Author Archive


Remembering The Value of Suffering

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 10/20/14 1:32 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, compassionate parenting, perspective, Resilience

Sean and I have spent our entire parenting careers trying to instill certain values in our children.  They are the same values that were instilled in us by our own parents and to us they are platitudes to live by and remember.  And, my guess is, they aren’t all that unique.  Good people don’t become good people without walking a certain talk and sharing certain values.

The values of dedication and diligence; honesty and integrity; and compassion and humility have always been common threads of our parent-speak.  Those lessons are so well-intended but, I fear there is one lesson about reality we forgot to instill in our kids.

An unpleasant one at that.

Teaching our kids to live a good life–to be a good person–always includes the aforementioned virtues.  But somewhere down the line, I allowed my children to assume that if you live a certain way;  if you walk a certain talk; if you work hard and consistently;  if you tell the truth and live honorably;  if you are kind to others putting their needs ahead of your own the people around you will value your efforts.  You will be rewarded.

And that isn’t always the case.

Because life is often unfair.

I suppose teaching our children about the unfairness of the world  is something that we, as protective parents, have a hard time doing.  We want to shield our children from pain, and we fear that if we lift the veil on the randomness of loss, we’ll scare them–or discourage them.  Teaching about unfairness is also kind of tricky.  I can tell a six year old that if she practices her piano her teacher will be happy; or explain to a fifteen year old that his academic efforts will  be rewarded when it comes college admissions time.  Those lessons are  fairly objective.  But the world isn’t always black and white.

Subjectivity can be confusing.

We all know that unfairness always comes.  Sometimes because of random acts of nature.  Other times at the hands of people. And what makes it scary is that we can’t explain it. The “why” is absent.   So we struggle.

Struggling is difficult.   Watching your child struggle is excruciating.

Obviously, Sean and I are currently experiencing a situation with one of our children that has rattled us.  I think one of the reasons it’s been so unsettling is because the rationale behind the situation flys in the face of the virtues we’ve worked so hard to instill.  In this case, our child’s dedication and diligence; honesty and integrity; and compassion and humility was completely disregarded.  The situation was a blindside and like everything unfair–the “why” is absent.

Kids are resilient, though. I keep telling myself this.  I will admit my child isn’t handling the situation the way I would handle it.  But—that’s okay.  My child isn’t me.  I have to honor that.  All I can do is be present;  be respectful;  and be willing to listen and guide if the need presents itself.  I also have to repress my urge to rip the face off of the person who has led us down this path.  That, my friends,  is a feat.  (Ahem…I am nine months pregnant.  I’m guessing I might be able to plea temporary insanity in the event of losing control.)

Of course, that would help no one.

Last week Sean and I were recounting times in our lives where the virtues we live by didn’t seem to matter.  As a result, the lesson about life being unfair came up.  I also confided in my dad.  He reminded me that unfairness usually leads to valuable life lessons.  Of course, at the time, I didn’t really want to hear it—sometimes I need to wallow a bit— but deep down I knew he was right.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;  the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Kahlil Gibran

Being screwed over always hurts.  Watching your child get screwed over is even more painful, but time does manage to heal.   If there is healthy support the lessons of suffering can pave the way to a deeper understanding of the world and the people around us.  Suffering builds strength and,  if channeled positively, can give the gifts of compassion and perspective.  Good can come of this.  It still hurts, though.

Of course, this won’t be the first unfair thing that happens to my child.  It also, probably–and sadly–won’t be the worst.  It’s an important lesson.  One that I hope causes a double down of efforts to be dedicated and diligent in work; to live honestly and with integrity in  life; and treat others with compassion while remembering the importance of humility.

That’s where I’m hanging my hat this morning.

Now onward.

*****

I know, I know.  This was a heavier than normal post for me.  Rest assured, tomorrow I’ll return as my normal, silly self.  Just needed to get this off my chest.  There.  I feel better now.

The Name Game…Part Deux

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 10/14/14 9:24 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45, Recipes

I received an email today from a loyal reader asking me if I’d gone “off the grid”.  It made me chuckle because I’m not exactly “off ” the grid.  I’m more like “under” the grid.  And, the grid isn’t so much a grid.  It’s more of an onslot of book edits,  a pile of laundry and never ending doctor’s appointments that seem to be usurping my schedule in a way that isn’t allowing me to spend the time in this space that I’d like.  Plus…I’m friggin’ tired.  And I’m huge.  I’m probably tired because I’m huge.  Or maybe I’m huge because I’m tired.  It’s a chicken/egg thing.

Bottom line is I’m alive…my pregnancy is well…and  I’m profusely sorry for leaving anyone hanging.

I do have to say I always love it when one of my readers notices I’m missing.  It makes me feel safe because sometimes I actually wonder how long it would take Sean to notice if I was MIA–he’s a busy guy.  It’s good to know Debbie Schaaf has my back.  Thanks, friend.

*****

This past weekend Sean and I attended my cousin’s wedding in Chicago.  It was a quick overnight trip that gave us some alone time to talk about important stuff.  Like, how the hell did I end up 45 and pregnant.  (The miraculous conception of 2014 is still baffling to us.)  And, since the inevitability of this little guy is really starting to sink in, we’d better figure out what the heck we’re going to name him.  Because he needs a name.  And we’ve got nothing.

Sean and I have a history of not giving the topic of names for our children due diligence.  I think our lackadaisical attitude about baby names started with the best of intentions.  When I was pregnant with our oldest Sean refused to discuss names before he was born.  “You wouldn’t name a dog before you saw it.  Why would you name a kid before you saw it?”  This was Sean’s mantra and I went along with it assuming that I’d develop a short list of favorties and surely after he witnessed the pain and agony of childbirth he’d let me name the kid whatever I damn well pleased.

You know what?  I was right.  Our first son entered this world shortly after I ripped a belt loop from Sean’s jeans during transition labor and out of respect–or possibly fear–Sean let me name him.  No questions asked.

Naming Drew was easy. I’d loved the name Andrew…shortened to Drew…my entire life.  That being said, we still managed to dodge a bullet that evening after our L&D nurse gently pointed out that we should consider our son’s initials before we went ahead with Andrew Sean Savage.

That’s why he is Andrew (because I’d always loved the name Drew but wanted a saint’s name)  John  (after Sean’s dad and also because we didn’t want his initials to be ASS) Savage.

Naming our second child followed a similar pattern.  We didn’t know our baby’s gender but I knew if it was a boy we’d be going with another name I’d spent my high school years scribbling on the back sides of my notebooks.    Again, Sean wouldn’t discuss the name during our pregnancy.  And, again, after nearly losing my life during an emergency c-section I was granted unchallenged naming rights.

That’s why our second son is Ryan  (because I love the name) Sean  (because I love his daddy)  Savage.

Mary Kate’s full name is  Mary Kathleen Savage.  She is named after Sean’s mother which was truly a heartfelt gesture that conjured all kinds of warm fuzzies until my mom came to the hospital and asked me a trick question.  “Um…Carolyn, did you pick Mary Kate because you liked the name or did you pick it because you wanted to name her after Sean’s mom?”    

I was like a deer in headlights because I honestly didn’t know if there was a satisfactory answer.  After a few second hesitation I threw a hail Mary and went with, “Uh…we liked the name?”  Which seemed to do the trick.

It’s also why one of the twins is named Reagan (after the president) Linda (after my mother) Savage.

As for the other twin’s name..  Well that’s where our lack of appropriate planning bit us…or me…in the arse.  First off let me rattle off a couple of excuses.  Naming twins is hard.  Naming twins of the same gender is harder.  And, lastly naming babies when there’s a third party with a well-earned equal vote makes the process kind of crazy.  You see, we gave Jennifer a say in the girl’s names.  It only seemed fitting.  She was birthing them so she got a voice–and a veto.

Here’s the thing.  She and I were always in agreement.  Sean was the fly in the ointment.  We liked Harper.  Sean said no.  Sean liked Stephanie.  We said no.  We all liked Reagan but couldn’t agree on an equally balanced name from the contemporary genre.  As a result, I scribbled out a list of ten favorites on the back of a Lowe’s receipt about an hour before Jennifer’s c-section and we agreed to reconvene once her anesthesia had worn off and the good drugs had set in.

It seemed like a decent plan until Baby B, who was full term and weighed a whopping 6#15 ounces refused to breath after birth.  Gone were the visions of all of us sitting in Jennifer’s postpartum room contemplating names, replaced instead by an emergency transport team that worked quickly at moving our baby girl to a hospital with a NICU.  It was an unexpected and very chaotic development that somehow ended in Baby B being given a name that wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

Hence, she is named Isabella (I have no idea why) Jennifer (after her guardian angel) Savage.

So…fast forward to crunch time.  We are T-minus six weeks and counting.  Sean and I have kicked around a few possibilites for this little guy but nothing has really resonated.  Drew and Ryan think they get a say, but so far all they have come up with is “Steele”.  Um…not happening.  They’ve accepted the fact that their first suggestion has been vetoed but continue to insist their little bro has a name that is a little “kick ass“.

And that, my friends, is where you come in.  Sean and I are looking for a little inspiration.  Give us your best…your most distinguished…most creative and beloved suggestions.  And don’t forget…the name has to be a little “kick ass” too.

There are bonus points for explaining why the name is so awesome.

Okay…go.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

*****

A few recent pics from our family.

Drew ran against his high school teammate at a recent college cross country meet.  So fun to see these boys later in life.

Drew ran against his high school teammate at a recent college cross country meet. So fun to see these boys later in life.

 

Ryan is nearing the end of his senior cross country season.

Ryan is nearing the end of his senior cross country season.

Took our girls..again...to the Gust Pumpkin Farm right up the road.  We have some serious bunny love going on.

Took our girls..again…to the Gust Pumpkin Farm right up the road. We have some serious bunny love going on.

DSC_0147

Big brother came to watch MK run her last cross country meet.

Big brother came to watch MK run her last cross country meet.

Daddy was super proud.

Daddy was super proud.

 

Me and my great Aunt Angie at my cousin's wedding.  Aunt Angie is my grandmother's baby sister.  I love seeing her!

Me and my great Aunt Angie at my cousin’s wedding. Aunt Angie is my grandmother’s baby sister. I love seeing her!

 

My baby cousin and my baby bump at the wedding.

My baby cousin and my baby bump at the wedding.

Sunday morning we woke to the pitter patter of the Chicago Marathon passing our hotel.  Awesome sight.

Sunday morning we woke to the Chicago Marathon passing our hotel. Awesome sight.  Awesome weekend.

 

If you are looking for the recipe for candy corn bark I talked about on 101.5 The River with Rick and Mary Beth click HERE.

“Throwing The Kitchen Sink at This”: A Pregnancy Update

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 09/29/14 5:59 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Health & Safety, Prayers, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45

Last week was a bit of a milestone for us.

I delivered Ryan at thirty weeks on the dot so every pregnancy since I’ve celebrated passing thirty weeks sans delivery as an accomplishment. When I was pregnant with MK I vividly remember a family dinner where I confidently announced that Ryan would officially be our smallest baby.  I incorrectly assumed that since I carried MK to 32 weeks she’d be bigger.  Imagine our shock when she was actually 2 ounces smaller despite the extra two weeks of cooking time.

Mary Kate, 2008 at a whopping 2 pounds 15 ounces.

Mary Kate, 2008 at a whopping 2 pounds 15 ounces.

As I type this I’m sitting at 31 weeks three days and as much as I’d love to report that I’m cool as a cucumber about the remainder of this pregnancy the truth is I’m a bit jumpy.  Because of my history of early onset of HELLP Syndrome and other pregnancy related complications I’m on what I would call a close watch.  My doctor’s appointments dropped to every two weeks at 28 weeks and last week it was decided that I should be seen once a week for a non-stress tests (NST).  If you’ve read Inconceivable you know I hate non-stress tests because…well… they stress me the hell out.  As far as I’m concerned the notion they are called non-stress tests is an oxymoron.  In my opinion they would more appropriately be called “Let’s-scare-the-shit-out-of-this-pregnant-mother-for-kicks-test.”  I’m guessing that title wouldn’t fit on the contraption they use for the NST.

Anyways, I’ve realized that these last seven weeks are going to be hard.  I’m huge and tired.  Yesterday I schlepped the twins, a stroller, a bag full of crap and a chair to watch MK’s soccer game in 80 degree heat.  By the time I made it back to the car I felt like Chevy Chase in the desert.

chevy chase

 

Getting around is getting challenging.  I need to get better at gaging what I can and really can’t do.

In addition, every ache;  every little abdominal pain; every little twinge of nausea worries me.  It’s all normal–but it’s also how my troubles started during the pregnancies that didn’t end so well. As a result, I’m in a constant state of analyzing my physical well-being with a side of well earned paranoia.  I figure the only way to get through this is if I take it day by day.  Each day will be an accomplishment.  Which sounds like it should be easy.  But my days seem to long.  Really long.  With a lot of physical demand.  Luckily our schedules are going to lighten up over the next two weeks.  I think that will help.  As long as I don’t have the baby before then.

So, if you’ll bear with me over the next 35 days I could really use your encouragement.  My goal is very simple at this point.  I want to make it into November without a delivery.  If I can do that, I will have surpassed every pregnancy since my first.  The icing on the cake would be to deliver a baby without a NICU team being present.  Of course, that would require me to go all the way to 39 weeks, so what I’ll settle for is to avoid NICU time for this child.  If I could just have a baby that is categorized into the well-nursery…well…that would be a dream come true.

My posts are going to come more frequently as I get closer because I need all the hand-holding–real and virtual–I can get.

*****

Rest assured I’m in great medical hands.  In addition to the weekly NST’s I’m having bloodwork to monitor my liver enzymes, platelets, and red blood cell counts.  All of this information will arm my medical providers with the knowledge they need to spot trouble early.  In the words of my doctors, “We are going to throw the kitchen sink at this.” I guess I’m good with that approach even if it is scary.

Of course, if any warning signs appear we will hopefully have time to administer the steriod shots to help with the baby’s lung development.  It worked for Logan.  Hopefully it will work for this little guy, too.

Fingers crossed.

Considering Being A Human Boob: Looking for Nursing Tips.

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 09/15/14 11:59 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Choices, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45, The Babies!

It’s time to face the music.  It’s not that I’m trying to avoid it.  It’s just that I have so many other balls in the air right now the actual task of preparation for this baby keeps being postponed.  My goal is to have all of my Christmas shopping done and wrapped before October 15th.  (My friend Amy would be SO proud.)  This week I have to clean out my entire garage–and when I say entire garage I mean ENTIRE garage!  Meaning by next Monday my garage has to be empty.  As in there can be nothing in it.

Because we are a little crazy we figured this would be a good time to undertake a major addition and renovation to our home.

Because we are a little crazy we figured this would be a good time to undertake a major addition and renovation to our home.

We are dropping our master bedroom into our existing garage and building a new garage onto the side of our house.

We are dropping our master bedroom into our existing garage and building a new garage onto the side of our house.

As a result, everything in that garage has to go in here...or into the basement.  May the force be with us.

As a result, everything in that garage has to go in here…or into the basement. May the force be with us.

So, baby prep has to wait.  Except I know that putting it off isn’t the wisest of decisions given my history of shaving a few weeks…or months…off of my pregnancies.  I’m really hadging my bets with this little guy, however.  Given how well I’m doing combined with the fact that I’ve had a very stern discussion with him about how he must wait until at least November 2nd due to his sibling’s schedules, I figure I’m kind of safe.  So far he seems like a pretty compliant boy.

Of course that could change at any moment.

Cue anxiety.

So, I’m dipping my toes into the waters of preparation.  Nothing crazy like recollecting all my baby gear that is in my friend Tracy’s basement, or God forbid buying baby clothes!  I need to start slow.  I figure doing a little research and reading is more my speed at this moment.  As a result, I’m looking for some informative resources about breast feeding.  I need a starting point.

Now, before anyone goes all willy-nilly in this space about the glory of nursing I want to provide my personal background on the subject. I’m not a rookie…but my experiences have been unique.

Baby #1 –  Drew was born full term and was formula fed.  At the time I made the decision to forego breast feeding for multiple reasons.  I was going back to work the minute he turned six weeks old; I wanted Sean to be able to bond with Drew through the act of feeding him; and, at the time, not a single person in my immediate family had done anything but formula feed.  It was the norm.  And, I’m happy to report that 20 years later he seems just fine.

September 1994

September 1994

Baby #2 –  Ryan was fed nothing but breast milk for his first six months of life.  I decided to nurse Ryan when I delivered him at 30 weeks gestation due to HELLP Syndrome.  Preemies notoriously tolerate breast milk better than formula.  Their under developed digestive systems need the gentlest nourishment nature has to offer.  However, I quickly learned in the NICU that the act of nursing takes a lot of energy on baby’s part.  It’s harder to suck milk out of a human nipple than it is to suck it out of a preemie bottle nipple.  So, I made the decision to pump the milk into bottles for him and never went back.  Ryan was never put to breast.  It was a lot of work but it was worth it.

Ryan at birth in the NICU.

Ryan at birth in the NICU.

Baby # 3 –  Mary Kate was eight weeks premature due to a milder case of HELLP Syndrome so I followed the same pumping regimen that I used with Ryan.  Interestingly, protocols had changed between 1997 and 2008.  So, not only did MK get breast milk, but the NICU insisted on mixing a specially prepared formula in with the breast milk to increase her caloric intake.  She did gain weight faster due to the added formula so we maintained that regimen for six months.  As a result, she was never put to breast.

Mary Kate, 2008

Mary Kate, 2008

Baby #4 & 5 –  Reagan and Isabella were delivered by our friend, Jennifer, who served as our gestational carrier.  As a result, they were formula fed with the exception of the ten days that Isabella was in the NICU after birth.  Her admission was extremely unexpected because the twins were full term, but nevertheless she had breathing problems.  It was then that Jennifer went above and beyond and pumped for her.  Isn’t that awesome?!?!  I just had to slip in this tidbit of informartion about Jennifer because it demonstrates what an awesome first mother she was to our daughters.  I will be forever grateful for what she did for our family.

Reagan and Isabella, 2011

Reagan and Isabella, 2011

Although two of my children have received the benefits of breast milk I have never had a traditional nursing experience and I want one.  I think.  Let me say I’m not hellbent on nursing.  I’ll do what works best for our son and our family, but as of right now, with no indication of him showing up early, I’m thinking I’d like to try and nix the bottles and simply breast feed.  There are some aspects of that decision that make me very nervous and that is where I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Intake

First, I’m nervous about not knowing exactly how much my child has eaten.  With bottles I could measure, record and track the number of ounces consumed at each feeding. And I did.  Neurotically.   The idea that I’m just supposed to rely on my child having wet diapers makes me uneasy.  Thoughts?

The Human Boob

Second, I’m nervous about being relegated to nothing but a human boob.  I have five other children who need my attention and I have visions of being on the couch all day with a baby hanging off of me.  I would love to hear from some moms who have managed to exclusively nurse and meet the needs of the rest of their brood.  Are there any tricks?  Equipment that was helpful?  Please share.

Bonding with Dad

Sean loves feeding our children and I love the bond that is created between him and his child as a result.  If I exclusively breast feed how do we foster that same bonding experience for him?  I’m especially curious if anyone has successfully pumped and nursed.  I’m wondering if I can pump a little into a bottle and let him feed the baby every once in awhile without causing massive boughts of nipple confusion.

The idea of not having to deal with bottles is very appealing to me.  The idea of bloody, cracked nipples: being the only one who can ever feed this child rendering me exhausted; and boughts of mastitis scare the crap out of me.  That’s why I’m asking for some feed back.

And, on that note…I don’t want this discussion to denegrate into a “breast is ALWAYS best” discussion.  Like I already wrote…I’ve formula fed and it was just fine.  To each his own.  I’m specifically looking for some resources that I can read so I know kind of what to expect.

Thanks in advance as always.  I will truly appreciate all of your thoughts and advice.  After all,  it was solicited.

Now….Go!

 

 

 

And Then She Fell in A Hole…and Pee’d Her Pants.

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 09/9/14 10:48 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up, perspective, Pregnant at 45, Shenanigans

I have the plague.

Okay.  Maybe it’s not the plague.  Actually I think I may very well have the “mystery virus” that is popping up all over the midwest.  Reports say that those primarily effected are children.  I know I’m not *a child* but I’m *with child*—er—so maybe that puts me in the high risk group?   Regardless, I have been sicker than I’ve ever been before with some sort of respiratory illness that has rendered me short on oxygen and energy.

In other words I’ve been a worthless sack of humanity this past week.  Hence my absence from the radio and this space.

Of course, the show that is the Savage household doesn’t shut down for sick days.  Kids still go to school, activities are still attended, and the to-do list still needs doing.  Of course, none of my chores have been slam-dunked this past week.  Instead, it’s all been a giant example of “half-assery”.  Well packed lunches were replaced with lunch money;  kids were a little less polished in both their appearance and preparedness; and chores?  Well, I resorted to a bare minimum to-do list leaving peripheral duties…like laundry… for the weekend.

I’ll be digging myself out for days.

Isn’t that how us mothers do illness, though?  We put ourselves last and come hell or highwater we can’t take a day off no matter how crappy we feel.  It’s both noble—and stupid. Noble because nothing will stand in the way of being present for our children.  Stupid because after we drag ourselves to these supposed watershed moments sometimes sickness prevails and we look plain stupid for not listening to our bodies and collapsing into our beds.

What am I alluding to?  Allow me to set the scene.

Drew had his first NCAA cross country meet of his sophomore season this past Friday.  The race was  in Athens, Ohio, a mere four hour drive from our home.  Knowing it would be an all-day commitment both Sean and I made the necessary plans to attend.  Friday meetings were rescheduled; babysitters were hired;  and rides home from school were arranged.   I thought my ducks were in row—until I got sick.

Sean:  Do you think you should go?  I mean, you don’t look so hot.

Carolyn:  I’m not missing this.  I’ll take some tylenol and rest in the car.  There’s nothing anyone can do for me here, anyways.  It’s viral.  I’m pregnant.  I have no choice but to suffer through it and wait for my immune system to kick in.  Plus, what harm could come from watching a running race on a golf course?

Little did I know.

Fast forward to the morning of the race.  My cough was epic causing me two very inconvenient issues.  The first was easily solved by a text to my midwife who gave me permission to use my inhaler.  The second, however, was bit more of a nuisance.  You see, I’m 28 weeks pregnant and my sweet little two pound bundle of joy is resting comfortably on top of my bladder.

My forty-five year old, warn-out, saggy bladder.

I don’t want to get graphic here, folks.  So, let’s just say that not only did my cough cause me to have to refill my inhaler but it also led me down an aisle of the drug store I’d never paid much attention to.  As I stood in that aisle I realized how little I knew about the product I needed and was quickly overwhelmed by the vast selection.  There were mini-pads, maxi-pads and full on under garments.  Some were designed for men.  Others for women.  All of them promised discretion and came with guarantees of absorbancy.

I studied the products and sized up my issue.  It’s only a little when I cough.  I need to catch it.  Not collect it.  I don’t think I’d classify the issue as a major leak.  Let’s categorize it as mild to moderate.  And with that, I grabbed something I thought would do the trick and scurried back to the tampon aisle–a place more befitting of a 45 year old woman…who’s not pregnant.

Oh well.

By the time we arrived at the race I was convinced I was prepared.  Tylenol had been swallowed;  inhaler had been inhaled; and any mild to moderate “spills” were guaranted to be contained…it said so on the package.  I was confident.  And all was going swimmingly.  The race started, Drew was off, and I commenced my waddle across the course to snap pictures where I could.

I was so proud of myself.  I was there despite the fact that I felt like hell and sounded like I had a fifteen-pack-a-day habit.

Everything was going great until Drew hit the third mile.  It was then that I thought I should make my way towards the finish line.  Sean had long abandoned me to run around the course encouraging Drew at different stages of the race, so I was alone.  Me.  The very pregnant mother of a sophomore in college.

And…about that.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again.  Nothing has gotten me more stares than the wondering eyes of my fellow collegiate parents.  I can practically read their horrified minds as they ponder going back to the days of bassinets, burp cloths and bottles AFTER having successfully booted one chick from the nest.  I’m sure maybe an iota of what I imagine is projected onto their private thoughts from somewhere deep in my psyche…but I have no doubt the looks of astonishment I get from that crowd are genuine.  And I understand them.  If it were someone else I’d be thinking the same thing.

That being said, I’m a little self conscious around the whole college parent scene.  And, on this particular day I was trying hard to look inconspicuous. It was going okay until I fell.

That’s right.

As I began my waddle towards the finish line I managed to find a well camouflaged, twelve inch hole and promptly fell into it.  My camera flew out of my hands.  My sunglasses fell to the ground.  As I was falling I remember thinking, “Holy hell!   Please don’t let anyone be watching.”

No such luck.

Unfortunately, the tumbling mass of pregnant woman managed to catch the peripheral attention of at least a dozen other bystanders who ran to help.

I wanted to die.

I wanted to die because it was embarrassing.  I wanted to die because drawing more attention to myself was the last thing I wanted.  And, I wanted to die because if hurt like hell.  I’d twisted my right ankle something fierce and as I quickly popped up and assured the growing crowd around me that I was perfectly fine I was thinking, I think I just broke my fucking ankle AND for the love of  God hold onto the one last shred of dignity you have and don’t fucking cry.

But it was too late.

I could feel the tears coming as my ankle throbbed.  Out of desperation, I made a last ditch desperate attempt to mask my pain by laughing—because you know—that makes sense.  So,  I laughed like what just happened was the funniest thing I’d ever seen–which under normal circumstances may have saved me and lightened the mood of the very concerned bystanders–but instead, given my current bought of what may have been the Ohio version of ebola, sent me into an immediate respiratory spasm.  Before I knew it I was doubled over coughing so hard I could see stars.

That’s when the horror set.

What happened next is somewhat of a blur.  I think my fuzzy memory of exactly how this went down is due to either oxygen deprivation from the cough or because the the human mind, out of self-preservation, is hard wired to forget traumatic incidents.

And traumatic it was.

Because with every cough.  Every contraction of my diaphragm.  I flooded.   I quickly thought about the packaging I’d so hastily read earlier that day as the words “mild to moderate” mocked me.  There was absolutely nothing “mild to moderate” about what was happening in that moment.

This was a catastrophic event.

*****

When I was sixteen I wrecked my mom’s car during my driver’s license exam.  When the secretary of state person drove her to the scene of the accident she gently told me something important as I sat in the back of the cop car explaining to the police officer that, “I can’t provide you with my driver’s license because I was actually taking the driving test when I disregarded that stop sign“.

She said I’d laugh about this one day.  At the time, I didn’t believe her.

But she was right.

*****

I have no idea if anyone around me truly realized what happened in that hole on that golf course last Friday afternoon.  After I eventually caught my breath, I thanked everyone for their concern, assured them I was fine and then pointed to the finish line.  By the grace of God, the runners were coming.  They all left which gave me a moment to take inventory of how bad the situation was.

Luckily I had a change of clothes in the car, and a cooler full of ice to plunge my ankle into.  As for my dignity?   Well, I admittedly checked that at the door during my first labor and delivery experience.  No harm, no foul.  And with that, I waddled to the ladies room.

Later on that evening Drew noticed something was amiss.

Drew:  Why are you limping, Mom?

Me:  I fell in a hole at the race.

Drew:  Oh man [horrifed].  Did anyone notice?

Me:  Yes, Drew.  Many people noticed. 

As for how much they noticed?  Well, hopefully I’ll never know.

*****

FYI…My ankle isn’t broken.  And, I’m happy to report my virus is responding to antibiotic treatment.  I guess it isn’t ebola.  I’m hoping to be back to my regular old self by the end of the week.

Of course, laughing…with proper protection…has helped as well.