate admission to the Truro hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy. I was admitted and put into a ward with two laboring mothers. I had been told to take it easy and get some rest and then I was put in a ward?? I assume Kirk spoke with the doctor who exchanged heated words with the nurse and in a flash I was moved to a private room.

Prior to my stay in the Truro Hospital  whenever there was talk about the “NEW” Hospital being built I would question why one was needed. It only took me a short time to understand. The Grace Hospital was like The Four Seasons in Comparison. My blinds were broken, my bathroom door didn’t close properly, cream of wheat for breakfast almost sent me over the edge and the nurse seemed to only make a visit just as I drifted off to sleep.

On Thursday April 29, 2004 Morgan and Kirk were in and out of my hospital room. He had bought her new sneakers and a soccer ball and they had played a bit on the hospital lawn. Played out, she gave me a big kiss goodbye and Kirk took her to the sitters because he had a doctors appointment. I hadn’t seen the doctor all day and he popped in the door at 4:45 and said five magical words “Wanna have a baby today?

To be continued……


Thousand Acre Heart-Part Ten

Gracie Anne

Thursday was the beginning of a very emotional, edge of my seat couple of days. Kristy was induced on Thursday and the progression from labor to birth was pretty slow. If it was excruciating for me I imagine poor Kristy was ready to burst…excuse the pun.

She was so tough. Jeffrey was there for the duration and was great about keeping in touch. It was exciting and stressful all at the same time. When things started to progress it was difficult being miles away. Beautiful Princess Gracie Anne was born at 12:14 am, Saturday April 6 weighing 8 lbs 6 oz and she was nothing short of PERFECT. I most definitely have a bias but I am not speaking with a bias, this baby girl is AMAZING!! I told Jeffrey to prepare for the moment she was born, I told him that it was difficult to put into words but that it would change him immediately. He said I was right, it was indescribable. He is madly in love with his little girl, holding her he finally knows what it feels like to hold his whole world in his hands. He wanted me to share in that. I wanted it to but I felt that it was best to allow his family that time by themselves. I know in my heart that it was the best thing for everyone. A girl who waited for nineteen years to meet her son can certainly wait. My heart ached though. More than I ever thought it would. I accepted all the milestones that I missed over the years but this one that was so special to him seemed almost unforgivable. So I decided that two weeks was the best I could do and I started searching flights. The girls are in a crucial time in their school year and Kirk is in the middle of a project up North so it was impossible for them to get away right now. With Kirk being away it makes it difficult to travel. I booked a short trip. I land in Nova Scotia, a place I still refer to as “Home” on April 24. A place I have not visited in four years. The moment I booked my flight home I was an emotional wreck. One way or the other it is justified, I get to see Jeffrey and meet his beautiful daughter (my granddaughter) Gracie. It almost feels like more than that. I have been in Edmonton for almost five years and I am a different person then when I left. I feel I am a better, more confident person and I feel like I left behind some bad memories in my little hometown and being there in my little hometown I may be forced to deal with all of my demons.

How funny and ironic that I am listening to the radio and Trooper is playing. In a roundabout way a Trooper concert is responsible for me meeting Kirk. I guess I should listen to Trooper “We are here for a good time, not a long time…”

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to go home but there are things there that I may need to face that could be difficult.

Three times in the last couple of days people have referred to me as “confident” I take that as a HUGE compliment but I also want people to know that I have the same fears as all of you. Sometimes I take a whole day to cry and reflect. I am now and have always been very led by my emotions. I draw confidence and strength from my family and experiences. I learn from experiences, I embrace change, I stick my foot in my mouth, I bite off more then I can chew. I fear not being good enough, I fear being too good. Since I met Jeffrey I have experienced a peace within myself that I never thought possible. I love me!! I would love to be thinner, richer, more cultured, wiser….who wouldn’t?? The things I would really like to change about me are more subtle but generally I am finally pretty happy with who I am. When I said I was led by emotions I wasn’t embellishing in the least, I am a person who FEELS everything. The most important thing is that I recognize learning experiences. With every tear, every goodbye, every hardship, every triumph I have learned. I like me, I am not afraid to be me. I share my wisdom and experiences with my children and I am not afraid to tell them how bad the world can be and I also am not afraid to let them know how wonderful it can me. I know one day they will spread their wings and fly away from me. They want to experience the world and I know that when the time comes they will grasp every opportunity because I told them they could. My family is where I draw my strength.

If it were up to Kirk we would have had several babies but I struggled with that. I loved Morgan more than anything in the world. She was my miniature bestie. I just didn’t want to take any time away from her being a baby. Since Haley wasn’t born till Morgan was four I am pretty sure you are all smart enough to question that! I was terrified. I really really wanted to have a boy. The million dollar family. We also all know that though you can replace things, you can’t replace people and there was a little boy with wondrous eyes taking up a huge amount of real estate in my heart.

I had had some cervical issues and the one thing that made me decide to have a baby is the thought that the choice might be taken away from me. All of the sudden what had been a priority for Kirk for years became urgent for me. Our friend worked at the doctors office and I remember how sad she was to tell me I wasn’t pregnant when I was certain that I was. It happened in good time though.

From the moment I had conceived Haley I knew there was a problem. I felt like I was holding a bowling ball between my legs. My doctor kept disregarding my fears but I knew something was wrong. I had had no “real” labors with Jeffrey and Morgan so it really should have come as no surprise when I found out that I had an incompetent cervix. When women know that we have a problem, we push, even when our doctors tell us we are fine and that as mine said “maybe you are no spring chicken anymore” (seriously) we know our bodies enough to know when their is an issue. I finally convinced my doctor to send me to an Obstetrician who noted that at 16 weeks my cervix was softening. She sent me immediately to the city hospital where they noted that my cervix was softening and they would see me again in a month. In a months time my cervix that had measured 12 cm had funneled open and now measured .5cm. That feeling of me holding a bowling ball between my legs was me holding Haley in by sheer will power. I need to mention that we did not know at this point that Haley was a girl. If we had a boy, he was going to be Lorenzo Douglas DeBay, paying homage to Kirk’s grandfather and my uncle who had died when he was quite young. He would be Loren for short. Haley came by her name in a truly unique fashion. Before I was even pregnant with Haley, Kirk had taken Morgan to a truck show and I was to meet them later (Big Stop, Truro Heights). When I got there I went to the store first to get lotto tickets and gum. The girl that waited on me had dark hair and big brown eyes, she was very pretty and friendly. Her name tag said Haley and I loved the name immediately. I found Kirk in the crowd with Baby Morgan on his shoulders and when I approached them he said “hey before I forget if we have another baby and it’s a girl, let’s name her Haley” Too funny, we named our daughter after the pretty girl at The Big Stop. Haley Jade Catherine. Catherine is after my Mom, strongest woman I have ever known!

When I went to that second visit at the Grace Hospital in Halifax the doctors were concerned. I was 24 weeks pregnant, my cervix had opened up and I was starting to dilate. They took Morgan to play while they told me the news. I had prepared myself somewhat. I thought they were going to tell me that I needed to take it easy and worst case scenario they would put me on bed rest at home. I was devastated when they told me that I would be in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy and that it was essential that I was on complete bed rest. They told me that they thought I was in danger of delivering at any time and my baby had a 50% chance of survival. I was so scared and sad. I was determined to do everything I was told to do to ensure I delivered a healthy full term baby but the price I paid for that was high. Four months in the hospital away from Morgan (who was four) and Kirk changed me. I was fighting for Haley in the only way I knew how and in turn I shut Kirk out in a major way. At the beginning we butted heads because they wanted us to visit the Neo-Natal unit. They were quite certain that Haley would spend some of her young life in there and they wanted to prepare us for what to expect. Kirk refused! In his heart he refused to believe that Haley would spend a second in there. He had every faith that I would grow here big and strong and she would never glimpse the walls of the Neo Natal. Everyday they asked for us to come visit the Neo Natal, everyday we fought and Kirk refused. Every morning they updated me on her survival rate. When I got to the hospital I was 24 weeks and her survival rate was 50%. My goal was to make it to 27 weeks and her survival rate would jump to 60%. I had a private room and I could go to the washroom and I could bathe but not shower. I will never forget the time Kirk told the doctor I was spending too much time in the washroom and he and the doctor discussed me getting a catheter so that I wouldn’t have to get up to use the washroom. I am typing this through tears at the memory. I had been in the hospital for over a month now and Kirk and Morgan spent a lot of time with me there. Kirk had taken sick leave from work and they were at the hospital lots. The hospital was over an hour away from our home.They spent every weekend, all weekend with me. I never left my room. To go to the bathroom was the only place I ever got to go to be by myself. There was me, Morgan who was four and Kirk jammed in a tiny room that I never saw the outside of. I can remember he and the doctor discussing putting a catheter in like it was the most normal thing in the world. Sometimes I just went to the bathroom to sit there by myself. To sit, oh yeah I wasn’t allowed to sit. Sometimes I bathed two-three times a day! I wasn’t allowed to shower!It is quite possible that I threatened Kirk and the stupid Doctor with bodily harm. Lets just say I didn’t get a catheter.

We certainly had some sweet and funny times while I was in the hospital. One time Kirk let my parents keep Morgan and he brought me a scallop dinner he made at home. They were a little rubbery when he heated them up in the Hospital Microwave but the thought was there. He set them up on the little slide in table with a candle he had brought from home. He way trying.

I was going crazy about the Dairy Queen commercial for the Brownie Batter Blizzard. One night Kirk disappeared and returned about 45 minutes later with one for me. He had run blocks there and blocks back with no coat. It didn’t taste as good as I imagined but the gesture was incredibly sweet!

Every single morning I had to count Haley’s kicks for the first two hours. If the kicks were less then they were the day before a team of doctors would come look at me. There were three female doctors that I adored and they adored me. They even threw a party for me one day and brought me gifts. I got very attached to them so when the rotation changed and I had some clueless Strangers in my room, that was very frustrating.

In February Kirk was coming down to watch the Daytona 500 with me. He had gotten me a Dale Earnhardt Junior book, mug and a calendar to mark down the days. I had begged my doctors for permission and they finally agreed that missing the Daytona would do me NO good! It was agreed and written on my chart that Kirk was allowed to take me to the Family Room on a stretcher to watch. I was so excited all week. When the time came the nurse refused it. She was a short little red-headed nurse who looked like the grown up version of a cabbage patch kid. My favorite Doc Kristen had left a note on my chart not only giving me permission but also giving the nurses permission to call her for clarification. She refused. At one point she agreed to allow me to watch a couple of laps. It was my choice whether I chose the beginning or the end. She said and I quote ” Don’t they just drive around in circles for a while?” If anyone reading this is a Nascar fan you are certainly feeling my pain right now. Luckily my lovely cleaning lady who I gave treats to like Wurthers originals and other such things that people brought for me showed us how to hook up “illegal” cable on my hospital TV. C’mon…we were desperate!! My driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. won that race, his first Daytona win, three years after his fathers fatal crash at that very track in 2001. It was a great moment to share with Kirk, one of the few we would share in the months to come.

Later that evening the Red Headed Cabbage Page Nurse came to my room. Morgan was asleep by my side and Kirk was settled on his cot. The shifty nurse kept saying things like “That baby looks uncomfortable, you need to move that baby” Morgan was snuggled into me, some might describe her as “snug as a bug in a rug”! Nurse “care-a-lot” was in and out of my room with a degree of frequency that annoyed me. She was already on my bad side and after spending a month in this room it felt like my home, it was; and her intrusive nature was exhausting. After several fretting visits she said “You need to move that baby, she is not safe!” I looked down at sweet four-year old Morgan curled up beside me. My baby without question but she was not a baby by most people’s standards. Then I realized that on the other side of me was Morgan’s doll. I picked it up by it’s ankles and held it up in the air “do you mean this baby?” Reds eyes registered horror and then understanding and she shuffled from the room in embarrassment. On Monday when all my fave Docs stopped by to congratulate me on the win I felt slightly elated. I told Doc Kristen about Nurse No Fun and she was banned from my room forever. I had three more months to go to carry to full term so it only made sense to banish stress from my perimeter. There was a favorite nurse I had that would visit me at night when I was feeling down, she would bring me hot chocolate and Cheez whiz toast even when I insisted I was fine! I loved her and she became my new constant.

To be continued…

Thousand Acre-Part 9

Tender Moments
Tender Moments

Morgan Alyssa DeBay was born Nov 8, 1999. She was amazing. I had a healthy uneventful pregnancy but a tornado of a delivery. I went to the hospital because my fluid was leaking and within half an hour of sending Kirk to work and being told I wasn’t in labour or dilated I was holding our beautiful daughter. Speedy deliveries are great for several obvious reasons but overwhelming to say the least. The recovery time is quicker though because being in labour for hours is traumatic and you are deprived of sleep. Being as I wasn’t in labor the nurse told Kirk to go to work so I could get some rest. Luckily my Mom was on her way into the hospital as Kirk was leaving and she did call him to come back but he missed the entire delivery. His Mom made it just in time and was able to cut Morgan’s chord and help keep me calm. It was an exciting time. Kirk was so proud and I will never forget the way he looked at her, like she was a miracle that had transformed his whole life. For me I felt that I had been given a second chance. I pictured my babies face a lot in those couple of days in the hospital and hoped that somewhere he was happy and blissfully loved and that someday he would understand and be proud of me. Even though the adoption was closed it never felt like a closed book to me. I always felt that I would fulfil the chapters of my life and one day he would be a main character in it. It was probably extremely naive but it was a star that guided me through the darkest of nights.

nice Morgan

Morgan was a perfect baby and she fullfilled in me the need to nuture and mother. Kirk was a wondeful father, a child himself really so getting down on the floor and playing, and being silly was right up his alley. When you become parents there is a definite divide, or at least there was for us, Kirk was the fun one and I was the parent. These roles collided periodically and of course still do and I am certainly capable of having fun but I  don’t think my children would hesitate to name Kirk as the fun one if given the choice.

As I said Morgan was perfect. She was so beautiful and though she came early and in an extremely big hurry within a month I had managed to fatten her up and she was so healthy and chubby. At a little over a month old she was sleeping 8-10 hours overnight and she barely cried except whe she had gas or was constipated. The doctor insisted I keep her on Similac with Iron because she was born early but it made her constipated so my Mom suggested I give her a little prune juice. The operative words here being  a little. She loved it, sucked it back like she was Chelsey Handler shooting triple distilled Vodka on a sunny beach in Cabo. I felt like such a good mommy so I gave her a little more, and a little more….you get the picture. The next day I was visiting My Mom and I was cuddling baby Morgan on her lazy boy chair when all of the sudden she cooed, stretched her legs and then there was this massive explosion and everything was warm, followed by a very happy baby, two ruined outfits (hers and mine) and a head to toe bath in my mothers kitchen sink. To this day I have never seen anything like that. She was covered in shit, I was covered in shit, our clothes were destroyed. I never gave her prune juice again. 🙂

Kirk was a truck driver back then and he worked shift work, one week days and one week nights. Morgan became my little BFF and we did everything together. She brought me such joy.

Parenting Morgan was a happy time for me and I didn’t realize that Kirk felt left out or not needed. He spent a great deal of time either playing sports with his buddies or watching sports. I was fine with it I was rather busy and happy with life.

In November of 2000 I went Christmas shopping with a friend. I went ridiculously overboard seeing as Morgan was only a year old but I had so much fun doing it. I bought just about every princess toy and trinket available. When I got home I got a phone call from Kirk and he kept saying he had made a major purchase that day and he wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I was positive it was either a truck or a truck part and I couldn’t have been less interested. Kirk spent a lot of time and money building 4 x 4 trucks to take to the mudhole and beat the guts out of them. After a third time he mentioned it I accused him of trying to start a fight and told him to lay off it I didn’t care.

He arrived home a short time later and interupted me in the kitchen. He was back on the kick “ask me what I bought, ask me?” Finally to get him to stop I halfheartedly asked him what he bought and he said wait I have to do something first. I turned around and looked at him awkwardly fumble in his pants pockets and then drop to his knees and say “Will you be my wife? Will you marry me” I said “yes” immediatley. We hugged and kissed and I allowed him to put the diamond on my finger and then I jumped up and down for a couple of minutes and then I asked if I could call people.

I called my Mom first and I didn’t get the reaction I expected. She made an off handed joke that spoke to her lack of enthusiasm about our engagement. She quickly apologized and we moved on. In my excitement I hung up and called my sister in law Kelly who was super excited for us but I was nagged by my Mom’s comment. My Mom and I have a good relationship and she always told me “never go to bed mad” That always stuck with me and we never really let any hard feelings fester between us. After the initial excitement of the weekend wore off I went to see my Mom and I confronted her. The conversation didn’t go very well and I left feeling worse. My Mom married very young and in that had experienced a lot of hardship and pain, she really truly just wanted what was best in me and at that moment was worried that maybe Kirk wasn’t it.

Kirk didn’t always treat me the way I deserved to be treated. He was a trucker with a trucker mouth and and often he lashed out without thinking and regretted it later. That worried my Mom because obviously she felt I should never be talked down to and Kirk was different then any guy I had ever dated. He challenged me in a way that nobody else had. I can say one thing with absolute certainty, I have never been bored.

I think maybe fifteen minutes passed before Mom called and we cried and made up. You can’t make people’s decisions for them but you certainly can express your concerns if it comes from a place of love. Her want and need to protect me was a Mother’s beautiful love. For the record Kirk and my Mom have a mutual love and respect for each other and if he raises his voice to me now she still doesn’t condone it. I love her for that!

I had a pretty long engagement. There were several reasons for this. We had originally wanted to elope and get married away and when we decided to stay at home and have a small wedding I was adamant about making sure that everything was paid for in advance. I didn’t want to go into our marriage saddled with wedding dept. We managed to accumulate debt quickly enough afterwards.

We had a small wedding on our property at home in July of 2002. It was attended by family and close friends and then we explored the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton for a week. We had a lot of fun. It was relaxing. We were staying at this gorgeous chalet and I got out of the shower one evening and Kirk was sitting in the Jacuzzi with champagne poured and the TV turned so he could watch “Return of the Giant Squid” on The Discovery Channel. So romantic. Fear not my friends that romance has not faded, we went to Grand Cayman Island in the fall and he had me curl up in the King size bed with him with a faint tropical breeze blowing through the window and watch “1000 ways to die” ! That show scares me badly. Eek

On both these trips we did have some very nice and romantic times. My husband is an information junkie and as such his choice of shows doesn’t always fit my mood. Kirk is by far one of the smartest people I now. It surprises people if you just meet him because he is a non suit and tie Oil field Supervisor  who has has more smarts then all the big wig office, three piece suit chair filler types combined. He is a deep thinker who absorbs info like a sponge and very little of it leaks out. He has forgotten more information then most people learn in a lifetime. Just this morning lying in bed I mentioned the Bermuda Triangle and he proceeded to dispell all my myths and tell me all the facts as he believed them. I was in awe but all I recall from the conversation is water, bubbles, porous. I simply cannot retain the information as he does. I absolutely loved history in school but have retained very little of it. Haley was giving us a quiz last light and asked in what year did Paris gift the statue of liberty to New York and Kirk correctly answered 1876. I don’t recall ever knowing that. I am quite obviously not smarter then my daughter the third grader.

Typing this I am wondering if that is a contributing factor to Kirks stress because his head is so full!! Hmmm food for thought. Speaking of food, mine is almost ready.

Before I sign off am going to share with you a little challenge I started with the urging of my longtime friend Sandra. It is a project (Orange Rhino) to try to give up yelling and learning to get your point across in a much better way. My 13 year old is a yeller and I have to yell over her. It gets us nowhere. I have gotten through last night and today. Morgan and Kirk both tried me. Haley said she was proud that I didn’t yell at sissy when she had a meltdown. Yay, almost through day one!! Join me in the challenge and I will share updates on my progress on here. The goal is to reach 365 days yelling free. Did I mention I am purchasing shares in wine!! LOl. Also follow my friend Sandra on her blog for updates and so many fun tips and tricks for busy Moms at!/TheOrangeRhino

Kirk is home for Easter for the first time in FIVE years. Do you think I can get through the weekend YELL free?? Wish me luck 😉

Happy Easter

I am also sharing this for you because I like it. Much to my dismay Kirk makes me listen to country but I like this “feel good” good ol boy song and it reminds me of our younger days in NS driving down the dirt roads.