Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today is October 2nd. One year ago today, my son Miles was born at 25 weeks gestation. He weighed 1 lb 7 and survived for a month. I have been anticipating this day for a while. It was a day full of traumatic memories for all of us.

The three of us went to Socrates Park and released balloons in his memory. This little outing brought us all closer. We went home somewhat lighter and happier...and full of hope.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

7 months!

I have been waiting to post this. I am 7 months pregnant with our third child.  We are expecting a little boy at the end of November.
We are super-excited, but it has been a nerve-wracking pregnancy. Nothing has been wrong physically, but my emotions have been raw.  I have made many freak-out trips to the hospital. On numerous occasions, my ob has said, "Oh, you're a pain in my ass!".... He is the French-New Yorker, celebrity ob/gyn, Jacques Moritz. Just what I need!

Our second child, Miles, was born during my 6th month of pregnancy and we lost him in the NICU a month later. On October 2nd, he would have turned one. Because the doctors are not sure what exactly went wrong with that pregnancy, every single precaution has been taken with this pregnancy.
Mentally, it has been difficult to separate this pregnancy from the last one. Thankfully, this pregnancy is very different.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sad day in Brooklyn

I have been watching the news horrified at the news of a young boy, Leiby Kletzky,  in Brooklyn. He was murdered and dismembered not far from his home. It happened in a close-knit Jewish community.

The boy went home by himself for the first time and was supposed to meet his mother half way. It was supposed to be a dry run of him walking home halfway. It is obvious that his parents thought deeply about this, but it went so wrong. He got lost and asked a stranger for directions. The man, Levi Aron, took the opportunity and snatched him.

This validates my theory, it is okay to be an overly-protective matter what others are doing around you. I will continue to follow my instincts. Most of the time, awful things like this do not happen. But when they do, the consequences are devastating.

The parents are not to blame, I know they feel so sick. My heart goes out to them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sarah's Key

I read this book in November while on vacation in Jamaica. It was the saddest book I have ever read. It would seem strange that I would read a tragedy two weeks after Miles' death.  Somehow, I think I wanted company in my misery. I wanted to feel someone else's life was going worse than mine!

Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay, is a book about a little boy and girl during the holocaust. It also highlights France's awful involvement in the holocaust, which the country still does not address.

The movie was just released. It is a sad but beautiful story.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fedex Delivery

We received Miles' urn today. He was born on October 2nd and died on November 2nd. In one month, we fell in love with him. I was actually infactuated long before that.

When he died, we had three choices: to bury him in a potters field, to bury him in a cemetery, or to cremate him. We cremated him with a stuffed animal and some letters from us, including one from his big sister.

Picking his urn was a huge deal to me. There are so many types of urns out there. Choosing one is a huge task. I think I found just the right one. A company that commissions artists made it. It took a few months to receive, but we got it today. It is beautiful and delicate. Now we have to find a safe location to place it in our home.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Brown Princess

I took Miya with me to school two weeks ago. She spent the day with my 1st grade students. She was very excited to hang out with older children.  I teach in poorest neighborhood in the Bronx. I overheared Miya talking to a girl (fake name: Monica) in my class. They were discussing princesses.

Miya: All girls are princesses.

Monica: What?

Miya: Yes, all girls are princesses, you're a princess, I'm a princess and my mommy is a princess.

Monica: But you can't be brown and be a princess.

Miya: Why?!?

I interceded and explained to Monica, who is Latino, the race of a person does not matter, there are real princesses all over the world.

When Miya got home, she was very upset. She said, "Why did she say that about you?"

I did not know where to start explaining. But I tried my best. No Masters degree prepares you for the interesting conversations you have with your child!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Loving DC

We just came back from Washington, DC last night. We went there for Easter break. I love DC. This is my second visit. Miya complained, "Why do we always go to DC? Why can't we go to Hong Kong, or Japan, or Taiwan." I was quite impressed with my four year old's knowledge of eastern geography.

DC is amazing. The layout of the city was designed by French architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant in the 18th century. It is so obvious that DC has a French style in its design. It is so beautiful.

The majority of museums are free. There is so much to enjoy, such as sitting in front of the White House, or standing beside the imposing Lincoln Memorial, and standing outside the theater where Abraham Lincoln was killed. There are many cool tours such as the "Monuments by Moonlight" or the "DC Food Tour."

Every time I vacation in a new place, I want to live there. Miya's reasons for wanting to move to DC are because it is cleaner, she wants to live in a hotel, eat pancakes every morning, spend all day with mommy and daddy, and stay up late every night.

I don't blame her.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My hair

So, I made a big hair change today. I decided to take my braids out and wear my hair naturally. Last year, Chris Rock produced a movie called, "Good Hair". The movie highlights how black women are so unhappy with their hair. We make excruciating efforts to make it look the opposite to what it really is. We put relaxers in (highly toxic), wear wigs, and weave or braid in fake hair. Because of what we see on TV, and how we grew up, we believe the kinky (tightly curled)  hair looks bad.

I have extremely thick and kinky hair. For years, I wore fake hair (braids) because I did not know what to do with my overwhelming hair. A month ago, my daughter told my husband that she did not like her curly hair. I decided that it was time for me to be an example.

I found a great salon here in NYC that specializes in natural African textured hair. They are expensive but I went. They made me feel so proud of my hair. They also gave me so much advice on how to handle my hair. I left feeling pretty and encouraged. I have thick, curly hair. Sometimes it gets really frizzy. But it is my hair and I love it! And I am grateful that I have loads of it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cost of Survival

I just read an article about a mother in Australia who had a premature baby at 23 weeks. He is now three years old. According to his mother, "he can’t walk or talk...he has chronic lung disease, cerebral palsy and global developmental delay. He has diabetes insipidus and his thermostat is a bit wonky, so he gets hot and cold.” She feels so much regret that she let her child live.

I always heard that amazing advancements have been made in medicine allowing the tiniest preemie to survive. But the cost of their survival is extremely high. The quality of life that results from not being in the womb for at least 32 weeks is awful. There are lucky micropreemies that survive with no issues. Doctors do everything they can in hopes that another child can be that lucky one.

I was not given a choice in Miles' survival. He had strong lungs and fought everyday but had many issues due to prematurity. People would tell me miraculous stories about little preemies who survived with the most normal lives. That unfortunately is not the norm. People keep the sad stories to themselves.

I was very concerned about the quality of life Miles would have. We fought beside him and had hope for his future. We wanted him to be the miracle story.

I feel bad for mothers who regret the survival of their children. I  feel bad for those who have to experience the loss of their children as well. Either way, it is an awful experience.

This is the article from The Telegraph in Australia.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Matt's Play

Matt hosted his first play reading last night. He wrote a play called, "Chiku the African Adventurer, live!". It is about a Dora style character. He planned the reading, hired a director and actors, set up the date, and location. Miya and I went to support the talented man in our life. She loved seeing her father on stage with the other actors.

I am so proud of him for putting on this play reading. It is so easy for writers to create work and leave it on their computers. I see Matt really making efforts to make sure his work is seen and heard. He is submitting his play to festivals and we hope for a great outcome.

I admire his efforts in continuing to create while working, finishing his thesis and being a husband and father. Miya was very proud of him too.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dinner with my friends

Last night I went out for dinner on the Upper East Side. I hesitated to go to this dinner. Actually, I thought of canceling a few hours beforehand. You see, these three women all had micropreemies in the NICU. Their children survived and my boy did not. I was very nervous about how I would feel during dinner.

I decided to go. Deep inside, I knew I would have a great time. I was right. We met at a hip and yummy Middle Eastern Restaurant. We definitely spoke about the NICU experience. We even joked about some of the doctors. But we also shared painful moments. The pain of seeing your tiny baby in an incubator cannot truly be understood unless it is experienced.

These three women went home with the prize. I did not. But I still feel a deep connection to them. I truly am glad I did not stay home.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My jaded baby!

So, sweet little Mimi is on Winter break. I normally love foreign art house movies which are usually ridiculously sad. But, I have totally loved watching Disney-style movies with Miya.

Tonight, we watched Fish Tales with the ever cute Billy Zane. He plays an Oxford professor who is widowed with a teenage daughter. While doing research on an island in Greece, they encounter a beautiful siren. He falls in love with this mermaid. Yadi yadi yada, she loses her tail, becomes a human, and she and Billy Zane become the best looking couple ever.

In the final scene the couple looks into each other's eyes as the credits roll. My sweet Miya mutters, "But they are soon going to be mad at each other...everyone fights!"

Oh golly! My jaded baby! What have we done?!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Supercool Parents

I learned today that the award winning actor, Chris Cooper, had a premature baby years ago. Due to his prematurity, Jesse had cerebral palsy, was a quadrapelegic, and could not speak. He lived till he was 17 years old. Jesse experienced ridicule and was told he did not belong in many situations. His mother, Marianne Leone fought the New York Public School system to give him his educational rights. Despite his handicaps, Jesse enjoyed life. He loved surfing, was on the honor roll, and wrote poetry.

According to Marianne Leone, “People refer to him as a burden, but we never saw him that way. He was a joy to us, and a teacher. The feeling of loss never goes away.” She wrote a painful memoir, "Knowing Jesse".

I cannot help but think of Miles, he was expected to develop severe handicaps due to his prematurity. We planned on loving Miles and cherishing him unconditionally. During his one month of life, we loved him wholeheartedly.  I adore these parents for showing Jesse unconditional love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Competitive Mom

Today, Matt and I took Miya for gifted and talented testing. We went to a local elementary school for the test at 9:00 am. I could tell that the parents were uptight about the test. They were asking the assistant principal many questions about the exam. I was thinking, "take a chill pill, these kids are only four years old."

My ugly competitive head emerged when Miya came out first from the exam. She finished first...what does that mean? The examiner is not allowed to tell us how the exam went or how she did. We find out the results in May. On the way home, I started asking Miya questions such as, "Was it difficult? What did she ask you? Was it hard for you? Why did you finish early?" Miya, my little comedian, responded with wacky answers that gave me no information.

After thinking about it, I was ashamed of my competitive behavior. I am grateful for my daughter, no matter how she does in the exam, she is a gem to me. Taking my son, Miles, to a gifted and talented exam may not have been a possibility if he survived. Due to his prematurity, there was a large possibility that he could have developed cerebral palsy. We love our children, no matter what label is put on them. We just want them to be safe and happy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Don't be fooled by happy facebook pictures

I took this picture before I went on the "It's a small world ride" at  Disneyland. My first time on that on that ride, I was 6 years old. A few days ago, I went on that ride again with my husband, Miya, and sweet in laws.

I got on that ride and I missed my son. We have a great family and do cool things together. He missed out on that life. We also missed out on giving him the life we are giving Miya.

So, don't be fooled by my facebook pics! I was crying my eyes out a few moments later. But I only post the good pictures.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


So I was on a website called Urban Baby. It is for moms in San Francisco or New York. Most of these moms are very wealthy or pretend to be. I am neither wealthy nor pretend to be. One woman complained that her housekeeper was late because she broke her ankle in the snow. She was going to fire her.

But it is a great website for referrals. I am looking for a new ob/gyn so I went to Urban Baby. I got great top-notch suggestions.

Yesterday, I stumbled onto a post, "My husband sees hookers frequently, should I leave him?"


Saturday, January 22, 2011

8 Million Residents

New York City is huge. There are 8 million residents in the city. Strangely enough, I have bumped into two doctors from the hospital.

When I was on hospital bedrest, Dr. X, a high risk doctor would come and see me. He always sounded very hopeless. With a very strong Israeli accent, he would say, "Mrs. Roberson, you will probably go into labor suddenly and it would be very fast. The chance of your baby having a normal life will be very low, if he is born this early." I would cry every time he left the room. Unfortunately, Dr. X was correct. He would come to see check on Miles periodically in the NICU.  Last week, the family went to the mall, and we bumped into Doctor X. He had his daughter and a newborn son with him.

Miya and I went to see the Disney Princesses on Ice at Madison Square Garden, a freaking huge venue. We bumped into Dr. Y . She watched over Miles in the NICU. One night, his stomach looked slightly swollen. She called a top surgeon in that night. The surgeon realized Miles needed emergency surgery on his intestines. That surgery saved his life, even though it was for a month. When I saw Dr. Y at Mad Square, we hugged each other. There were tears in her eyes.

I don't know if things happen for a reason or if they were strange consequences. I can't read into things anymore.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Roller Coaster

I want to tell you why my blog is called roller coaster. When Miles, my son, was in the NICU, I would hear the expression, "take it day by day, it is a roller coaster in here." Miles was in the NICU for a month and it was the most difficult process of our lives. Every medical test done on him was crucial. Some of the results were great and some were horrible. My perspective on what was a big deal changed. In the past, I would worry incesently if Miya had a cold or stomach bug. In the NICU, I had to worry about Miles' intestines, brain, and lungs.

He was a cute and handsome boy. I do wish he had a better chance at life.

One day, a lovely nurse was changing out his oxygen tube. She said to me, "Mom (they call you mom or dad), have you had a chance to see how handsome your son is? Take a picture of him without the tube. Isn't he handsome?"

So this is the picture I took with my crappy phone.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day

Tomorrow is a snow day. Depending on the forecast, 5 to 15 inches of snow is expected by the morning. I went grocery shopping. Miya watched Beauty and the Beast in her Belle costume. I made gnocchi for dinner. Matt enjoyed his with a glass of red wine. I will be making buckwheat pancakes in the morning. New York is such a hectic city to live in. We breathe a sigh of relief on days like this. The only place we have to go is outside to play in the snow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My mother in law

I have a wonderful mother in law. We are very different. I am black, she is white. I grew up in Africa, she grew up in Alabama. She is petite, I am tall. My mother died when I was ten. But my mother in law has always taken care of me as if I were hers.  
When I was on hospital bed rest, she came to New York and hired a cleaner to help with chores.  A few days ago, I underwent surgery and my mother in law was there to take care of Miya.

If you have a great mother in law...let her know.  The alternative is awful!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Waking up from anesthesia

I have been given general anesthesia twice. The first time was in October, when Miles was born. The labor was too rapid...blah blah blah and I was put to sleep. Yesterday, I was fitted with a bionic cervix to ensure that I would carry my next child to term. During that procedure, I was given general anesthesia as well. Unfortunately, after both surgeries, I woke up from the anesthesia fighting, throwing my arms and legs about, trying to rip the breathing tubes from my nose.

 I am like a horse. According to the Hebrew University's Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, horses try to stand and gallop away immediately upon waking up from surgery. Imagine controlling a 1000 lb patient! Very dangerous endeavor!

I don't remember either situation. But after Miles was born and I woke up from anesthesia, Matt and the nurse had to physically hold me down. Yesterday, when I woke up from my surgery, four doctors had to hold me down when I woke up from anesthesia. Each time, I woke up fighting. Somehow, anesthesia brings out my true feelings.

Next time I go into surgery, I think I will warn the surgical team!

Monday, January 3, 2011

I love this city

So the trash is finally being cleaned up. For some reason, trash was not picked up in many parts of NYC due to the blizzard. If you look outside my window, you will see bags of trash that line the street. I thought it would bother me. It doesn't though! I really love this city...even though sometimes it does not love me back. No elevators in subways stations. Large rats in the tracks. Small one bedroom apartments (in decent parts of town) costing $500,000 and above. You have to fight to get your child into a good school.

I still love this city though...just like Tina loved Ike and Whitney loved Bobby.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My little girl

This is my little girl, Queen Brat. This picture is a perfect representation of who she is. I adore her!