Don’t Be Sarah This Thanksgiving

Saw this last night on Funny or Die and had to share.

thanksgivingfunny.png

I’ve been so busy working on the campaign to #savecarlsbad #nolagoonmall #notincarlsbad that I haven’t been paying enough attention to blogging. All the info is athttp://www.citizensfornorthcounty.org if you’re interested in how a group of concerned neighbors are fighting to save our lagoon from bad city leaders and their outside billionaire developer friend.

Angel Boy and preggy DIL are here and I prepared a delicious Vegan Veggie Pot Pie for dinner last night; took pics and was gonna share the recipe, but it’ll have to wait until there’s a lull in the action around here.

A quote about the real meaning of Thanksgiving from my secret crush…Jon Stewart

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”

Now I have to go, cos my famous Kugel noodle/fruit dish has been requested and it’s time to roll my sleeves up and get to work.
Not Kegel, But a KUGEL-icuos  Recipe for Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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Ten Fingers, Ten Toes, and a Congenital Defect. (Part One)

Ten little fingers1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect.

Every 4 1/2 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect.

From March of Dimes…

“If your baby is born with a birth defect or other health condition, he may need special care at birth and later in life.

You may be worried and have lots of questions. It’s OK to feel this way.

Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. They change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. Birth defects can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops or how the body works”

DEFECT is such an ugly word: a shortcoming, an imperfection, a deficiency.

A congenital disorder.

In other words, NOT perfect.

I failed as a mom, even before my baby was born.

Or at least that’s how I felt when I discovered that my son suffered from a Meckel’s diverticulum.

I didn’t learn this when I was pregnant during a regular office visit or ultrasound; he was thirty-three years-old and being rolled into emergency surgery all the way across the country when the surgeon revealed the reason why my son was writhing in such horrific pain that morphine couldn’t dull and why his belly was distended.

At first they thought it was appendicitis, but it wasn’t.

It was far worse and if we had not had such an amazing surgeon; there’s a strong possibility that he would not be here now, having his own baby boy.

Apparently he had been born with Meckel’s diverticulum, a true congenital diverticulum, which is a slight bulge in the small intestine present at birth and a vestigial remnant of the omphalomesenteric duct (also called the vitelline duct or yolk stalk).

Meckel’s diverticulum is the most common congenital abnormality of the small intestine; it is caused by an incomplete obliteration of the vitelline duct (ie, omphalomesenteric duct). Although originally described by Fabricius Hildanus in 1598, it is named after Johann Friedrich Meckel, who established its embryonic origin in 1809.

In 1981, there was nothing like the sort of sophisticated diagnostic tools we have today. I think I had a doppler to hear the heartbeat and that’s it. There was no need to subject me or my baby to amniocentesis and I was all about natural and organic, so the less invasive, the better.

Even now, despite being one of the most common congenital anomalies of the gastrointestinal tract, Meckel diverticulum has rarely been diagnosed in utero, although there is the potential to see it if it exists at the end of the third trimester.

What I learned from the doctors is that it either causes no problem at all or it causes a problem when the child is about two years old, or it causes the kind of complications my son endured as an adult, which can be life threatening.

Which it was.

If this condition is left untreated, it leads to strangulation and ischemic necrosis of the wall of the bowel loop.

  • Most patients with intestinal obstruction present with abdominal pain, bilious vomiting, abdominal tenderness, distention, and hyperactive bowel sounds upon examination.
  • Patients may develop a palpable abdominal mass.

From the moment my DIL brought my son to the emergency room and called us at 3 a.m.,  the whirlwind that brought me and tugboat man rushing from SoCal to the east coast — his intestines were dying and had become so necrotic that two feet (24 inches!) of small intestine would be resected, along with the removal of the inflamed and burst Meckel’s diverticulum, his appendix, eight inches of ascending colon, and various other bits and pieces that were also affected and infected.

I can’t even describe the fear and guilt that washed over me in waves while I didn’t leave his side for the two weeks he was in the hospital.

Why didn’t I know?

What could I have done to have prevented it?

How could I be such a horrible mother?

How come my baby wasn’t perfect?

What if…he didn’t survive?

I know those are the kind of irrational thoughts that have no basis in reality, but a mother’s heart is so fierce, I would have died for him.

And with him.

I’m so grateful to the surgeon and the great nursing care at Rhode Island Hospital; because of them, my Angel Boy is here today.

Here’s the complete story of that almost tragedy on my other blog, Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife:

POSTS ABOUT THE SURGERY:

1. That Dreaded Call at 3:00 A.M.
http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/01/that-dreaded-call-at-300-a-m/

2. Time To Exhale
http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/06/time-to-exhale-hospital-update/

3. Full Circle From Hell to Happiness
http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/10/full-circle-from-hell-to-happiness/

4. What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma, Unit, and Mother’s Day Have in Common
http://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/11/what-does-a-cosmo-the-trauma-unit-and-mothers-day-have-in-common/

Silicon Valley, Stress, and Pregnancy

I’m sitting in my DIL’s posh office in the Silicon Valley while she entertains potential clients.

I have to say that I’m FREEZING up here; the weather is frigid compared to sunny Southern California and I’m wearing socks, a sweater, and a coat on top of that.

(And I’m inside.)

I flew up to San Fran to accompany DIL to a doctor’s appointment and experience her ultrasound in real time.

What an amazing gift to be able to see my darling grandchild swimming around, opening and closing his eyes, and yawning!

Truly magical.

And now we’re here in her office, where she holds court in a male dominated industry.

All of that got me thinking about stress and how our two pregnancies are/were so different.

I wasn’t working and really had no stress at all, except for figuring out what color to paint the nursery and what name was worthy of being attached to my angel boy.

I did a little research about the effects of stress on pregnancy and the unborn child.

According to an article the The Guardian, stress experienced by a woman during pregnancy may affect her unborn baby as early as 17 weeks after conception, with potentially harmful effects on brain and development, according to new research. The study is the first to show that unborn babies are exposed to their mother’s stress hormones at such an early stage in pregnancy.

The findings, published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, come after separate research on animals showed that high levels of stress in a mother during pregnancy could affect brain function and behaviour in her offspring, and other evidence suggesting that maternal stress in humans can affect the developing child, including lowering its IQ.

I think it’s critical to think about the uterus as the first environment and everything a mother thinks, feels, and eats might have a direct impact on the baby before and after birth.

Chronic stress might form the basis for an anxious and/or unhappy child.

Stress might also contribute to preterm labor and premature birth, low birth weight, and increased problems later on, possibly even PTSD.

So.

Light a candle, breathe, do yoga, meditate, and calm down.

For you AND baby.

Om…

https://deborahking.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/meditate-zen.jpg
https://deborahking.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/meditate-zen.jpg

A World of Firsts

AB2.0A first grandchild brings memories of other firsts:

That first moment I knew I was pregnant.

The first time nausea was how I defined each waking moment, a fog of nausea and exhaustion no amount of sleep could erase.

That red letter day I woke up and for the first time in four months wasn’t running to the bathroom to throw up.

It was a day to celebrate. My mom made blueberry pancakes and I not only kept the entire stack down—I gorged on a second serving.

The first time I looked really and truly without-a-doubt pregnant.

That was about the time I felt that first flutter-butterfly kisses from the inside.

The insane feeling of the first kick – and how it was so much more intimate than anyone had warned me about.

That was my baby in there!

A HUMAN attached absolutely and for all time —with his own arms and legs and brain and thoughts and feelings and it was overwhelming.

The first Braxton-Hicks contractions.

I called my mom and she rushed over in less than fifteen minutes to take my vitals and reassure me that this was NOT the real thing. Not yet. (She was an RN.)

The first real contraction.

The first realization that it hurt so much more than I had anticipated.

And then, outside of my body for the first time, unattached but wonderfully connected by heart and soul; the first time I was able to hold my precious baby boy.

Who is now having his own first baby boy.

Simply crazy.

No way I’m that old, right?

I guess there’s a first for everything.

 

Happy World Vegan Day!

Instead of possibly boring everyone with my own long-winded vegan journey, I thought I’d celebrate the day by sharing images!

A short preach: I became vegan in 1970, first of all because my high school surfer boyfriend decided to go vegan, and I continued to follow the meat-free path even after we broke up. I don’t  miss eating meat. Chicken IS meat, so I don’t eat that either, in case you were wondering. in the past I would eat seafood once in a while, but I cut that out, too. The hardest thing to give up was cheese until I saw the video of the living hell endured by dairy animals. So there you have it. Oh, and my Chanels…so I still have miles to go before I’m perfectly cruelty-free. 

And I was vegan during my pregnancy with Angel Boy so it’s definitely possible to grow a baby by maintaining a healthy non-meat focused diet.

No meat means no chemicals, toxins,  antibiotics , or hormones.

tumblr_mtzvvyKGhC1qhlsrfo1_1280you-are-what-you-eatVegan Month A2 Postersoeecardsveganhighproteinvegannoeatanimals

World ME

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The Boy Who Is My Heart. So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller

I’m not much given to waxing poetic, even though my minor was creative writing, but this one moment in time moved me to string words together and it was actually published a couple years ago in an anthology. It’s one of my absolute favorite bits of writing. Copied from my other blog, Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife (www.enchantedseashells.com)


…a sort of homage to William Carlos Williams

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried

in the dirt
behind the shed
On a bitterly cold afternoon, my tugboat man and I embarked on our annual yard cleanup project.
I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California while he trimmed the eucalyptus and mulberry trees.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
I saw bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles suffused it with a gleaming radiance through the brown. 
steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discover in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect child. 
I gently brushed away twenty-five years of encrusted soil and sand.
steamroller2
sandboxI was engulfed in a wave of memory. I was there. I saw him.
My heart.
My four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  
I saw him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.
And back to my heart. 
looking down from the hill
The Red Wheelbarrow 
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

Shopaholic Crisis Averted—Thanks to Kate Spade

I’ve already unburdened myself and confessed my total lack of interest in my passion—shopping, that is, and I’ve been putting myself in all kinds of situations to heal this PROBLEM of mine.

And that means I’ve been forcing myself to overcome this debilitating disorder by NOT buying baby things, but to purchase something for MYSELF.

So I did.

Crisis over.

Check out these sparkly Kate Spade earrings.katespadeearrings

Totes perf, right? LOVE LOVE LOVE

But as is the case lately, I was inextricably drawn to the other side of the store and look what I found!

How could I resist these tugboat themed babeeee things?

Obvs I could NOT.

tugboatbaby1Can’t you just picture Grandpa Tugboat Man and AB 2.0 in the rocking chair? ADORBS.
tugboatbaby2

Also posted on Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife
http://www.enchantedseashells.com