So Maybe I Am Not Mother of the Year
Today, My Daughter Turns Ten!
If you know me, or if you have read some of my other articles such as
then you know a bit about me and my daughter as well as our difficult history.
Today is her tenth birthday. It is a huge milestone for a little girl who was born with so many disadvantages and who had to fight so hard for her life after she was born. Today I am reflecting on my life as a mother and I thought what better way to do it, then by doing what I love second most after being a mother, by writing about it!
Before I was blessed with my miracle
As a young adult, I often made silly comments about having children. I would say things like "God help the world if I ever reproduce!"
I was busy living it up. I was steady partying with my friends, travelling, meeting famous people and just overall believing I was too cool for school. I had so many exciting experiences including following bands on tour to different cities and hanging out with them after their concerts. It was very awesome indeed.
As I began to approach my thirties, my life had settled down considerably. Several of my friends were married and having children of their own and I did start to wonder what it would be like to have a baby. I felt very lonely with my friends busy in their own life and me having moved ten hours away from my own family. Part of me figured that if I had a kid at least I would have someone to love me and be with me. I reasoned that a kid had to love and be with their mother for a little while at least... wasn't it like... the law?
It's not like I hadn't tried to get pregnant in the past. I had the same boyfriend for over ten years. We definitely would welcome a child, it just never happened for me.
Since I did not have a baby, I decided to put my spare time and effort into getting my second college degree. My first one, right out of high school had been in art, because I wanted to be a writer. I began working on my second one in Psychology. The reason I wanted to study psychology is because I knew so many people who were depressed and suicidal and I felt devastated by that. I wanted to help people because I felt that nobody should ever feel so badly that they no longer wanted to live their lives.
Well into working on my degree, I found out that I had cancer. (You can read a bit about my cancer journey here:Thyroid Cancer: My Personal Journey)
It was a difficult time however, I continued to study while getting my treatments to fight the cancer. Shortly after my radioactive iodine treatment for the cancer, I found out I was pregnant. Extremely afraid that getting pregnant so soon after treatment would hurt the baby, I sought out answers from several specialists.
Between my high risk pregnancy doctor, my nuclear medicine doctor adn a radiation safety officer, I was assured that the level of radiation still in my system at the time of conception, would not affect the pregnancy!
Despite my efforts, she was born too early.
I tried to do everything right during my pregnancy. I went to all my check ups and consulted regularly with all my doctors and tried to stay as healthy as possible.
My daughter was due on October 7th 2009, she was born on June 21st 2009, 24 weeks early. I had suffered from an incompetent cervix and was admitted to the hospital two weeks earlier. She only weighed 1 pound and 6 ounces at the time of her birth. She was born feet first, inside the water which had not broken. It was the most frightening day of my life. Immediately after she was born, a team of doctors and nurses began to work on her. Once they finished they were about to take her to the NICU and my doctor told them to let me see her first. They wheeled the incubator over to my bedside. I remember seeing her tiny little feet and her tony little nose. I was speechless. One of the nurses finally said to me "Well, what do you think?"
My only response was, "I love her."
She was so tiny.
I was able to go see my daughter later that day in the NICU. I wasn't allowed to hold her, not for a couple weeks. I was however, allowed to touch her. It was scary and nurses and doctors were giving me more information than I knew how to process but, they all seemed pretty positive.
She had been born so early that we hadn't even thought of any names for her yet. After a few days and few hundred threats from the nurses, we finally decided to call her Addison, after Addison St. in Chicago. Her father is a huge Chicago Cubs fan and the home of the Cubs, Wrigley Field is on Addison St.
Once I was finally released from the hospital, my mother and Addison's father wanted to take me out to eat since I had been eating nothing but a strict hospital diet for weeks. We ended up getting a few blocks away from the hospital and walking into a restaurant before I had my breakdown. As we walked into the restaurant I began to cry and I had to leave and go right back to the hospital to be with her. I hated being away from her.
The following months were torture. I did not go a day without visiting her in the hospital, often times I went more than once a day. Sometimes we even got up in the middle of the night to be with her. She struggled, and suffered so much. It was so painful to see, but she fought like a champion in spite of everything she had to endure.
On December 2nd 2009, she was finally able to come home with us.
Home at last.
She came home with a central line and some other small issues but, between me and her father and the nurse that came every few days, we managed to take care of her and she thrived.
It was a very difficult decision but I ended up leaving my job. My daughter was too fragile to go into daycare. We had no family member nearby that could care for her while I worked. Our only other option was to hire a nurse to take care of her during the day and that was something we could not afford.
I left my job to stay home and take care of my sick child. I hated leaving a job that I loved however, I know it was the right decision and I never regretted it. She deserved to have the person who loved her most in the world there with her and caring for her every day.
She started to become a little lady.
Over the next two years I continued to care for her and work with her daily. She was tough and stubborn and had her own little punk rock style and personality. She was definitely my child!
It probably had a lot to do with everything we went through and possibly how many times we almost lost her, but since the moment she was born I have never once taken a single moment with her for granted. Simple things like the first time I got to take her for a walk in her stroller were monumental events for us. Every milestone was a miracle and I knew it.
Right before Addison's first birthday I went to the hospital because my leg was swelling up. It turned out I had a blot clot. It was serious and we were lucky to catch it because it turned out that my birth control pills had caused me to get a DVT (deep Vein Thrombosis) in my right leg and PE (Pulmonary Embolism) in my lung. I spent the next week in the hospital due to the severity of my condition as a side effect of a PE is sudden death.
I did not think I would would another child.
Because of everything Addison went through, I was terrified to have another child. I did not want to watch another baby suffer the way that she did. After my blood clot issue, I had to stop taking birth control pills. I didn't think much of it because I was too busy taking care of Addison to be romantic much with her father. And then of course, the cancer came back.
We joke that the radiation treatments cause me to have a irresistible glow and become extra fertile because once again, just a few months after radiation, I was pregnant with my son.
After Addison, I was extra cautious. I called my high risk doctor immediately and began going to appointments 3 times a week. I was on all sorts of medications and once I was at 16 weeks, I even got a cerclage done, where they stitch up my cervix to help prevent premature birth.
Everything I did must have worked because he kept growing big and strong inside me. He grew so much that I begged my doctor to give me a c-section at 38 weeks. Chase was born weighing 10 pounds and 4 ounces on November 30th, 2011. He was a big healthy boy and Addison was thrilled to have a little baby brother!
They became best friends.
They are so close but so different. Addison is soft spoken and shy while Chase is loud and proud. They are both tough, adventurous and love to play sports.
Chase asked me the other day if I like him better when he was a baby or now. I told him that when they were babies, they were both so adorable and I loved them so much. That being said, now that they are older and developing their own interests and personalities, I am able to have so much more fun with them.
I've said many times that I led a very cool life before I had kids but, being a mom is by far the coolest thing I have ever done!
I am not a perfect mother.
Despite how hard I try to do what is best for my children, and despite how much I love them, I do not always make the right choices. I am human and I make mistakes. It is difficult to remember this when I mess up, which is why I try to remind myself of this when things are going well.
Sometimes I forget things. Sometimes I forget to pack a snack in my son's school bag. Sometimes I get too busy to help my daughter study for a test. Sometimes I can't go to my son's baseball game because I have to take my daughter to girl scouts and I can't be in two places at once.
I hate when they cry.
I hate when they are sad, disappointed or hurting. I want to give them the world but at the same time I want them to learn how to be content with what they have. I want them to know how to be independent, how to work hard and take pride in their accomplishments. I want them to explore every possibility, every opportunity. I want them to follow their dreams and trust their hearts.
I want my children to respect others and respect themselves. I want my son to know how to treat a woman and my daughter to know how a man should treat her, and vice-versa. I want them to smile, to love, to laugh. Some days I wish I could just hold them in my arms forever because I love them so dearly, I never want to let them go.
Sometimes, I need a break!
Motherhood is not all fairytales and daffodils. As I stated once in my article What Is a Stay at Home Parent Really Worth? "I wiped somebody else’s butt every day of my life for 5 years." That is pretty much what the dark side motherhood is like. Not that I am complaining, because the good things are so wonderful, they make up for the poopy butts!
Addison had her little "Addytude" from day one! Now it can lead to very trying moments with her. She is so extremely stubborn. However, I remember that it was that same determination that kept her fighting for her life in the beginning. Back then, when she was still in the hospital, I remember telling one of the nurses how sweet my baby girl was. The nurse asked me how I was going to feel when she is a stubborn teenager who is talking back to me and saying she hates me. Back then, I couldn't even think that far ahead because I did not know how each day would end. I didn't even know if she would survive. When the nurse asked me that questions I responded with "I will thank God that I have a teenager daughter who is doing normal teenage girl things."
Chase is super sensitive. He can be rough and tough one minute but the second he gets upset, it is drama for everyone. He is also extremely competitive so I can't compliment his sister without complimenting him as well.
She struggles in school, although this past year she got much better after getting her first pair of glasses. School is easy for Chase and he gets straight A's. I can't possibly congratulate Addison for bringing a D up to a C however, without mentioning to Chase how great it is that he brought home another A. And God-forbid he gets less than a 100% on a test. He wills tart crying and insist his teacher made a mistake!
Sometimes yes, I just want to sink into a hot bath and put my head under the water and scream! Of course last time I tried that, Chase just had to go to the bathroom so he sat on the toilet next to me and for twenty minutes while I was taking a bath he talked to me about poop while he was pooping! See, motherhood can be a stinky business!
The small moments matter.
My kids might hate me when they are teenagers, but they love me now and I love every second I get to spend with them. The morning rush can be hectic, but once I drop them off at school and kiss them goodbye, I miss them desperately all day long. I love that I can tuck them into bed each night, that they want me to tuck them into bed each night!
I love it when my son tells me he got distracted playing his game because he stopped to look at me and I was so so beautiful he couldn't focus! He is quite the little charmer!
My daughter wrote a poem for me once. It is called Mommy Shines. She was probably 4 when she wrote it. She couldn't actually write yet, just her name. She told me to write down what she said and I did. I actually ended up burning her words into wood and having her sign it so I could keep it forever.
Mommy Shines by Addison
Every day and every night
she fills my heart with love,
I love her.
She is my best bestest bestest friend.
She fills my heart with unicorns and rainbows.
And sunshine and treasures.
X Marks the spot.
She is my heart.
Now let me ask you, is that adorable or what?
To My Children
One day I will no longer be around. I hope more than anything that I have given you more good memories with me than anything. I hope that I have given you the love and support you needed to become the amazing adults I know you are capable of being. I hope that you will look back when you are older and read the things I have written and remember how much I loved you both. I hope that you will always be there for each other. Even when you two fight, I know deep down you love each other so much. I love the way you always want to protect one another.
I hope that if and when you each have your own children that you keep in mind parenting is hard and it is impossible to be perfect. Parents make mistakes and that is okay. I hope you love your children the way that I love you and that they make you as happy as the two of you make me.
I love you, AddisonClick thumbnail to view full-size
I love you, ChaseClick thumbnail to view full-size
There is nobody I will ever love more than the two of you.Click thumbnail to view full-size
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Cristina Cakes