Welcome our Rainbow Baby

It feels like it has been a decade since I have written even though it has only been a couple of months. In the last two months I have discovered the insane amount of strength and courage that it takes to bring a little life into the world. I have felt the intense fear of delivering a baby that isn’t breathing and the crippling relief when you finally hear him cry.

I have felt the frustration of not being able to hold your newborn because he must stay under the blue lights for jaundice treatment-but that frustration was mixed with joy because I knew how lucky I was. A mild case of jaundice was all that prevented us from getting to go home with him. That was all.

On December 25th we got to take him home. Since his birthday on December 21st I have felt more feelings at once than I ever believed possible. Somewhere in between the sleep deprivation, the pants that will never fit again, and the permanent stretchmarks now marring my torso lies a joy that will not dim.

Even as my heart pangs to watch him grow (he no longer fits into his newborn clothes) an inner smile covers my heart. After five losses I finally have a baby that I can cuddle in my arms instead of just my heart.

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“I know how you feel”

I am nearly 38 weeks pregnant. My husband has some sort of stomach flu. He said to me, in nonchalant solidarity, “I can’t believe you felt like this for months and maintained any shred of sanity.”

The truth? I didn’t.
Yes, I wasn’t able to keep anything more than a handful of crackers down for my entire first trimester-sometimes not even that. I lost seven pounds. However, I did not feel how my husband felt.

It was more than barfing every hour or so. There was round ligament pain from an expanding womb. There were dizzy spells, headaches, and fainting coupled with the emotional roller coaster of a body that didn’t know what to do with all the extra hormones.

What’s more, every twitch of pain I felt, convinced me that something was terribly wrong. I had lost too many pregnancies in the past, and I was overcome with a profound sense of fear. I wept for the disaster that I waited for with certainty.

No- I didn’t feel how he felt now. He’s nauseous and a little uncomfortable, but he is able to sleep. His mind is not racing a million laps filled with self doubt and worry. He is not laying in bed wondering if he’s doing everything exactly right to protect a life that he cannot see or feel yet.

No…the stomach flu is not quite the same. If you’re a mom, you know.

Editing!

Am I wrong when I say that editing your own precious novel, your brainchild, your darling can be so hard? You stare at the pages, and you see work that needs to be tweaked, but you decide to visit Pinterest instead. You stare at it hemming and hawing, but you cannot bring yourself to actually put your fingers to the keys.

Sometimes it takes fresh eyes so we hand it over to closest friends who then barely skim over our work, and simply tell us how marvelous it is…but they really didn’t read it at all.

What if I told you that you could get your short novel proofread for $5? Yep. Five. https://www.fiverr.com/s/6fiox2 Check out my listing on Fiverr. After all, NaNoWriMo is over. You cranked that baby out so fast! Let’s clean em up a bit!

Familiar Strangers

I bite my tongue
You chew your nails.
You bow your head

Defeat and silence falls
like a curtain on our lives

We are familiar strangers
You and I
I pour coffee
You read the news

Passing ships
Our eyes barely meet

You reach for a kiss
I grab it away
You leave for work
I wish you would stay

I’m not the person I was before
Before I knew your secrets
Secrets that destroyed my faith
Cut my heart out

Sew shut my eyes
Freeze over my heart
I’ll wall myself up
Hide away
Burn a hole in yesterday

Familiar strangers
I hold myself to hold it all together
Hold myself the way you should have held me

Book Organization Struggles!

Dear Fellow Writers,

Help!

I have reached the part of my book where I am not sure exactly how much information to share! The concept of my book includes references to legal actions and court scenes, and as a legal student, I am pulled to be a little technical.

I worry that the logic of law may overshadow the intrigue of the story. Or, perhaps law is interesting in general? Really don’t know- but that is where I find myself. NaNoWriMo is almost over- and I have let my preoccupation with details bring my progress to a complete halt! Do any of you ever get so stuck inside your head that you have a hard time writing through it? How do you manage? Please comment any advice below! I could really use the encouragement!

Love always,

Sarah

A home invasion of the poultry kind!

Good Afternoon Hearthside Adventurers! I have a bit of a story to tell you that I hope brings you a smile. The dog and I had quite the eventful day!

My dog Peaches and I have a routine. I take her outside for a romp everyday before lunch. Most of you are aware of how bitingly cold it has gotten-even in North Carolina.

I looked at the thermometer I have on the window before we went out. It had heated up from a mere 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) to nearly 38! Whoo Hoo! Heat wave!

As soon as we went out there was a loud rustle and the crooning of excited hens. They always run to greet me, so I really didn’t think anything of it. They sort of constantly assume I am there to feed them-even when they have already been fed.

Peaches did her thing, frolicked a little, and then we headed for the house because it is still really cold! Peaches doesn’t have tons of fur, and I have no tolerance for the cold. Today was different though. As soon as I opened the door we were bombarded by four hens beating us to the entrance! The dog, of course, bounds in after. I couldn’t even get her to hold still long enough for me to take her leash off. I guess the chickens are also miffed about the weather!

I entered into a mad house! There was a hen in the sink. Another was cowering under the dining room table from the cats. Still another had made it all the way to the master bedroom and was blissfully gulping down cat food and one was perched blissfully in the Christmas tree trying to eat the tinsel (I know- I know- bad Sarah! Why is your tree up already!? Well, we usually don’t put it up until mid December, but being 35 weeks pregnant I worried that I wouldn’t end up decorating because I ran out of time!)

It took me an HOUR to wrangle these hens out of the house! Partly because Peaches was chasing them and was absolutely no help at all, and partly because every time I got one out of the house, another one that I had previously escorted out would charge back in!

Sitting in the aftermath, there is cat food everywhere and the tree is now leaning decidedly to the left! I do sort of wish I had had someone on hand to film the chaos! In any case, I hope that you are all staying warm-and perhaps got a chuckle from the home invasion I just quashed.

Strength through Struggle

Happy Saturday Hearthside Adventurers!

Many of you may be facing the first real cold of November- I hope you are staying warm. Here in NC it got down to 20 degrees last night. When I lived in NY I would think nothing of that temperature. Now…it seems so bleak! I wish that you could be reading this sitting by my fire. Ah well, perhaps you have one of your own!

I have been debating on whether or not to write this post for a while. However, I have decided to “man up” as my father constantly tells me. We all face struggles, and perhaps sharing the struggles that we have worked through will give strength to others who are also struggling.

Four years ago I was a naive and boisterous college freshman. I could do anything! Absolutely nothing held me back. I had been top of my class in high school. I was a runner, a dancer, and my father had been grooming me for Air Force ROTC.

I was so strong. I never had a moment when my body didn’t do what I told it. While I was at school I received intensive language training in Farsi. I was absolutely dedicated to my career path in the Air Force. However, budget cuts made it clear that I would not be accepted to field training, or given a commission. Bummer.

I followed my father’s footsteps and dropped out of college. My mother was completely horrified. I confidently strolled into a recruiter’s office and enlisted. I made it through MEPS and was completely set to take my place. I was going to live the dream. I was going to be an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist. I absolutely aced the DLAB (language aptitude test).

Then, slowly, getting out of bed became painful. I shrugged it off. I was used to muscle pain and found it to be satisfactory. It meant that I was getting stronger. It got worse. Moving became harder. Workouts that were simple became monumental efforts.

The doctor at MEPS had noted that I had one hip that was higher than the other. I moved just fine through processing and I didn’t think anything of her comment. When I went to the doctor complaining about back pain they brought it up again. One shoulder and one hip was higher than the other.

They sent me to get an MRI. It was March. I was set to leave for basic training in August. The results revealed that not only did I have scoliosis, but I had also worn out the cartilage protecting the discs in my spine, slipped several discs, and damaged many others. The scoliosis had lead to pressure being unevenly distributed so my exercise routine had more or less permanently damaged many places in my spine. Because the curves where the trouble spots existed were so tight, the neurosurgeon that I was sent to declined to operate. He said that the risk of paralysis was too great.

On top of this they had found a tumor on my thyroid. After several sonograms a thyroid specialist decided that it might be cancer and that it needed to be biopsied.

I was released from service. My career was over before it had started. The tumor on my thyroid turned out to be benign. However, the damage to my spine could not be fixed. I was doled out pain medication and informed that the condition would deteriorate over time.

No…things like this don’t happen to people like me. They just don’t. I completely spiraled into depression. I wore a trench in my mattress from the days that I could not be coaxed out of bed. I cried and mourned for my lost career like I had lost a loved one. The Air Force had been home to me. I had grown up on military bases and loved my childhood. It was the future that I wanted for my family. My parents and fiance  had no idea how to drag me out of the abyss I felt myself drowning in.

It was a future that no longer existed. It took me a year of mourning to pull myself back together- and even though after a year I was returning to education, my heart was still longing for what I thought should have been. I didn’t think that I would ever find the camaraderie that I had grown to love in ROTC and I yearned for that fellowship.

Time heals all things…and in the many dark nights that I lay awake I decided to do something that I hadn’t done since high school. I pulled out my laptop and started writing. I wrote poems at first. Then, one night I opened a blank document and a narrative just started flowing. I have been working on that story ever since. It has changed as I have. It has been given more depth as I gave it more thought. It languished for a little while- untouched- while I put myself back together. One day, I swear to myself that I will finish it.

I am no longer on pain medication, and even though pain is a constant struggle I finally adapted to my new life. I have found the brotherhood that I thought I would be deprived of in all of you! I have discovered that people who write absolutely love to talk shop with those who are eager to learn. Writers are such amazingly giving people who aren’t afraid to share the secrets to their success. We are a community. All of us.No matter what style, no matter what genre, we are united under one banner: we are writers.

I am so thankful for each and every one of you. I have read your posts. Many of you have written through your own struggles, and I have felt your pain. You share your joys and I have smiled with you. Life may take us down unexpected paths, but I am so happy to share the journey with a group as worthy as you!

Love,

Sarah