Maisy’s First Trip to the ER

A few long days ago we discovered a squishy lump on Maisy’s head.  It was gigantic, the size of an orange if you cut it unevenly in half and stuck the smaller half on her head.  It made my insides squirm.  Waking up at 5:30 in the morning with a bumped-up and worrisome baby when a doctor’s office doesn’t open until 8:00 am makes for a long morning.  Calling said doctor and scheduling an appointment for 3:00 pm, their earliest available, makes for a long afternoon.  Going to the doctor and hearing the words, “you will need to take your daughter to the ER for a CAT scan” and time moves into slow motion.

The drive to the ER felt like an eternity – I suppose it doesn’t help that 1 hour of down time now-a-days feels like an eternity due do my clingy anti-sleep baby, with or without a looming doom hanging over my head.  My heart was wallowing in the pit of my stomach and my throat was caught on a lump. We didn’t speak, I barely breathed.  My mind was numb – when I tried to think of worst-case or best-case scenarios I came back blank.

When we did finally get to the ER I was struck by how kind and gentle everyone was.  Much different than your average “customer service.”  Then it occurred to me that these people deal with life threatening scenarios on a daily basis and are likely trained in being the world’s most sweet, caring, sensitive, and gentle people on the planet.  It was very soothing and reassuring.

They were incredibly efficient. Maisy took it all like a champ, until she was strapped into a straightjacket and unable to see mommy, let alone be held by me, to go through her CAT scan.  They had to run her through twice because she was so consumed by rib-racking and chin jerking sobbing the whole time.  The minute I picked her back up the waterworks turned off promptly and we walked back to our room.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Mom and Dad Calhoun brought dinner.  And we waited.  The next 2 hours felt like 5 days.  In fact, as Josh and I attempted to pass the time with brainless babble about life we kept finding that various events we chatted about weren’t a few days away but that the event in question had actually only been just that afternoon.

Finally the doctor came back and told us all was well. Maisy’s brain what fluid free, there were no fractures on her skull, and the mass we felt on the outside was something akin to an oversized blood blister and it would reabsorb into the body, no treatment of any sort necessary – just the result of a fairly hard bang to the head earlier in the week.

We walked out of the hospital at the same time a friend walked out with her newborn baby girl.  God is full of blessings and happy endings!

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So I’m Married to a Touring Musician

He comes home, he leaves, and he comes back again.  After over four years of marriage I have finally adjusted to such a reality.  Just like most couples get used to parting ways on weekdays, I have gotten used to parting with my husband for a day or a few days or a week or a month…

I hear a lot of “I could never do that” or “wow that must be hard” or “how do you do it?”  You don’t have to feel bad for me.  We chose this lifestyle and it does have its disadvantages but it most certainly has its advantages.

Disadvantages

I miss the night time snuggling.  He misses the night time snuggling.  Truth is, I think he has a harder time with this one than me.  At least, when he’s gone, I get to welcome the dogs into my bed.  The best bed snuggles he gets on the road is a butt bump with his brother.

A job on the road is a dangerous one.  Fortunately I am not a worrier.  However, I do have my moments.  Sometimes I get struck with a panic that any given moment my husband’s life might be obliterated while on the road.  They say car accidents are the 9th leading cause of death.  The Citizen Way boys drive themselves across the country overnight.  Crazy folks drive around in the middle of the night you know.  Sometimes Josh will tell me of a close call.  Like one time they were trekking along as usual when a semi truck freakishly swerved from the right of them to fishtailing around the front of them and into the ditch on the other side without even the slightest moment of contact.  I lean heavily on God’s protection and fold myself into the truth that no matter what happens He will get me through it.  There is beauty in that.  Beauty in needing God that way.

Sometimes he has more fun than I do.  Sometimes they play around at an amusement park, completely bypassing all the lines with their fancy VIP passes.  Sometimes they get to go to really warm places in the dead of winter and come home with some nice tans.  Sometimes he gets really cool, free stuff.  Sometimes he gets to go to a place I’ve always wanted to visit.  I love that he gets these things!  But I do admit that I occasionally experience a trickle of jealousy when the most exciting thing I’m doing is culling a wedding.

I just don’t fit in.  When Josh is gone I am half of a couple.  This means I don’t exactly fit in with my couple’s friends and I don’t fit in with single friends.  I think I fit in better with my single friends and, admittedly, tend to enjoy outings that aren’t strictly for the couples more than those that are while Josh is away.  In the early days of Josh hitting the road I would jump at any invitation to be out with people.  Not too long into my readiness though did I find it was hard to always be the single one at the couple’s outings.  I found myself feeling like a little black sheep that people felt sorry for but no one really knew what to do with.  More significantly, I found I became more homesick for Josh.  Sometimes this was a fond homesickness, I longed for him to come home.  Other times I grew frustrated that I didn’t get to be normal and have him around always like my other friends.  You can imagine that the latter was particularly grievous to our relationship.  Bummer for Josh to all of a sudden have a frustrated wife when he didn’t do anything wrong.  All that being said, there are so many times when I love going to couples outings so don’t be scared to invite me!  If I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it I’ll just hang back.

I’m stuck with the full load of responsibility.  When Josh is gone, especially for long periods of time, I soon get stressed by the load that falls on my shoulders.  I am suddenly also in charge of the matters Josh consistently takes care of.  As a result of this phenomenon I happened to take on most of the load on a daily basis.  This way, when he’s gone, I don’t get hit so hard with lots of extra responsibilities, I just get hit with the full load I normally handle.

Communication gets tough.  Those of you who are married know how important good communication is.  When Josh is on the road we are left to the occasional phone call and texting.  Of course this is helpful, but phone calls can only dig so deep.  I’ve come to find that certain good communication habits fall by the wayside when they haven’t been practiced even for a little while.  When we get back together we are suddenly held accountable again for body language or tone subtleties that get masked by a phone call. We tend to misunderstand or misread each other for a good chunk of time before we get adjusted back to good communication habits.  We also find just how much is left out of our phone conversations.  After all, it’s hard for Josh to be as transparent and sociable with me when a whole van of dudes will hear what he tells me too.

Advantages

I can get lots done when he’s gone.  Sometimes friends ask me how I possibly manage to be so stinking productive.  Well, the answer is, I am frequently left to my own devices and a girl’s gotta do something!  This is how I can tackle a photography business, freelance photography work, DIY projects, homesteading, cooking and baking, blogging, writing, and other varieties of productiveness that come my way.  This is, perhaps, the perk I enjoy most about our unique marriage.  I love feeling useful and like I’ve accomplished a lot in one day!  I love that in one day I can get all my photography work done, make a homemade meal from scratch, finish a DIY project or two, take the dogs to the dog park, and still sit down and read at the end of the day.

I get to be Miss Independent when he’s gone.  I basically get to live like a single person while Josh is away.  I get to do what I want, when I want, with who I want.  Sometimes I like to go out with my single friends while Josh is on the road.  Sometimes I rearrange the house.  Sometimes I let the house be messy.  And sometimes I clean the place until it’s sparkling.  Sometimes I like to watch Tangled three nights in a row.  Sometimes I like to make a salad the way I like it.  Sometimes I take the dogs for a long walk along the routes Josh hates.  Sometimes I play my favorite music very loud and dance as undignified as possible.  Sometimes I sit in complete silence for as long as I want.

Alone time is good.  I’m not sure if it’s because of my lifestyle that I value alone time and quiet time so much or if it’s the way I was from the beginning, but all I know is the moment Josh comes home I am struck my how much more noisy my life gets.  When it’s just me at the house I get to choose any and all noise that fills my ears.  Then, suddenly, when Josh gets back my whole day is packed with music or other noise – sometimes I even experience the noise through the night with heavy breathing or as I try to lay down to sleep while he’s still working on a song in his studio.  If Josh isn’t actively writing or rehearsing a song, teaching music lessons, or performing on stage he’s usually still singing some song as he goes about his day.  What I’ve learned in all this is that, eventually, even music just becomes noise.  The bit I miss least when Josh is gone is the repetitive song playing.  When he’s recording or practicing a song I hear the same one line of melody so many times that my feelings towards that line of notes is no different than to how I would respond to a broken record or someone unrelentingly knocking on my front door for an hour.  This admittance pains me because I feel guilty for feeling this way – especially when most folks comment on how I’m so lucky to have my house filled with live music all the time.  I will admit that the first time and even up to the fifth or sixth time I’ve heard the same song in a row I feel blessed and privileged… it’s when the song seems like it’s never going to end that my seams start to split.

The reunions are always incredible.  They say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  Well I’d say Josh and I are well advanced in fondness due to all the time spent apart!  Every time he leaves I am now in the habit if switching gears to life as an off-the-market single woman.  It’s like changing clothes to me now.  Simply switching gears.  My heart lives in this interestingly content place of getting things done, hanging with the dogs or friends, or soaking up some alone time while also wholly looking forward to the moment he walks back through the front doors and into my longing arms.  It feels like the honeymoon stage all over again!  You may be thinking, well I’m sure glad I’m not in the honeymoon phase anymore!  We were way too emotionally insane and unbalanced to want to go back to that!  Let me tell you a secret, this perpetual “honeymoon phase” of ours is a different kind of animal.  Instead of coupling the intense emotional excitement and passion with so much miscommunication and misunderstanding we get only the former!  Cool huh?  Perhaps this sounds totally not fun to you, but I’ve come to love the emotional highs and lows.  Also, to be completely transparent, good ‘ol hanky panky after a forced period of time away is real nice.

Sometimes I get to go with.  For every tour he’s a part of I make a point to make it out to at least one show.  Even this small consolation of a free concert is enough to be a perk but it’s the overwhelming pride and joy I experience as I watch the world’s kindest and most adorable man living his dream out on stage that really takes the cake.  And to top it off, sometimes I even get the opportunity to go with to a really snazzy event or to an awesome location.  Some of my favorite “business” trips with Josh have been to the KLOVE Fan Awards and to the SESAC Awards Ceremony.

Love and Friendship

Even with all of the advantages to our marital lifestyle I must admit I do get significantly lonely when Josh is gone.  It is just me and the dogs at home after all and they aren’t much for conversation.  I know some people are unsure what to do with a lady in a situation like mine.  Do we invite her or not?  If I could choose, I would always be invited!  Even if I can’t make it I am always filled up with warm tingles when I am invited.  The only other alternative is me pestering all you folks to hang out with me and with a husband gone so frequently that truly gets exhausting!  Moral of the story, the best way to love on this lonesome wife is to invite me for a hang.

Moving Forward…

And now we just had a baby, a little girl.  I’m sure a lot of these advantages and disadvantages will start looking very different.  And I’ll probably have more to add now that we have Maisy around too.  Maybe I’ll fill you in after we’ve experienced a couple rounds of Papa being away 🙂

 

The Tale of the Pregnant Lady Going “Thump” in the Night

I expected to get uncomfortable in the last trimester of pregnancy.  Instead, I’m feeling better!  This baby belly dropped several weeks ago and I finally could breath and bend over again!  I also finally fell in love with the pregnancy look and clothes were easier to navigate with the dawn of warm weather gifting me racks of maxi dresses at any given store.  Today is my due date so perhaps I will start feeling uncomfortable if I go much longer but for now I’m loving this!  I even still love to walk my dogs at the dog park and spoon my husband (though my big belly prevents any real proximity so all I can manage is a mimicked “spooning” shape behind his curled form with one arm barely dangling over his waist and both legs fighting to reach the beginning of his).

The one downside: frequent urination.

Sometimes I find this comical.  At night, especially if I’m sleeping well, I find it painful.  For the first week or so after I “dropped” I experienced almost hourly trips to the toilet.  Then I started sleeping through the first inklings of a tinkle need and, instead, would awake 2-4 hours later with a painfully urgent need to pee.  I now awkwardly roll my heavy body off the bed and experience a sort of thunk as the baby descends onto my bladder that is followed immediately by a pinching sensation that is my potty muscles fighting to keep the urine back.  I kind of laugh at the hilarity of my urgency as I awkwardly crash into the end of the bed and the bedroom door and various walls as I limp/waddle my way to the bathroom with hands outstretched and gripping anything that will help hold me up and get me safely through the darkness.  I’m usually thinking, “oh if anyone could see this they would pee themselves at the look of me.”  And then I think, “oh my goodness, if I don’t waddle faster I am going to pee myself.”  And then I remember that the heavy weight on my bladder and needed clenching actually hurt fiercely.  By the time I reach the toilet I am of sober mind and desperate intentions.  My reward is only sometimes a significant gush once I reach the porcelain throne; instead I, more often than not, experience a pathetic trickle of urine that hardly merits the treacherous journey to the toilet and the pain endured in transit.  In those lack luster tinkle experiences I sink crestfallen on the toilet, defeated by my need for relief and disappointed in the fruits of my labor.

Needless to say, though I love my pregnant belly, I am stoked to be getting rid of these nightly episodes of desperate urination soon!

Surprise Pregnancy Reveal #2

Bemusings of a Baby Life

– Written December 13, 2013 at 14 weeks pregnant.

– Story takes place November 28, 2013 at 12 weeks pregnant.

Before you read this blog post I recommend you read Surprise Pregnancy Reveal #1.

My second surprise pregnancy bomb drop happened on Thanksgiving and this time I got to experience the element of surprise with Joshua.

We went about Thanksgiving as usual in the Calhoun house with the addition of my parents and my brother:  mingling, watching football, cooking, and playing games.  When the food was ready we all gathered in the kitchen to sing the blessing together.  Then we simply loaded our plates and sat down.  It is a tradition in the Calhoun clan to go around the table and say what we are thankful for.  We started with Gigi so we could end with Joshua.

The responses were all so emotional and many tears were shed.  When it was my turn I sounded dull, but what more can a girl do when the biggest things she’s thankful for are related to a pregnancy her husband is about to announce?  Anyway, my response was lame amidst all the emotional and heart wrenching thankfulness outpourings.  I don’t think anyone remembers my lack luster thanksgiving because right behind me Josh said something like, “this year I am so thankful for my wife and for the baby we are having in seven months.”  Everyone erupted out of their seats with screams and shouts of surprise and joy.  I have never been good at being the center of attention so I sat there stunned until their continued reaction broke through my strained tear ducts.  I laughed with tears in my eyes as I watched Alison desperately attempt to reach me on the other side of the table for a hug.  Finally, she simply crawled under the table.

No more words necessary though, you may now watch the video I did not know was being recorded 🙂

 

The Day I Almost Blacked Out

So unfortunately my next couple of chronological blog posts have to be postponed.  It is essential I obtain the videos that will go with them before I share.  So, for now, lets skip ahead a couple of weeks to our next story…

Bemusings of a Baby Life: The Day I Almost Blacked Out

-Written December 13, 2013 at 14 weeks.

I have an incredible opportunity this Christmas season to use my photography talents to make a difference among the homeless.  Tomorrow I am giving my time to take family portraits of some residents at House of Mercy.  And, actually, I only reveal my gift to you because it is important to the ridiculousness of the scenario I ended up in yesterday.

Anyway, as a part of the gig I decided to donate new clothes to the residents.  So, at 4:30pm yesterday we all showed up at Target to pick out their photo shoot outfits.  First, I set the requirements: everyone was to get one whole outfit for their shoot.  Then I set them loose and checked in periodically to see if they had any questions or concerns – I figured they would feel freer if I didn’t hover the whole time.

On one of my check in encounters I was chatting with one of my new friends when I flashed over with heat and sweat.  My world spun rapidly and my heart pounded dangerously.  In an instant I stopped my chat in the middle of a sentence as my world was sucked into a black hole.  I crumpled my upper body onto my shopping cart and waited for the world so slow down.  It didn’t.  I cautiously worked my way around my cart, sat down in the middle of the men’s section, and put my head between my knees.  I laughed at myself as I realized the hilarity of the situation.  One one end, my homeless friend was nervous for me and amidst my haze I heard him tell me he was some sort of medic so “I was in good hands.”  At the other end, I could feel the stares of the other passers by, especially since me and my cart were in their way.  I felt no shame.  Even if they didn’t know it, I knew my choice was either to crouch on the floor like a lunatic or actually pass out.

Finally, the danger subsided.  With my head screwed back on straight I was able to feel my stomach rumbling angrily.  Moral of the story, clearly an empty stomach for this pregnant lady is more dangerous than just risking turning into The Hungry Hungry Pregnant Lady… if left unattended too long I will actually black out from the hunger.  Also, now I keep granola bars and apples in my purse at all times!