One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

in case you were wondering

We are all still here, and all still healthy. Just a sudden onslaught of labor-intensive projects for me, plus a trip to Chicago to check out Annika. The projects: Our neighborhood threw together a mass of garage sales, and I had too much baby gear stuffed under our beds and stowed in closets to pass that opportunity by. It was all a great success, and more work than I ever, ever imagined. Annika was quite upset by the idea of selling anything that her hands had ever touched, no matter how long it had been since she had played with it. However, once she saw that first person hand over a few dollar bills, she was all over it. She ducked into the house, and came back out with a handful of old birthday cards, which she began offering as a "prize" to anyone who bought something. Most people thought that was cute, but were less amused when she began cornering people and asking for their name and address, with her little pencil poised above her notepad all ready to take down their information. And then she started asking every woman who came up our driveway if she had "a baby in her tummy." Needless to say, I sent her to the backyard. Of course, our town is a Garage Sale Mecca, meaning that people don't pay more than 50 cents for any item of clothing, name on the tag be damned. And there are enough exersaucers on sale on any given weekend to circle the earth several times over, so it's not a real money-making endeavor. But it was kind of fun. I got to meet a newly pregnant woman with my exact same body issues, and who nodded her head knowingly when I confided that my husband affectionately calls my legs "potato stompers." And I cannot count the number of people who warned me that selling your baby stuff was a sure-fire invitation to an unexpected pregnancy. (Annika found this news particularly intriguing, and is quite excited at the prospect of a new baby.) And the women who bought my lovely tea set...Let's just say that I wouldn't ever turn down an invitation to tea with those two. Some quality eavesdropping, for sure. Our town is also chock-a-full of conservative christian types, and I noticed several families who rolled in with their 4-6 children, all wearing "American by birth, Christian by the grace of God!" t-shirts, who took one look at me and hurried back down the driveway. I wondered if it was the heathen music I was playing in the garage at first, but it really did seem more a reaction to me. So at a lull in the traffic I went inside to check myself out, which was when I saw that, despite the upper-80's weather and the double layer of my shelf-bra tank, I was in all-out nipple mode. In the interest of good business practice, I put on a thicker bra and changed my shirt. However, I am seriously considering making myself a Cafe-Press t-shirt that says, "Thighs by Breyer's, Nipples by Relentlessly Nursing Children!" I have also taken over the organizing of our organ donor awareness group's major community project, the county fair. Again, another project that has taken way more time than I imagined. The fair is this week. And then I need to contemplate teaching a course this fall in a programming language that I haven't given much consideration for the past 5 years. So, yeah, a busy couple of weeks.
Annika has been doing great, health-wise. In fact, she ran 1/2 a mile on the track this weekend, barefoot and in her swimsuit. She ran the whole thing in her adorable gait, slightly cross-legged and with her arms held straight at her sides with only her hands outturned, like a debutante sashaying down a promenade. Who knows what prompted her to take two turns around the university's track? Certainly not I. And certainly not her greatest idol, our next-door-neighbor, Sabrina, who turned to me with her knowing 7-year-old look and asked, "How much sugar has she had today?" But we nonetheless live in a state of fear, seemingly unable to escape the feeling that disaster is just around the corner. With Anni's last illness her liver enzymes doubled in a week, and doubled again just one week later (so they were about 10 times the normal value, if you're keeping score). Our transplant coordinator warned that if the weekly trend continued that we were headed for another full workup (biopsy and ultrasound, at least) in Chicago to check out the state of her liver. Thankfully, her labs the next week dropped back down to her normal state, which is still twice normal values. Jörg took Anni in for a regular check-up (called, weirdly to me, a "clinic" visit) this past week, and returned home with the news that a biopsy was in our future, anyway. It seems that her liver doc thinks her liver feels "harder" than the last time, which could be a sign of cirrhosis, and wants to check it out. Because of Anni's bleeding issues, a biopsy of her liver is done through her jugular vein and means a hospitalization of at least one, and probably two, night(s). I always dread the hospitalization that finally sets us back on the road to uncertainty. It's always there, that fear.
And, on the other hand, there are the times that are nothing short of wondrous. Like the way that Annika lay on the kitchen floor tonight and giggled as her baby sister climbed on her and then bounced like a cowgirl on a bucking bronco. And the way that Annika beamed at me and said, "I love you, too," after I gave her a peck on the cheek tonight.


Anonymous Sheryl, Justice's mom from CLASS said...

OMG Moreena, you don't know how true the garage sale curse can be. We just had one in June...sold the baby crib, stroller, car seats, etc. I found out I was pregnant last week. Guess I'll be garage saling next weekend on my own search for used treasure.

Sorry Anni's numbers aren't trending well. We will be praying for a happy liver and better labs...and a short hospital stay for your bucking bronco. At least she sounds like she's feeling great! I don't think I'd make a half mile around a track right now!

7/31/2005 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those two girls are soooo sweet! My prayers remain with Anni (and all of you!) for good results of the biopsy. Please keep us posted.


8/01/2005 8:58 AM  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

And it isn't selling the baby stuff--everyone knows it is getting rid of maternity clothes that knock you up. Save something of that LOL!

And I think Anni is a precious gift.

8/01/2005 9:10 AM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

The nipple story had me laughing out loud. I am lining up to be the first customer for the Cafe Press t-shirt.

I'm sorry that a biopsy is in your future -- praying for good results, and more half-miles around the track(!!!).

8/01/2005 9:30 AM  
Blogger Heartmom said...

Yay! Your back! It sounds like you have had a heck of an adventure while you were gone! I also live in the garage sale mecca, which is why we consign everything we own ;)

We have transplant "clinic" this week.... they always make me nervous. Ill update about that on Saturday, Im sure!

Oh, also wanted add: Im a conservative christian ;) So the nipple comment made me giggle! If you make that shirt, I want one!! God made nipples too!

Enjoy your day :)

8/01/2005 10:46 AM  
Blogger liz said...

Glad you're back. I was getting just a smidge concerned. We're having a neighborhood yard sale next week and I'm getting rid of all my maternity clothes. Perhaps the universe will get the hint.

I hope Anni stays healthy, she sure seems to be happy!!!!

All my best

8/01/2005 10:55 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Sheryl -- Congratulations! I will say, though, that I found that we used much less of the baby gear with Frankie than we did with Annika. Partly I guess it was our desperate attempts to make her happy despite the sickness and all the hospital crap. But it's also true that Frankie derived hours of entertainment pleasure from the mere presence of her big sister. Humans are always just so much more engaging than any brightly colored plastic bits. So what I'm saying is that you probably won't need to replace *all* your stuff!

Tina -- thanks!

R2KS -- Oops. I sold the maternity stuff, too. I guess I'd better just go out and buy the pregnancy test now.

Phantom and Mitomom -- Well, then, I might just have to go ahead and make one. I'll have to see if they can provide the shirts in extra-thin cotton, so the message is really clear, if you know what I mean.

And Mitomom, every last member of my family could be described as conservative christian, and I love them dearly, so I never mean to be judgmental. I just thought it was a funny moment.

8/01/2005 11:02 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Liz -- I'm sure the universe will get the hint. The only question is: What, exactly, is the hint supposed to be? Because I can totally see that the hint is, "I'm feeling overconfident in my ability to avoid contributing to the expansion of the universe."

8/01/2005 11:06 AM  
Blogger liz said...

The hint is kinda, "Yeah, yeah, Mr. Spock is ten years older than me and wants to stop at one. But Muffin Man is leaving diapers behind and I really miss having a baby in the house and I can't imagine going through life without a sibling."

Conflicted much?

8/01/2005 2:32 PM  
Blogger liz said...

BTW, Please don't comment about that on my blog, since Mr. Spock reads it. He knows how I feel but would be hurt if I put it out there on my blog.

8/01/2005 2:33 PM  
Blogger ocelot said...

"How much sugar has she had today?"

Big shouts out for happy livers!

liz: I'm the only child of two only children, and we're all... um... ok, bad example, but i'm sure only children can turn out just fine!

8/01/2005 3:08 PM  
Blogger PPB said...

I'm hoping there are no biopsies in your future, too! And two rounds of the track? Forget how much sugar---how hard did she sleep that night?

8/01/2005 8:26 PM  
Blogger Heartmom said...

I was kidding too ;) It really did make me laugh!


8/01/2005 9:21 PM  
Blogger trisha said...

Moreena, you are totally my favorite writer.

8/02/2005 7:34 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

There is nothing sweeter than the stories you relate of your daughters.

Just to cheapen this up a bit: I dare say while the nipple factor may have detracted a few, it may have encouraged sales with a different segment of the population.

8/03/2005 5:53 PM  
Blogger angela marie said...

Well, I gave away my maternity clothes and got pregnant (post-vasectomy) with our fourth child. :)

Sorry to hear about an impending biopsy for Anni, but you are all so strong for her...that's obvious!

8/04/2005 6:44 PM  
Blogger Rory Kearn said...

Moreena, you will all be in my thoughts and I'll be hoping for the best. Glad you're back writing.


8/05/2005 10:42 AM  
Blogger geekfarm said...

Nice to have somthing to read again. Everyone is taking a break. Anni's story make me smile and cry.
Everytime I read your posts I have to stop for short prayers. Good luck on the donor program!

8/06/2005 2:44 PM  

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