Sunday, May 30, 2010
I was pregnant with my first child at graduation for my Bachelor's Degree, but I didn't know for sure yet. In fact, we waited for a little while after that to test because we were going to a friend's wedding and we figured if we didn't know, we couldn't spill the beans. Sometime between that new little life starting to grow and when she made her entrance into the world, a horrible thing happened. It could have been as innocent as me eating a cracker that a small child had discarded... we were poor college students, I couldn't let it go to waste! It may have been me waiting too long to wash my hands after changing a diaper. It's possible that Hubby contracted it and brought it home to me. However it happened, Cytomegalovirus entered my body and harmed my baby. CMV for short is a silent virus, or it was for me. The people that do show symptoms have "flu like" symptoms.
Every day for ten and a half years now, we've lived with the consequences of that virus. I don't blame anyone for giving me the virus or myself for getting it... anymore. I cried so many tears at first when I realized something I had done had caused this much damage. But ultimately, I didn't do anything on purpose. If I had known about CMV what I know now, I would have been so much more careful... especially if I had known my CMV status was negative, that I had never had the virus. I have been in love with Becca since I knew she was coming and now that she's here, I wouldn't change a thing about her. I know that comes off as contradictory, but walk a mile in my shoes and you will totally get it. :) One thing is for sure, though. If I could prevent this nasty virus from affecting even one precious baby, I WOULD!
I don't have time to crusade against CMV. We chose to get our family here quick since lifting Becca was part of every succeeding pregnancy. Becca is now the oldest of 5 children and I wouldn't give up the craziness we have at our house every day for the world! Don't get me wrong, if you are curious or I am given the least oppurtunity, I love to answer questions about CMV and encourage testing and preventative measures and all that sort of thing... but right now, I don't have the time or resources to do more than that, I just make friends that do! :) I joined an email listserve when Becca was about 18 months old of other parents of kids with CMV. We've been through A LOT together and we are still going strong! It has expanded to include a Facebook family of Moms (and Dads) who chat every day and offer those pats on the back and "you go, girl"s as neccessary. :) Now we have authors and public speakers and event organizers that are getting out there and spreading the word about this super common yet preventable virus.
StopCMV.org is an awesome new website that answers a lot of questions and enhances the network of parents and loved ones affected by this virus. They have started a new awareness campaign where people from all over the world send in pictures of their hands. My personal faves are the little Cerebral Palsy hands of those most devastatingly affected by CMV. Starting June 1st, you can go to this website and vote for the picture that you love best to be used as part of the Stop CMV campaign. Go and do it! And don't just vote for Becca's (hers looks an awful lot like the one at the top of this post), vote for the picture you love best. They are ALL great! Anything and everything that gets the word out and prevents this virus is awesome, dontcha think?
Be aware. Spread the word. Stop CMV!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I am 6 feet tall. I weigh 154 pounds most days. Most people, especially seeing me for the first time, probably think of me as "tall and skinny." There is a lot of duplicity in the way I feel about myself and my self esteem has undulated between hating the way I look and liking it for as long as I can remember. I shouldn't say it like that, it's not that I hate the way that I look... how could I? I have incredible parents and it's their genes and the ones before them that make me, me. I actually love a lot of the things I see in my face that I can attribute to different relatives. It's kind of like seeing them every day. :) I don't know what it's like to be short, so how could I say that I'd like that any better? I have a bunch of stuff stored in the cupboards up by the ceiling that I'd never get to use! :D The trouble comes when I have to buy clothes for this "tall and skinny" body of mine, because no matter who is walking the runway, the normal everyday stores that I shop at do not make clothes that fit me. I take that back... they either fit me around OR lengthwise, but usually not both in the same outfit. It's a little like this gem of a movie, I'll be honest.
For instance, jeans. If it does not say "Long" in the size, they will look okay on me standing up, but as soon as I sit, you better run for high ground because there's a flood a comin'! I often have to buy non-jeans pants in a larger size to get them long enough and then either take a seam down the sides to cinch them in or use the ubiquitous drawstring. Skirts, dresses and shorts that are knee length on everyone else will be thigh high on me. I don't really "do" thigh high. And shoes? Fuggedaboutit! There are like 7 pairs and if I'm not in the store the day they put them on the shelves, the cute ones will be gone. Trust me, I worked at Payless long enough to know that they send 15 pairs of the cute style in the 7-9 size range and one in the size I wear. (Hey, I told you my height and weight, I don't need to tell you that I wear a size 11 shoe!) :D And yes, I totally used to hold back the cute pair before they went out on the shelf, because I am not kidding you, they would be gone that day. How do the shoemakers not notice this? Oh, right, because they only sent one pair, and after it's gone, they don't see the 30 vertically blessed women who came looking for the shoe, but didn't buy anything because there wasn't anything to buy!
And people wonder why I love to sew! ;)
Now, shirts... there's where I can shop in the 'normie' section. I am roughly the same height from rump to shoulder as the girl sitting on the next park bench over. I can usually find really cute shirts that fit and look nice. In fact, I know I'm average here because my size is often gone off the rack! :D I think this is where my non-t-shirt shirts come from. I love to wear something with just that little something extra, if only to draw attention away from the drawstring or the floods! :D I'm talking a little puff sleeve or a vintage Tinkerbell design or some little bling bling. It's not too much to ask, is it?
I really do hate shopping. It never fails to sink me into a depression. I mean, first of all, I had better need something really bad if I am going to take any of my kids with me because it is not a quick in and out for me. Geoff and I once went on a date, with someone else watching our kids and everything, and all I did was try on clothes at a store like a normal person. Of course, we still left without buying anything because that was the plan and the dresses all hit me in that weird length that is too long to be short, but too short to be long. It's no wonder I avoid shopping for myself at all costs... and speaking of costs, my husband doesn't hate this trait in me at all. :D Although, it should be mentioned that he is a saint when it comes to shopping for me. Not only is he patient about it, (he even went back into the store and bought the one thing, (a shirt, of course!) that I had seen, liked AND it fit me after I had said it was time to go), he also ends up finding me things that I like. We window shop online all the time and he buys me clothes, even as surprises, that I really, really like. :D
But on the plus side (no pun intended!) I have this year's Halloween costume in the bag! :D