Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A watched pot...boils over.

For more days than I care to tally, my emotions have been under scrutiny. Friends, family, doctors, acquaintances, my hairdresser, my counselor....all have watched, most have commented. I've made more jokes about the breakdown I was going to have "when all this is over" than can possibly be funny. Most have said I'm holding it together well, they are surprised I'm still standing, they wouldn't blame me for cracking just a little.

All the while, everything has been simmering just under the surface. Like a pot of water in the moments before the boiling point is reached, there has been a current underneath my daily thoughts and emotions. Some steam escaped, there were times I freaked out, choked up and broke down. Some came in the form of a good cry, an argument with my husband or a panic attack. A notable one occurred after I made the mistake of watching a video of a vaginal hysterectomy to satisfy my need to know what it involved. (It was not nearly as easy a video to handle as the one of a laparoscopic assisted supracervical hysterectomy....that one didn't leave me wanting to rock in the corner). I know it's likely not normal to want to watch those videos at all, but I needed to know. I panicked, and almost cancelled the surgery. Mostly, though, I've tried to hold it together by focusing on other things.

As it turns out, while I'm still in a considerable amount of pain and it's clear my recovery is going to take time, having the surgery was definitely needed. While I feel very rough right now, I can tell there is going to be improvement. After talking with the surgeon the morning they released me from the surgery center, I understand better what I was dealing with.

The pathology isn't back yet. We may or may not get more information from the study of my uterus, but what the surgeon was able to tell me was pretty amazing. To me, at least.

He said there was not a thing about my uterus that looked healthy. In fact, he described it as boggy, shriveled, lacking proper color and sick looking. He referred to our conversations where he asked me if I was sure I was done having children, sure I would not change my mind, and said based upon how my uterus looked it is unlikely I'd ever have conceived again. Even more unlikely I'd see another live birth, if I did conceive. We are extremely lucky to have our children.

The first bubble broke the surface of the water in that moment. The grief I have been fighting, denying, pushing down and trying to keep a lid on finally boiled over. All at once, the sadness of infertility, trying to conceive, the loss of two babies I have yet to properly acknowledge, my brother's murder, my pregnancy with my son, his birth, his illness after, my illness and the fear I'd have a surgery only to be told they couldn't find anything wrong just boiled over. I fear I may have scared the hell out of that poor man when I just started sobbing.

I tried to explain my relief at the notion this could all be over and the fears I'd had about the surgery, told him I'd been worried he'd come in and say something along the lines of "well, I took it out but I didn't really see any obvious problem. Maybe there will still be some pain relief, but I'm not sure."

He reassured me that it was very clear my uterus was quite sick, very obvious that I had to have been in a lot of pain and feeling awful with it looking that way and certain that had I not had it removed I'd have continued to hurt and feel sick. That was a validation for which I had not dared to hope.

It's not clear without the pathology whether it was just the infection that caused this damage, if my D & C earlier this year played a role or if there is something more. He mentioned the possibility of Adenomyosis, a condition where endometrial tissue penetrates and grows into the uterine muscle causing several symptoms - including chronic pain. I'm anxious to get the results back from the lab. It can be treated, but from what I've read it can't be completely resolved until menopause or with a hysterectomy.

I realize it was not entirely logical to worry there would be no obvious signs of a medical problem when the surgeon looked. I know in my heart that I was feeling pain, fatigue and a level of sickness I couldn't explain....but it seemed so strange there were times I worried I was losing it, or that others would think I was. Knowing something and knowing can be two different things.

I have a bit of extra time on my hands right now. Time where I'm not allowed to work, to busy my body with running around or taking on new tasks. I have to be still and in that stillness, the grief is bubbling to the surface. Bit by bit, I'm working on it.

Our church home, the church I was not able to attend for so long as it was outside of the radius allowed while I was experiencing preterm labor, is rebuilding its outdoor worship area. An elder has been handmaking benches, and all of them are done except one. The one my husband will help him make that will bear the names of our two babies that have yet to be fully acknowledged. This week we will call the elder with the first and middle names of the children whose feet never touched the ground, whose hands we never held. We will say their names out loud to another person who will literally set them in stone.

I watched the pot so carefully, afraid it would boil over when I wasn't looking, afraid I'd be trying to deal with this at a time when I simply could not. His timing, of course, is perfect. With an abundance of boiling water, time that cannot be spent on activity and a prescription for rest and hot tea it seems the perfect time to sort through all of this. If that were not irony enough, I actually received a written prescription for a device that would me take slow, deep breaths.

Someone is making sure I take care of myself now, and reminding me you can't really get cooking until the water boils anyway.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Surgery complete.

I'm updating on behalf of my dear friend and am happy to say that her surgery went well today. She didn't have many details when I spoke with her (and yes, I actually did get to talk to her in person, not just her husband, which was a happy surprise). I'm sure when she's ready, she'll post the details; when we talked she didn't know much other than the surgeon referred to her uterus as "shriveled." Not a nice word when you're talking about an internal organ. She was also able to keep her ovaries, which is great news, considering the last thing she needs is to have the major hormonal upheaval that losing those would entail.

When I talked to her, she sounded surprisingly good. The must be giving her the good drugs.

Thanks to everyone who has kept her in your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray that this finally does the trick and her poor body can heal. Healing and peace are something she and her family desperately need.

This Woman's Work.

I've talked about myself a lot. What this has been like for me, how I feel about it, blah blah blah me me me blah blah blah blah me me me blah (extra points for the movie reference). In reality, though, I've thought a lot about the effect of all of this on my family. Especially my husband.

He's held me up and held my hand. Done the dishes, laundry, bedtime routines, vacuumed, gone to work and repeated that cycle over and over while doing his best to make me occasionally put my feet up. If it weren't for him, I'd probably not take the time to take care of myself at all. I still don't do it enough, but that's not his fault.

We had an argument, shortly before our wedding. I was not yet diagnosed with PCOS. We both knew something was wrong, both knew whatever was going on was getting worse, and the stress of not knowing and preparing for our wedding was starting to get to us. I don't remember the catalyst for the fight, what ultimately made it happen but I am sure my hormones and the wedding did not help. Worrying that there might be something really wrong with me had me scared. I remember shouting at him "are you in this for better or worse? What about the part about in sickness and in health? Can I count on you to be there for me, no matter what? If not, you need to say so NOW."

His diabetes diagnosis had come years earlier, when we'd only been together a year, and I think I was a bit resentful that I'd really tried to see him through it...and here I was scared about my own health issue and worried he didn't get it. I realize now he cared, very very much, and I wasn't taking the time to see it.

We waited until after the wedding to do the ultrasound and bloodwork that would confirm what was wrong. I didn't want anything to damper the honeymoon, and he said he wanted to marry me no matter the outcome. It was hard, learning about pcos, hearing the infertility statistics and worrying about the other complications. Infertility itself was harder. The last year, my pregnancy, complications, illness, our son's illness, surgery, etc...it's been the hardest year of my life. I've never, ever, been so stressed, so emotional and so on the edge.

Through it all, he's been there. I've soaked every shirt he owns with tears. I've been emotional, hormonal, scatterbrained, unreliable, short tempered and in many ways not the woman he fell in love with. Not once has he thrown his arms up in the air and said "You're so not worth this."

There have been moments when he's been just as tired, just as stressed, just as ready for this crazy cloud of medical scares to blow over. He's been short tempered and short on sleep at times too. He's stood by me through all of it, keeping his vows in every way. Better, worse, rich, poor, sickness, health....and even more sickness.

When he can he makes me laugh. When he can't, he lets me cry.

We've been together almost 11 years, and he still surprises me with how sweet, funny and loving he can be. I have to remind myself that sometimes he gets scared too. We've stayed up late the last several nights talking, a bit about what's coming, a lot about where we've been, and a bit about things completely unrelated. It's been nice to have those talks. There have been a few moments where he's confessed how hard it's been on him, and a few where he's admitted he's worried about today too. Sometimes in my selfishness I've failed to notice that. I've worried so much about my fears that I didn't address his.

Today, while I'm having surgery, I get to sleep through it. Yes, my body gets to go through the wringer but I won't be aware of it at the time. I don't have to be the one sitting, waiting, worrying. He's held my hand through all of this, but for the really crappy portion of today's events he's got nobody to hold his. I feel terrible for not considering that until today.

Throughout all of this, there's been a lot of "that really sucked....but we were SO lucky" moments. So many events that could have turned out dramatically worse than they did, so many times when we were all too aware of the thin line between bad and tragic. Several people have commented on my bad luck in the last year, and honestly, I feel like I've had an awful lot of good luck. My children are here, healthy, thriving and I have had my husband to see us through all of this. Never wavering, never faltering, getting up every morning and doing what he has to do to take care of all of us.

I am so lucky to have him. There will never, ever be enough days with him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Invisible, unless you know where to look, almost all of us carry at least one and sometimes more. Heavy, cumbersome and awkward, emotional bags come without wheels and handles, just a strap to tie onto your back and loop around your heart. How many times have we heard that saying about each person we meet carrying a burden almost more than they can stand? How often do we actually talk to someone about theirs?

I am terrible at asking for help. If you've been to my house during an event, you've seen an example of it first hand. I fly around like a drunken bumblebee, doing this, doing that, often denying offers of help by saying "no, thanks, I'm almost done" or "I just have a couple more things to do." In my heart, I know people don't mind helping - they are, after all, OFFERING and yet I have trouble accepting. I have even more trouble asking.

The last year has been an exercise in asking for help. While I've never been the type to think I could do it all alone, asking for help is something I struggle with terribly. Part of it probably boils down to a combination of a need to do it myself in order to feel worthy, capable, competent. Some of it is likely related to this tendency of mine to take on too much. There's certainly a fear of failure thrown in there for good measure, and the worry of appearing weak.

Lately, my ability to hold it together is wavering. While I have faith in the notion that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, I'm not joking when I say I feel he's putting too much faith in me. Yesterday it occurred to me that maybe that's the point I've been missing. That maybe, just maybe He is intentionally giving me more than I can handle. I am having to ask for help, and I think that might just be his master plan this time.

I struggled recently with the admission to my husband and my doctor that the minimum dose of zoloft is not cutting it for me. I'm not able to handle it all, and the stresses of my pregnancy, my son's illness, my own, the complications of the last year, stress with work, my upcoming surgery - all of it piled onto my back, and I felt I was faltering. I didn't want to, but I started to ask for help. I expressed my frustration at feeling weak at not being able to just handle this.

Then something happened.

A woman I've known for three years, someone who has been a ray of sunshine without knowing it, confessed to me yesterday that she wasn't holding it together. That she, in fact, had a breakdown this weekend that left her rocked to her core. She said, "I hate feeling so weak" and in that moment I confessed what I'd been dealing with. Talking to each other about it didn't make it all go away, didn't make it all better, but we knew we weren't alone. We agreed we'd call each other if it felt that way at any point.

Then something else happened.

I checked my email and there was a message from someone I've known for 13 years. THIRTEEN YEARS, I can't even believe it's been that long. I love him like a brother, even though when we first met it didn't seem we'd click as friends. Over the years, he's been a constant source of support and encouragement, of honesty and loyalty. He's the one that told me trying to conceive was like trying to catch lightning in a bottle and he was incredibly supportive in many ways. He's hurting and struggling, and he took the bold step of reaching out and asking for help, just in case. I'm proud of him, and honored to be trusted in that way.

I hope the dark days are over soon for all of us, but I realized some things in the midst of all this. Not for one moment did I consider either of my friends weak or incapable for asking for help. I realized that for all of us, regardless of the baggage we are carrying, there are several someones who would be devastated if something happened to us. Our lives are touched by many people, not even just our families or the people we see every day - and theirs are touched by ours, whether it is said, whether we take the time to acknowledge it, or not. I think most people, at their core, want to help. Want to be needed.

And being needed can go a long, long way in this world.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who's your Mommy? (11 lessons about your mother)

When I'm not paying attention, for example when laying on the couch, I have a tendency to rub my feet together. It reminds your Daddy of a praying mantis, and it used to drive him nuts. Then he saw Emily do it during one of the ultrasounds when I was pregnant. Since then he's seen both of you do it, and now he thinks it's cute.

Lesson #1 - Sometimes the things that annoy you about someone become endearing. Then we call them "quirks." I have lots of those.

I love Dr. Pepper, strawberries, sappy stories and songs that make me cry. Emily has asked many times why I was crying only to discover it was about a song or a movie. Kids, your dad once explained to Em that my heart was closer to the surface and easier to get to with stuff like that. It's true. I cry easily. Good, bad, touching, frustrating, moving....it happens to us all, perhaps just a bit more easily with me.

Lesson #2 - It's ok to be empathetic, to care about what happens even if it doesn't happen to you or even in real life. Tears are therapeutic. OH, and Em, cool compresses for those swollen eyes. You get that puffiness from me. Sorry about that.

My favorite movie in the world is The Princess Bride. It's not the best made but it has true love, swordfighting, a giant and some of the best one-liners ever. Death can not stop true love. Killed by pirates is good, inconceivable and more. Your dad isn't so into it, I love it.

Lesson #3-Differences are part of what makes the world go round. So does love, adventure and dedication. Remember that. Oh, and remember you can get through the fire swamp if you learn its secrets. Life is a bit like that. Just don't give up.

I like coffee. Sometimes black, sometimes with an insane amount of chocolate syrup and some whipped cream. I like mayo and mustard, a little of both, on the same sandwich. Dad doesn't. If you do (Em does so far) you get that from me. Also, if you like to smash a sandwich until it's really thin and then eat it, that's a me thing too. I love lemon. Straight lemons, lemons squeezed into ice water (no sugar or very little), lemon filling in cake, lemon yogurt, lemon on seafood.

Lesson #4 lemons are good. If life gets rough, lemonade won't fix it but it might remind you that even in a sour situation, there are ways to sweeten things. Just don't put it in cuts.

Look at your hands. Emily and Joseph, if you look at the shape of your hands and fingers you will see carbon copies of my own. If ever, even if you're old and gray, you are thinking of me and you wonder about something, look at your hands. They are just like mine. And mine are like my fathers, and his were like his mother's. You, me, Poppy, and my Grandma Jones...we all have the same hands. Isn't that fantastic? If I'm far away - say when you're in college (please consider transferring somewhere closer), or grown (you could live close!) or even when you're old and grey and I'm not around anymore, hold your left hand with your right. I'll be there.

Lesson #5 - we are connected, and we always will be.

Before the two of you came along, I'd have never considered anything about me beautiful. It's not that I was so very down on myself, but I'd have never used that word in a thought about myself. But then. Everyone who has seen you has used that word about both of you - and the thing is, you look a lot like your Daddy but you also look a LOT like me. Which means, parts of me are beautiful too.

Lesson #6 - Don't be afraid to acknowledge areas you need to improve, but take the time to notice what is lovely about you inside and out. Be proud of who and what you are, and know that a lot of what determines beauty is the light that shines from within. The two of you shine so brightly, it's breathtaking. Don't forget that.

I try to be silly with you. Em's current favorite punchline is "poopyhead" and I have to admit that sometimes I use it too, just to make her laugh. Joseph, you're a little easier to make laugh - a tickle or a surprised gasp and you're giggling. I love to hear your laughter. It soothes my soul like nothing else could, and I swear it keeps us all young.

Lesson #7 - Laugh. Laugh a LOT, even if it's only almost funny. Even when life is frustrating and overwhelming and you are bone tired, try to laugh about something. Laughter through tears is one of the best medicines. Oh, and contrary to what they tell you in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you can't die laughing. If science one day proves me wrong, don't get mad just think of it as a great way to go.

Speaking of going. Someday I won't be here. Hopefully it's when I'm really, really old and ornery and people are referring to me as "feisty for her age." Know this now. I will never leave you. At the very least I can hang around in your hearts and minds forever, as long as you let me. However, I'd like to think I can keep an eye on you when I'm gone, watching and putting in a good word for you. Rejoicing in your joys, comforting in your hard times. Moving your furniture when you aren't looking. Leaving little presents or tokens. Maybe opening your kitchen cupboards. Who knows? There are people who aren't alive any more that still feel very much with me. I miss them immensely, but I can still think of them and smile.

Lesson #8 - it's ok to be mad, sad, upset and let those emotions show. Then try to think of the good stuff too, it helps, I promise.

Maybe one day you'll have children. God knows how I pray that I will be there to see it, because that would be such a blast. You're going to make mistakes in your parenting and I can guarantee there will be some mistakes I've made that you vow not to repeat. That's ok - most of us try to be better parents than we had, and most of us succeed. I know you will. I'm sure there will be things I have and will screw up. But, oh my gosh, do I love you two. With everything I have and more.

Lesson #9 - start your most important journeys with love. It's not everything, but it's a fantastic start.

Summing up who I am is complicated, and at the same time very simple. I have hopes and dreams, and while some of them are a work in progress (I've yet to write anything publishable, for example) some have come true right before my very eyes. I'm a gemini, and while I don't possess the fickle in the love arena type traits, I am the gemini that wants to try so many things when they grow up that maybe they never quite reach the grown up phase. Traveling, writing and reading are current passions of mine. I want to scrapbook, learn to be a lactation consultant and learn photography. You kids are my greatest success because I wanted you, (dad too, but I haven't been writing this about him), had to work hard to have you, and you're here. Every day I'm more proud of you than the last.

Lesson #10 - If you want to sum up who I am in the smallest of nutshells, you and your dad are my dreams come true. The lights of my life, and the best part of my day. Every day. Follow your dreams, kids. No matter what they are, no matter where they take you. Don't be afraid to go after what you really want.

I read. That's an understatement. Emily once came home from school and asked if we wanted to play "Indiana an a Jones." then asked who wanted to be Indiana and who wanted to be a Jones. I asked how you would be a jones, and before Em could answer, Daddy said "you have to read a lot of books at the same time." Your relatives on the Jones side would be tickled to hear that definition. Because we read, a lot, and often it's several books at once. We can't help it. I'm glad we can't.

Lesson #11 - Read. No matter what your interests are, you can find something in a book to pull you in and fascinate you. You can travel to distant lands, find empathy for someone else, research your own situation, do anything or find anything. Not just magazines or internet, read books. There's something about the excitement of turning to the first page, of picking up where you left off, of closing the final chapter.

Now, about your dad.

Yes, I know this wasn't about him. Consider this a bonus section.

Sometimes it can seem that your dad is so busy having "Stuff to do" that he's never going to sit down. I've never known anyone who works harder than he does, with the efficiency he possesses. The man can clean circles around me and does. Watch the way he does dishes, laundry and cleaning and you'll have a picture of how he is at the office. He takes a task and whips it out every time. I've just never been good at it like that. I get distracted, I stop to do something else, the last load of laundry sits in the dryer until I remember it.


This is the same man who will sit for a third, fourth of fifth bedtime story and tell you the character's name in the book is "hock-tooey" even if it's not because it makes you giggle. And he will live for your giggle. He will also do everything to make sure you have everything you need, and a lot of what you want. We don't put all our stock into horoscopes and astrological signs around here, but let me tell you that your dad is the ultimate crab. He's got a hard outer shell, and seems tough. Don't get me wrong - he's really strong, and he will tackle just about anything. But inside, he is as soft hearted as I am. He loves you as big as I do, and he won't be afraid to show it. That's one of the reasons I picked him. He'll do his best not to let you forget that he loves you immensely, but I'm reminding you here. I've seen him tell you thousands of times how much he loves you, and for every time he told you guys he loves you or he's proud of you, he's told me twice how much you mean to him.

Be patient with him. You get your smiles and giggles from him. And your monkey toes.


6 months old.

My son, how in the world can you possibly be 6 months old? Just yesterday you were my favorite daydream. Can it really be so long since I felt you kicking? Perhaps no, because you still have those crazy arms and legs going all the time. If you are awake, you are moving.

You're the type of baby people have in mind when they ask "is he a good baby?" But generally, if they've seen you they don't ask that question. They take one look and comment on how handsome you are, how alert and what a happy boy you are. I've lost track of how many you've won over with your smile, how many have said "does he even cry?"

You cry, all right, but typically only when really hungry, teething, shortly after shots or when you just need...well, me. I know the ways you need me will change as you grow, but there's an honor in the fact that you need me because I am your mommy. I am so lucky to have you.

You're very healthy now, my son, and I thank God for that on a daily basis. Nobody would ever know by looking at you that there have been so many close calls. You giggle and coo, squeal and make kissing noises. You have us all wrapped around those tiny fingers of yours. One of the delights in my world is hearing your sister tell you she loves you, and say "you're the best baby in the world, Joseph." Those are her words, come up with all her own, and I hope the love between the two of you grows and strengthens just like your bodies and minds.

Speaking of growing. My goodness. You are almost 16 pounds now (15 pounds 12 ounces) and 27 inches long. In the 25th percentile for weight, and just over the 75th for height. You're a handful, to be sure, and it's so neat to see you thriving. Watching you grow is soothing to me, and hopefully by the time you're old enough to notice I'll be much less anxious about how you're doing.

We need to talk about girls for a minute, already, my son. Contrary to what you seem to believe, not all breasts in this world belong to you and you just can't keep rubbing them whenever you get a chance. Yes, I know that for now if you flash your million dollar smile it melts whoever has just said "Hey! Did you see that?!?!" but your luck is eventually going to run out, so you'd best learn now. Your dad and doctor aren't so good about discouraging this behavior, so please listen to your mother on this one. At least you're flirting with the smart and beautiful women. I give you credit for your taste.

I cannot believe you are 6 months old, but you so clearly are. You're rolling and scooting and trying your best to crawl. As a hint, maybe if you move your arms out from under your chest you'll stop doing the superman pose with legs sticking out in the air straight behind you. Don't feel you have to take that advice immediately, though....I'm not ready for you to be completely mobile yet.

You are sweet, loving and lovable. If I could keep you right where you are for a few extra moments, I have to admit I'd do it. You're the only person in the house that allows me to hug and kiss you as much as I want without protest. (eventually Emily and Daddy yell Mercy) You eat it up, and that's special to my mommy heart. You just love to be loved and it's thrilling to watch, whether it's me holding you or someone else who cares about you.

You've inherited my hands, as your sister did, and you're fascinated with them. Always chewing or sucking on your thumb or fingers if not your pacifier. Come to think of it, you're a big fan of thumbs in general and will chomp on the first one that comes your way - daddy, mommy or doctor.It makes us laugh, you little carnivore. I suppose it goes along with the fact that when you were teeny and swaddled, sucking on your pacifier, I once got the giggles because you reminded me of Hannibal. A cute, harmless, adorable Hannibal of course.

You keep brightening our days, kiddo. We just can't wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Saying Goodbye.

Tonight, I held my son as he fell asleep. He's almost 6 months old, teething, and his infancy is passing by too quickly. I listened to my daughter, talking in her sleep, over the monitor in her room and I'm not sure where the time has gone with her either. I thought of their milestones, their births, my pregnancies with them and thought, "never again."

Never again will I hold my hand over my abdomen, mentally counting the days, and wondering if life is growing inside me. Nor will I feel the the strange warmth that was my first indication of a new pregnancy, the butterfly flutter of first movements, the rolling wonder of a baby mid-swim or the jolt of hiccups. My days of waddling with an achy pelvis, wearing clothes meant to make my stomach stand out versus suck in, eyeing the teeniest section of infant clothes and holding my breath while listening for a heartbeat are now in the past. No more waking at night in wonder at the acrobatics inside, patting my tummy and waiting for the return kicks. I enjoyed the excitement of labor (when it was the real deal, not that scary preterm crap) and giving birth, knowing my body played a role in bringing a miracle to light.

My husband and I never hoped for more than two children, and we spent many days wondering if we'd be blessed with even one. When it was confirmed that I was pregnant with our son, I remembering thinking "Really, God? You're going to give me everything I've hoped for? This is really happening?" Even though I'd felt convinced there were supposed to be two, the thought that my dreams were actually coming true just floored me.

Never again will I take my temperature or submit to ultrasounds, tests, medications, treatments and timing in hopes of conceiving a child. There will be no more obsessing over charts, "signs," estimated test dates or my dog-eared copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility. No more getting excited over a temperature rise occurring the day after intercourse or feeling sick to my stomach as the temperature bottoms out and my period inevitably comes. I won't be driving myself crazy with "magical thinking" - convincing myself this is going to be the cycle because it's someone's birthday, anniversary, a holiday or some other date that just must mean this is it. (Though I do have to say my positive test with my daughter came during a blue moon and my son was conceived on Mother's Day, right in between a regular moon and a blue moon)

No more freaking tampons!

A new phase of my life begins next week, and while I will still be me through and through, it feels odd to think that so much will change and none of it will be visible from the outside. I fought horrible periods, infertility, gave birth to two gorgeous children, have had a horrible recovery period and terrible infection and now I'm getting off the ride, never to return. Forget "stop the ride, I want off," I'm blowing up the train.

I'm okay with being done having children. I couldn't ask for more than the family I'm blessed with, truly truly blessed. I do wonder about the two children I lost, and some recent comments from my daughter make me think the time is coming to truly mourn their loss. Still, my family does feel whole.

I'm not going to miss trying to conceive. TRYING is an understatement, and I feel so lucky that my marriage is one that came through that period stronger, not strained.


So much of the last many years has been tied up in the struggles of trying to get pregnant and have a healthy outcome, there is a bit of a "now what" aspect to it. I'm afraid I'm going to have to wait a bit before going to Disneyland.

I know there will be times when I see a baby and feel that pang that many women know so well. I have loved babies my whole life, and in another set of shoes I might have had many. I can honestly say when its all over, even though I'm having surgery, that I will have had as many children as God would give me. Doesn't have to be a big number to fit that bill.

I'm a bit sad, knowing we're done and done in such a permanent fashion. My hubby had a vasectomy in April, and I was surprised when he walked out to find tears filling my eyes. I felt more than fine about taking that step to be done. Making it official was still a little emotional.

Next Thursday, I'll be having surgery and it's now official. There are simply too many issues with my uterus and it's coming out. I'm okay with that, just a little surprised at how all of this has turned out. Many years ago, I told my husband that I felt I would be done with having children at 30. I didn't have any major reasons for that number, I thought, but I guessed part of it was the tendency for women in my family to lose their reproductive organs at an early age.

I turned 30 just a few weeks ago....and here I am....Done.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

All the riches

My Emily.

You wake in the morning with a smile on your face, and make a beeline for Daddy. If he's going to work that day, you sit on the toilet and talks to him while he shaves. Later, when he's getting dressed, you help him guide his belt through the loops on his pants. It's your job and you take it very seriously. If he's not going to work, you greet him at the side of the bed with a book. When you wake from a midday nap, you typically tells the first one of us you see "I was missing you while I was sleeping."

We missed you too.

You speak like a five year old most of the time, and by most of the time I mean when you're awake. It's true- your doctor and school have said your verbal skills are at that level, and most who hear you agree. You keep us on our toes, to be sure. Sometimes at the end of the day I find myself feeling completely "talked out" but once you're in bed and I've had a bit of time to unwind, I find myself reflecting on the conversations of the day ...and yes, missing you while you are sleeping.

You love us with the innocence of a child, with your mind, body, heart and soul. We joke that there are hugs and then the big, "squeeze my guts out" hugs and we're just not sure who likes them better; the you or us. One of your favorite games is the "I love you better than..." and I'm proud to say you love me better than chocolate, butterflies, stars, peas, cheese, m &ms and even *gasp* yogurt. That last one is huge.

A friend once told me while I was pregnant with you that she thought I'd be a good mom because she could picture me enjoying questions about why the sky is blue or where babies come from. I have to admit, we've had a lot of fun talking about why it rains, why we have fireworks on the fourth of July and many conversations about where babies come from. You keep saying someday you're going to have a husband and "this many children" holding up both hands. The thought of you as a mommy one day is almost more than my heart can stand. You breastfeed your baby dolls and hold them with so much care and love, I know you'll be a wonderful mother someday.

The days of wondering if I'd I'd ever have a child are still fresh in my memory, but here you are- the one who made me Mommy. I'll never forget the day I bought the little pink dress with embroidered roses and matching white bonnet. I was still pregnant, and I cried at the thought of the little girl who would one day wear the outfit. We didn't find out were having a girl until the moment you were born and your Daddy said to me "we have a daughter." Those four words changed my life in was I cannot measure.

You've had a love of all things pink, princess, butterfly, fairy, sparkly and downright girly from the very beginning. I remember wondering how I would teach a girl about femininty, but I have to be honest and admit that you are teaching me. You're three and sometimes says "Mom, I think it's time for us to get our nails painted again." Of course, you're completely correct. And, if sometimes you throw in some truck driver burps or "Did you hear me fart, dad" or end your favorite jokes with the punchline "poopyhead" well, that's ok too.

Smart, funny, beautiful and charming. I'm completely unbiased. You have changed so fast, but those things stay the same. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not intensely proud of you. There are moments when how awesome you are hits me like a wave. We are so lucky to have you. I hope you never forget that we feel this way.

I have had so much fun watching you change from a baby into this amazing little girl, and I know seeing you develop into a preteen, teen and woman will be amazing as well. No matter how old you are, you'll still be my baby and so I'm going to take advantage of the times you ask me to crawl in bed with you even if you are so active it feels like sleeping on a boat.

I love you, love you, love you little girl.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who's my bitch now?

There are some who would call me a control freak. When I hear that term, it brings to mind a person who seeks control merely for the reason of wanting it. No logic, no exceptions, just control, control, control. That's not me. Or then again is a control freak someone who wants it but justifies it by listing multiple reasons aka excuses for wanting control?

I choose to believe I have my reasons.

I like to be in control of my mind and body. That means I've not done drugs and I drink only in moderation. Inhibitions are there for a reason. There's a reason why my sober, conscious mind keeps me clothed and out of harm's way.

I remember meeting with my doula to talk about the birth and at the end of the meeting she asked if there was anything else she should know about me. My husband said "She doesn't like to be out of control of her own body." As if this was a weird thing. Maybe it isn't so common, I don't know, but reflecting on my deliveries with both kids I can understand why her eyebrows were raised after that statement. Labor and delivery are in many ways a big lesson on what you can and can't control. Contractions are definitely your body's way of saying "who's my bitch, now?" You're pushing with or without your conscious consent.

I'm going to have surgery on the 24th, and I've never felt so out of control in my life. I don't know what's wrong with my body, though I can now add a raging UTI/kidney infection to the mix. What doesn't kill me, blah blah, blah.

I'm struggling with the concept that I won't know what they had to do during my surgery until it is over. I know for sure they are doing a laparoscopy to look around at my organs. I know they will do hysteroscopy to look inside my uterus. What I don't know is whether I'm *only* having a D &C or if it will be an ablation, or if I will wake up missing my uterus. I've consented to any and all of the above, but I know only the minimum of what they will do.

I'm churning through these lists of things to do before my surgery - stuff for our business, our home, our kids. So many things to prepare when all I really want to do is sit on the couch and hold my children. Because there is this part of me that is beyond scared. I'm freaking terrified. Terrified, and nobody around me seems to get that.

Before my first surgery, there was a moment in the waiting room with my sister and husband. I was trying to explain that I was nervous, and among other things I hated that I would be in such a vulnerable position and completely unconscious at the same time. It wasn't about trust or lack of trust, wasn't about worrying that something inappropriate would happen - just that I was about to be naked from the waist down, spread eagle in a room full of strangers and asleep. I don't think it's illogical to be uncomfortable with that. My husband and sister started joking about it, trying to lighten the mood, and saying that it didn't matter because I wouldn't be awake for any of it. MY POINT EXACTLY and they totally missed it. It wasn't until I started crying and told them they weren't helping that they grasped just how serious I was.

Now I'm doing it all over again, but the stakes are higher, the anesthesia longer, the potential for organ removal and the fear that I just really don't know what they're going to find in there. Maybe my son left his Red Hot Chili Peppers poster in his womb, I don't know....but I'm worried and no amount of trying to think positive is changing that.

Before I had kids, I didn't worry about what would happen if something happened to me. Now it matters. I mean, yes, my husband would likely miss me a bit. ;) But the thought of missing out on life with my family is mortifiying. I can't control whether or not I wake up from this, what they might find while they're in there, and if I could I'd cancel the surgery RIGHT NOW.

The good news is I'm a little bit over the whole naked in a room full of strangers thing. The bad news is that there is still the anesthetic portion of the evening that has me worried. And, it's not like I'm going in knowing my uterus is coming out. That would be easier for me than wondering. But, here I am. I don't know if my recovery will involve a hospital stay, don't know if I'll have to be away from my babies. I just don't know, and I don't get to be the one to decide.

I hate how awful I feel physically, how tired I feel mentally and I hate that so much is weighting on my mind that I am not even being the mom I want to be because I'm stressed. What if my daughter's lasting memory of me is "Not now, I've got to get this done?:

This is a jumbled, chaotic mess of a post and I'd try to fix it but the fact is it's at least honest even if it isn't good.

If one more person comments on how surprised they are that I haven't lost it, I will probably die from laughter. I'm not ok. I haven't been ok for a while...I'm just treading water with the hope that eventually I will be. Right now, I am not giving my all, my most, or even my best to anything and I hate that. My son is almost 6 months old, and I feel so angry, so robbed, so very very frustrated. He's never seen the best of me, and my daughter doesn't see it as much as she should.

I'd take even the illusion of control back, if I could have it.