Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When Pregnancy No Longer Means Having A Baby

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Those of you who have been reading my blog through the years or even just gone back and read old posts know of the importance of today.

Obviously this is one of those things that hits close to my heart.

I wish I could say recurrent loss is something really rare that hardly anyone ever goes through. Sadly that's not true. I am not the only one of my friends to deal with recurrent losses, I haven't even had the most losses. And more then one of my friends has had a still birth or lost a child in their first year of life. Something I can't even imagine.

It's a hard situation to get through.

Every single time I have been pregnant someone has said to me, "This is it, I know it's it."

Last time it was almost everyone, including my own father.

And our baby died anyway.

I know it has nothing to do with it, but hearing those words has become a curse. As soon as someone says it I can't help but think, "There it is. You just killed my baby by jinxing my pregnancy."

As if there were such a thing.

I know it's not fair, I know nothing is meant by it but reassurance and support. But it's one of those things that really gets to me. Don't make me promises like that. Only God knows which pregnancy will make it and which will not. You being sure has no meaning to me. Not any more.

I meet this October 15th with the profound realization that to me, pregnancy no longer results in living children. Pregnancy is a break from trying, a time spent holding my breath and wondering when the unbearable pain will start. A child resulting from pregnancy? Now that's a strange concept.

I spent my last pregnancy telling myself to enjoy every moment, focus only on the positive news. That's what they say to do right? I really believed that would make a difference. But it didn't.

I wish I could come to you today with hope, but I'm not there yet. I'm still in the waves of grief and doubt and fear.

But I want those of you who never tell me they are sure, but instead tell me they will hope where I cannot, I appreciate you more then words can say.

Tonight I light my candle for my children, and yours. And my heart aches for those of you reading this going, "I know exactly what you mean."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Family In The South, At Last

I'm sorry, it's been awhile! I have so much I want to tell you all about. About how God is making such amazing changes in our lives. About the miracles He is bringing about.

But that needs to wait for another day.

Firstly part of my absence was due to the fact that I spent a week in the hospital. Most of you know someone out with a stomach flu right now. It lasts about 18 hours, maybe 24, then everyone feels weak a few days and is fine.

It started with Elaine.

Monday the 15th, throwing up 4 times in the middle of the night. Mommy cuddling her on the couch until 4 am, when she finally was out enough to sleep on the couch alone while mom caught some z's in bed. Honestly she probably would have thrown up about 3 less times but she wanted to sip water from Dixie cups because that was SO cool.

The next 3 days she just wanted crackers and water, but no real food.

We walked into a restaurant one afternoon after mommy had the Drs appointment from hell in which the wicked RE of the south told mommy all about how her eggs sucked so bad she was incapable of getting pregnant and not miscarrying and all hope was lost.

We sat down and Blake threw up. All over.

The staff was very nice while mommy apologized a million times swearing they weren't bad parents dragging their sick kid out to a restaurant, but that their kid had shown no signs of feeling ill that day. Evidence in effect by Blake laughing, jumping around, and kindly pointing out his vomit to the poor man cleaning it up. (Who told me child vomit was a good break from his day and that Blake's vomit smelled like gumbo. To which I replied he ate a peanut butter sandwich and inwardly cringed and reminded myself to never eat gumbo again.)

Blake had diarrhea twice, ate sandwiches, crackers, and drank water. A few days later was fine.

Then Jensen stopped wanting anything other then sandwiches, crackers, and water. He had diarrhea 4 times in one afternoon and never threw up.

Mommy washed her hands a kajillion times and never ever shared food or drinks. But mommy knew it was inevitable. Thursday the 25th mommy threw up. By that night mommy felt very bad.

Friday mommy threw up several times. And felt worse. By Saturday mommy was sick every 30 minutes. Vomiting and diarrhea. By mid afternoon mommy no longer had any stomach acid and for the first time in her life started throwing up bile, which was not fun, and pretty scary. Unable to keep down water and no food since Thursday everyone headed for the ER.

OK enough mommy talk.

I arrive in the ER and they ask how often I have been sick. An answer of every 30 minutes is not satisfactory. They write down 10 times while I gag. The place me in the furthest room from the bathroom. Wish I was joking. After watching me run across the ER 3 times they realize, I'm not kidding. Every 30 minutes. They take pity on me and move me to a room with a bathroom.

They have plied me with anti nausea meds and anti diarrheal meds since I got there. Nothing stops it, nothing slows it. I am told some bags of fluid and I can go home. By the 3rd bag the tone is changing. I am losing fluid faster then they can give it and nothing is stopping it.

I am admitted.

It was 36 hours before I urinated, 4 days before my urine changed to clear from orange.

By the time I am discharged I had had 20 bags of fluid, had a vein blown in my right hand (swollen 3 times the size of the other hand - The nurses ever so helpful, "Oh normally an alarm goes off when this happens, sorry it didn't and your hand exploded", ok I added the last half of the sentence):

and I am covered in bruises from all the blood draws (right arm's bruises not shown, and this was before they all got really bad and more showed up):

I am on the mend though I do have follow ups as the frequent and many (many) tests showed I have elevated liver enzymes, which the helpful doctor told me means anything from they are just elevated for no reason to cancer. Let's hope for option A.

But all that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to say while I was suffering, God was showing me how wrong my assumptions can be.

The first night in the hospital we were out of diapers and 30 minutes from our house. Our friends we met through church went out and bought us some to get us through the next few days.

The first morning I woke up in the hospital I got a call from a woman who is 1 of 4 amazing women who run our homeschooling group. She asked what I needed. I hesitated. I knew Rob could really use some help, but I hate asking for help. God opened my mouth and said, "Dinner for my husband and kids would be amazing."

Being the completely amazing person she is, she arranged with another wonderful woman from the group to bring them dinner, and they added on groceries. Rob called me in complete awe and disbelief telling me about the oatmeal and the fruit and the juice and the dinner and the BROWNIES! He told me, "I love them." It made such a difference for Rob to not have to think about dinner when worrying about me in the hospital and our kids in their less then ideal care situation.

Speaking of, after an incident in which one of our kids was neglected by a relative who was watching them, and I won't go into details because 1) it's over and we can't change it now and 2) I'm actually still really furious and trying to move on, another woman from our church (one Rob has met several times because their house is the meeting location of the men's group Rob is in) volunteered to watch our kids. She had them 12 hours a day, Wednesday, Thursday, and even a few hours Friday after I was home so I could rest. She taught Jensen how to pee outside when he was too afraid to use their toilet, even bathing my kids and washing their clothes and lending them her own children's clothes when Rob slept through an alarm and brought them dressed in the same clothes as the day before because he was running too late to find clean onces (such a dad move right? "The clothes were clean!"). She just completely stepped up above and beyond, all while also watching a baby all day as well for another woman. They even bought diapers when Rob forgot to give them some, and refused a penny in return. How many people do you know would do that? I promise you, I don't know many myself.

Our pastor sent us flowers and gave us money for gas since every day we were told I could go home and every day they'd drive out and we would get told not enough progress, one more night.

Such a difference this time being in the hospital from the last time, in which we said goodbye to our baby and had 0 support from anyone local.

I am stunned, I am in awe. We went into the hospital thinking how are we going to be able to do this, who will watch the kids, how can we afford for Rob to miss so much work? To being shown that God will provide, you just need to ask.

A few days before I went into the hospital on the radio they were talking about how God is never going to let you go without. Pray, ask, and He follows through. I admit, even in my new relationship with God, I had doubt. I thought, how many times have we had to scrimp and do without? Where was God then?

Well He showed me, He moved people in our lives to be positioned and available when we needed help. I was joined in the hospital by people asking to pray for me, being told about groups praying for me, people I'd never met before. And I admit, I cried a lot. Rob simply said, that's what Churches do for people.

But I am telling you, it's never been done for me before. And I am more grateful then I can express. The thank you cards don't seem to be enough to convey how much every gesture, every prayer, brought me through a hard time that otherwise might have left me spiraling back into depression. Made me feel like finally, finally, we were part of a family down here. Part of a group of people who understand how a real family behaves. How if one falls, we all fall. So we all need to work and lift each other up.

Medical bills have been something hard on us lately. Making life difficult, and sometimes it's hard to see the end of them with all my health issues of late.

But God showed me that even when things seem most dark, there is His beautiful light shining in everyone around you.

You just need to reach out and ask for it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Re-Thinking Unromantic

I won't be around here much. We've got so much going on it's really hard to keep up with every day life, much less a blog.

Elaine and Jensen managed to catch a cold/cough (don't worry, not the scary one going around) so we ended up having to miss Church on Sunday. I really wanted to go but the twins are too young to sit through service and I was not going to expose any other kids by putting them in the care center.

Rob is loving his men's group. We're reading his book together now because Rob has a lot on his plate and I can read a chapter in under an hour. I'm really enjoying it. Great bonding time and discussion time. It's really changing the way I think and feel about God too, and I like it. I feel like it's becoming easier to form a relationship with Him.

First homeschooling meeting is tomorrow and I am excited to see if we will be able to participate this year. If not Rob met a nice guy in his men's group and got me in touch with his wife. Their oldest is 4, then they have a 2 year old and a newborn. She told me last year kids under 5 were not allowed on a lot of the trips and if that happens again me and her can go out on field trips together instead. I am really hoping it works out to have us be able to do the Church group, but I am very thankful if not I will still be able to get the kids out and have them hang out with kids who don't share DNA with them! ;)

Speaking of homeschooling we're on day 3 today! After a rough first day (bare in mind we've been doing writing and basics for months now, but this is our first time with work books and a set sit down time with focused learning) in which my perfectionist child broke down several times so disappointed in himself that his lines were not as straight as the ones in the book, we came back with an amazing day 2! This week we're working on the letter I as per the book's instructions. At the end of our day 2 this was my big boy so proud of how well he did and with no break downs!

We are so proud of him!

In some personal news my body did something on it's own it hasn't been able to do since June 2013. Yes, over a year. It's been really exciting to get a glimmer of hope that my body is not irreparably broken.

And I know I posted a bit ago about Rob not being very romantic. He really took our discussion to heart and did this last night:

Yep my awesome husband bought me a wedding band I'd been eyeing for awhile, a beautiful and amazing smelling bouquet, and some red vines that I've been craving (and haven't eaten since I lived in Oregon!). I love him so much, and his ability to surprise me even after all this time.

Hope all my readers out there are having a wonderful start of the school year, and that life is blessing you in the most amazing and unexpected ways!

Hit rewind
Click delete
Stand face to face with the younger me
All of the mistakes
All of the heartbreak
Here's what I'd do differently

I'd love like I'm not scared
Give when it's not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on You

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Week Of Homeschooling?

Just a quick post to let you know we did not start homeschooling this week!

Jensen spent Monday in the hospital, and while he is FINE, he's had some stress issues about it since (not the hospital, he loved it. Wore his hospital gown for 24 hours at home, and wouldn't let us cut off his hospital bracelet until Friday night after being bribed with a cookie!), but from the injury so I didn't want to jump right into school.

Jensen is a perfectionist. He does not like to be told he got it wrong. He get easily frustrating if he feels like he just can't get it. To be honest I am not entirely sure he's ready for school emotionally but we're going to try it and see how it goes.

He's starting to learn how to write his letters, and he loves working with flash cards, so I imagine we're going to start there and not jump into the books just yet. Like his dad and my dad, he is great at math. Numbers are far easier for him to handle then letters. He's so smart and inquisitive. I think I am going to really love being his teacher.

So Monday is our first day, and I will likely give an update then.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Healing The Past

Sunday was probably my least favorite sermon so far. It just didn't apply to us and frankly that part of scripture always really irritates me.

It was based around pictures in your wedding album, and how you could learn from those messages to strengthen your marriage. (I have a wedding album, but we didn't have a traditional wedding so none of the photo examples applied to us).

Married in my mom's living room.

The big reason the service just didn't feel right to me was because of much of the message was about not withholding sex, and using sex to strengthen a marriage.

I don't withhold sex, but to be honest we don't really have any rough patches or disagreements that last longer then a day so there isn't an extended period of time where I don't want to be intimate with my husband. Sex is most definitely not an issue in my marriage. Even after trying to get pregnant for 2 1/2 years, our sex life has never suffered. We definitely don't have an issue there!

However I really don't like those parts of scripture for a big reason. They were written under the context of the marriage being with a Godly and respectful man. And let's face it, not all men out there today are. So many men twist the words until it reads like rape. The woman must submit and please him and wholly give her body to him and never withhold, but he needs not do anything in return.

That's not what the bible says, at all. But that's how it gets twisted and I see so many stories of women feeling like they HAD to have sex, even when they felt frightened, and those feelings are akin to rape in so many women.

Certainly most men don't want to think that they have raped their spouse, but it happens. Women are taught so often to just submit always. And because we love our spouses we do, at the suffering of our mental and emotional well being. This is not what God wanted, and not what the bible intends.

But it's a common story.

One of the most life changing things I have ever heard was this:

"If you are trusting this person enough to sleep with them, enough to marry them and spend your life with them, why do you not trust them enough to say, 'move over a little to the left'"

As in, if this is the person you choose to share your body with, and trust enough to marry, then why do you not trust them enough to be able to tell them what makes you feel good intimately? And more importantly, when it doesn't feel good, and when you don't want it?

It all comes back to the need to communicate and open up with each other. A truly respectful and loving husband, or significant other, will listen to you, and support you. And move over a little to the left!

2. Cutting out things that drive us apart is hard. I feel I have in my life. I've removed friends who spoke poorly of my husband or whom I found out were asking people behind my back if he was really as wonderful in person as I said. Even removing family whom I found were spreading rumors about my husband and my marriage.

But a big thing driving us apart is still in our life, because it's not my decision to cut them out. It's my husband's.

They not only try to force me out by being extremely cruel, they flat out tell him that he needs to divorce me and abandon our kids. After the last incident he made them apologize to my face, and since then they haven't wanted to come over. I found out yesterday that's because they are telling people we said they aren't welcome here. When the truth is we've been inviting them over (despite my personally wishing they'd find the nearest cliff).

The discussion of this last night ended in a confession, from me and from Rob.

I said, "You know sometimes I DO want to leave you. Just to get THEM out of my life and get away from their constant cruelty and abuse. Every time they break my heart I try to go in and fix things, only to hear they are still talking shit about me behind my back and spreading rumors. I am tired of having to smile when they come over to my house so they don't have any ammo to use against me, only for them to completely make things up. Sometimes it's exhausting and since you won't cut them out I do wonder if it's worth it in those hard times."

Rob responds with, "I know. I know that. That's why sometimes it's hard for me to put the effort into us. Because I am so afraid you're just going to leave me. I put so much effort into past relationships and they crushed me. And I am afraid that will happen again."

Now let me explain this, Rob is extremely sweet, a hard working, and a dedicated husband. When things are hard he is the one going it's not over, we're working through this. He is my rock.

But he's not the most romantic guy you could ever meet. Sweet yes, a romantic... not so much lol. He doesn't make birthday plans, he doesn't buy birthday gifts, and he forgets Mother's Day every year. He's slightly better at Christmas time, but we've had some rough years.

It's not something many people know about because to me it's not really anything to complain about. I accept that he's never going to scatter roses and light candles. This doesn't mean he doesn't love me and can't be very sweet and thoughtful, it's just not a Hollywood movie up in here. And that's ok.

But I was very saddened that he was so hurt in the past, and so scared about me leaving. I replied with a smile, "After 6 years, 3 kids, everything we have gone through, if you're parents aren't enough to chase me off, what makes you think anything YOU do will?"

Sometimes the hurts of the past are really hard to move beyond.

More importantly then sharing your body, which is I think something men tend to naturally think helps support the marriage, you need to be sharing your heart. Even the hard things to say. Even the scary things to think about.

So no disrespect to my lovely church and the wonderful pastor, but Sunday was not my favorite service, and that's not my favorite part of the bible. But we are still thankful for it, and the discussion and confessions it brought on. Today we are a little closer, a little more in love, and a little stronger for it.

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