Wednesday, July 18, 2012


When I first had Makenzie, the breath was knocked out of me. Literally, it was, but figuratively too.  We rushed to UCLA after dropping off our taxes, were “tskked tssskked” by a delivery nurse and my Mother in Law, who were both there waiting for us at check in. Already in trouble yet I hadn’t even had my baby yet.  We were nervously rushing ...only to wait for the doctor and nurses, who were fighting over my care.  They were still fighting when I was sitting with needles in my spine for the epidural.  Ah, nothing like that sort of uncomfort with needles in your back.  And then, for whatever reason, my body decided to respond poorly to the epidural and it felt like elephants were walking on my chest. They were stomping away and I couldn’t breath, while feeling like a big gorilla waiting on the operating table.  Jack and my Mom weren’t allowed in the room due to the complications, and my nerves were heightened.  All I could think was, “Please get Makenzie out safely and then worry about me”. Gratefully the anaesthesiologist was able to work some magic to stabilize me, Jack was able to join me with Mom watching, and Makenzie was welcomed to the world on April 12th, 2004 at 5:51 pm.  When the nurse showed her to us, and Jack brought her over to meet me, my breath was taken away for the best reasons. The reasons of complete awe and intense gratitude.

Sisters - April 2009 Ages 1 & 5
Emerson’s delivery was comical, and almost a tell tale sign of her little personality.  I had been determined to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) but my body wasn’t on the same plan. The day before our back up C-Section date our doctor, Dr. Hamilton, Jack and I decided the C-Section was the safest option for my body and our little baby. The following day, Friday, January 25, 2008, would be Emerson's birth date.  5:00 am Friday morning Jack and I arrive on a freezing cold Winter day to Emanuel Hospital ... only to find out we were at the wrong hospital! Who goes to the wrong hospital to deliver their kiddo…well the Shirey’s and Dr. Hamilton all did! Emanuel was the hospital for our VBAC, since it was high risk, but we were delivering via C-Section.

Laughter ensues, all the Providence Portland nurses tease how this has never happened.  No stress, just laughs, and excitement.  We’re in the operating room and the team's started playing Bob Marley followed by Boys to Men. While splayed out being ready to have surgery begin, the music made me reminisce of Bishop O’Dowd High School dances. Jack and Dr. Hamilton are discussing my prenatal core routine since he was complimenting my abs as dissecting them, another random funny that was a great one for a pregnant Mama.  Within minutes, at 8:10 am, Emerson arrives and brought immediate joy and laughter.  Complete and utter sweet joy and jubulience.

Two different deliveries. Two very different daughters, requiring two very different patient levels.  Whew, patience.  People tell you that you need a lot of calm with your “patience voice” when you have children. However, nobody ever said the supply has to be endless, non-stop, and full of butterflies and candy coated kindness when it wants to sound like a fire breathing dragon.  This week has been a week with the fire breathing dinosaur eager to chomp on the butterflies and let loose. It has been a week repeating the mantra, “Keep calm and carry on”. It has also been a week that’s created dream like and blissful memories within the craziness. 

Emerson, Age 4.5, Lake Tahoe 7.14.12
Our daughters are different, very different.  The way they act, respond, express, digress, and encourage is wildly and wonderfully different.  That being said, I have to constantly remind myself of their unique ways of dealing with anything bothersome.  I love how different they are.  I admire them for being who they are without any pretense, and incredible pride.  When age 4.5 years Emerson is having meltdown after meltdown in levels neither Jack or I remember happening with Makenzie, we have to bite our tongues and calm E down in means requiring more pixie patience dust to add to the patience bucket.  And while the meltdowns were fewer and far between before, for whatever reason the past 6 weeks they have been intense when they happen, and unbreakable.  We've been figuring out what her triggers are, and I know I have to almost set my own clock every 90 minutes for Emerson to eat and drink her water in order to keep up her energy just like a puppy dog.

Here is the pickle...she is DELIGHTFUL when she is not mad.  Purely magic, funny, vibrant, and love filled. She fills my love tank to the brim with kisses, cuddles, laughs, sweet words, funny moments and time that I want to go on forever.   That is the 85-90% of the time, it truly is.  

Similar to the eating rule of 90/10 I tell my clients.  90 % of the time eat good clean food and 10-15% of the time you can enjoy the treats of life.  For Emerson, 90% of the time  
she is brilliantly clean and effortless love in true from.
10% of the time she makes me want to grab a bottle of wine, take a straw 
and drink the bottle in one sitting. 
Makenzie, age 8, Lake Tahoe 7.14.12
And while we are figuring Emerson at age 4.5, we are attempting to learn our first child's navigation in life.  She is a protector by nature, a talker, compassionate, a storyteller, silly, mature beyond years in some ways and also has the traditional first born traits.  With Emerson we worry about tantrums, with Makenzie we try to channel her back, word wise, so everyone has a turn to talk.  She has the best stories to tell, confidence to talk to anyone and everyone, and the ability to shift conversation and keep it alive.  But with that gift comes the challenge of when to reign it in.  With missing almost all of first grade and being around so many adults, her ability to converse with eye contact challenges many of today's teens.  It also means she is incredibly determined, with the words to support her desires, to get her "way" within the family. With her conversational skills come brilliant one liners that make a parent proud, but not when they are attempting to be stern in discipline.  It is a tricky line to walk, because confidence is what you want your children to have more than anything.  We want Makenzie to keep her confidence in who she is, while also respecting that other people have stories to tell and opinions about various events too.   

So I am learning as a parent, along with Jack, how to deal with each moment of challenge.  Different deliveries, very different daughters.  When I want to talk like a fire breathing dragon, I hold back and think of what I can learn out of the moment. Honestly, parenting is easier said than done as we all know.  What is it I can evolve from in this endless moment of screaming, hitting, yelling, hair pulling and tears?  Are these the moments prepping us for when they are teenagers? Emerson might punch a wall and Makenzie might talk back like a sailor? I hope not! I hope they will be perfect and delightful all the time...but they won't. Nor will I.  I will be the 90/10 rule myself.  I know that in the 10% of time, the time when I want to slam the door with frustration and lace up to pound the pavement for a solo run, I am a great parent to my two very dynamic daughters.  With that, I know it will all be OK... 90% of the time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I am probably out running, but I thank you for taking the time to share. I look forward to your additional input as this blog grows and evolves.
Erin Kreitz Shirey