Saturday, June 19, 2010

A whole other world

I've often said, and am a firm believer that, until you have personally experienced something you may never truly know the real emotions behind it. And you certainly share in the growth that comes from it.

Before this pregnancy, I had two beautiful and healthy boys. Both were born a few weeks early but extremely healthy. My second pregnancy was considered high risk and there were meds involved at the beginning, restrictions in place, and modified bed rest from 34 weeks until I had him at 37.5 weeks. But still a pretty good pregnancy.

As a mother, your worst fear is that something will happen to your child. That extends beyond pregnancy and birth. And it is a true and legitimate fear. The thought is always in your head that your children are gifts and that they can be taken from you for any reason at any time. That's' why we do everything in our power to protect and care for our children. It's why we live and breathe from the moment they come to us.

And while we are aware of this gift and that others are not so lucky to experience it, we really can't truly grasp the sacrifice that some families make in their effort to live this dream of family. Sure, we are all aware that some women get put on bed rest. That some babies are born premature. That some babies don't make it past birth or are given a death sentence before they are ever born due to development or genetic issues. And it registers to us as sad. But our lives go on.

With this pregnancy I walked through a door. I have been placed in a classroom with other parents who are learning some major life lessons. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not appreciative that God did not take my baby at 13 weeks when we were rushed to the ER bleeding profusely. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't realize that we are one day closer to a healthy baby- but that it's not a given until he is here. And there most certainly isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of all the other mommies and families who are making the same sacrifices my family has had to make.

During this process I have joined a community of women who have been through the things I have been through (and more) and have felt the things I have felt (and worse). I read their updates and their blogs. I cry for joy when they make it to term and deliver their healthy babies! And I weep when one of them looses their beloved child. To see pictures of these tiny miracles for the time they are here, and to hear their stories is earth shattering. I can't imagine what it would be like, or the kind of strength it would require, to have your child for just a few short days or hours. I hope I never know. I hope I never find out how you come back from that and become normal again. I pray that my baby makes it out healthy and joins our family just like every one of us plans.

These women and their families exhibit a type of strength that few will ever know. They are my heroes. Every woman who has literally put their life on hold to sit and create a life, who has lost their job, not been able to care for the children she already has, had to rely on other people to care for her, laid in bed each morning scared to move until she felt her baby kick, and lastly anyone who has had to hold their child in their last moments. It's a whole other world that few will ever enter and few can relate to. I keep each of my fellow bed rest mommies and any NICU mommies in my prayers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

So long... but for how long?!

So the other day my husband and I took a big parenting step. We sent our oldest son off on a plane to spend an indefinite amount of time in California with family this summer. Let's face it. Things haven't been fun around here lately with mom on bed rest. Our oldest son has had to step up and take on responsibilities that most kids don't have to. Additionally he is still learning to deal with the loss of his grandpa in January. It's been a heavy year for all of us. And after an incident at school where he mouthed off to a teacher & got suspended, we realized that he was falling between the cracks with everything that was going on. He needed time to make sense of everything that has happened and could still happen. He also needed to be a kid. And with my inability to leave the house coupled up with our dire financial situation, his summer was looking bleak.

But my family in California (Mom and 2 sisters plus their family) stepped up and offered to take him in. We bought him a one way ticket and told him it was up to him to decide when he wanted to come back. Be it in a week or a month. He was nervous about leaving us alone for the first time so he wasn't sure how long he wanted to be gone. We arranged for him to still have chores while staying with my mom and to help my sister and her family get ready for their move to Washington at the end of July. So he still had to pitch in as he is a guest in their homes. But my family is also quite excited to have him so they are planning lots of fun things like trips to Alcatraz, Santa Cruz, water parks, etc. Hopefully it will be a good balance of work and play!

It's so bitter sweet not to have him here this summer. But in my current state I can't be the mom he needs and I can't give him the summer he wants or deserves. His summer should be more than cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, and taking care of his bed ridden mom. And being kooked up in the house with his brother was starting to drive them to fight. Yes. 11 years apart in age and they fight!

So while I already miss him terribly, I am so glad we took that step and sent him away. My job right now is to keep our new little one in my belly as long as possible and the stress that this summer was going to bring would have been too much. He will have a summer filled with memories with a part of his family he doesn't get to see too often. He will have so much to tell us and he is sure that he wants to be back by the time we have the baby. It's a good thing.... right?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Coming back from the other side

I know it's been a while since I've posted. I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. As of May 26th my FMLA expired and my employer could no longer hold the job I have been at for 8 years because I am still on bed rest. Since God decided to hijack my life this year and teach me LOTS of lessons, I have never felt so out of control. Control is what I do. I had my first child at 19 and had to grow up and be in control since then. And I've done it well I must say. But I think God saw me doing it a little too well. I don't think I was giving Him the control He needs to properly direct me. But I didn't realize it. I thought we had always had a great balance.

But then March 2nd happened and the rug was pulled out from under me. Everything that was typically within my control, right down to carrying my baby, was now a giant question mark. This uncertainty made me question everything and sent me spiraling into a depression the likes of which I have never experienced. Although I would laugh when friends came over and enjoy their company, the joy that I have always felt inside was gone. There was too much bad happening. I couldn't control if my baby lived or died. I couldn't be a mother to my 2 beautiful boys who were already here. I couldn't provide for my family by working as I always had. I didn't know if we would have money for our mortgage, health insurance, or food in our pantry. I couldn't do the basics like cook dinner, clean the house, grocery shop, or even change a diaper. I couldn't even let myself get closely attached to my unborn baby for fear that he too would be taken away from me. I was stripped of the things that made me- me. I would just cry in bed. Especially the first month, I was only allowed out of bed to shower or use the restroom. If I wanted a glass of water I had to rely on my husband to get it. If I needed my knitting from the bin on the side of my bed, once again I had to call someone in to get it. When I was say I was stripped- I was stripped!

But as time has gone on and I have allowed the Lord to take over the things I wasn't able to control, we have acclimated. We have begun to check things off the list and adjust to our new "normal". But the thought of being unemployed still loomed over me. I mean, let's be real. In this economy unemployed isn't exactly a dream. I don't qualify for unemployment as I am not physically able to work. I don't qualify for disability as you need to be disabled for a year or more and by the time I am able to return to work I will be just a few months shy of that goal. And We don't qualify for state income help because my husband makes $100.00 too much. But in light of all this, God is taking care of us in amazing ways.

Yet despite this, I was full of anxiety as May 26th approached. Our OB appointment that would determine my fate was literally May 26th as well! Talk about cutting it close! And it was determined that I would stay on bed rest due to the Placenta Previa. So I contacted my employer and just like that, I was unemployed. I held my breath waiting for the overwhelming depression to kick in. And I held it, and held it, and held it. And as I waited for the other shoe to drop, for the depression to take over.... the funniest thing happened. I started to feel the joy again. I started to feel HAPPY again. I think that having this big "maybe" hanging over my head was just another source of anxiety and depression and that once it was lifted, once the question was answered, it allowed me to be me again. We knew what direction our lives would take for the first time in 3 months. Not that it's the one we would have preferred but the uncertainty was crushing to me.

And as Little Baby Simon grows each week and we get closer to the goal of a healthy baby (our goal is 36 weeks- reg pregnancy is 40 weeks) the more I can let myself love him and be excited for his arrival. I love watching him move around in my belly and I can daydream about what he will look like and how great it will be to finally hold him. In many ways at this point, he feels like he's already here. Our lives have revolved around him for the last 3.5 months and will continue to do so until he is healthy and home. My bed rest has been lightened in the sense that I can alternate bed and sofa, get up and get myself a cup of tea, and Josh and I even cook together 1-2 times a week. He pulls a chair into the kitchen and we work together. We are finding ways to enjoy our new normal. Even the kids are adjusting. Tieren has stepped up and is learning to be a more active participant in the day to day chores around the house which means I don't always need "sitters" to help me with the kids when Josh is at work. And Kaiden and I are finding things we can safely do together. Lots of art projects and recently we found that balloons make a great way for me to play catch with him in the house from bed or the sofa! I can be more of a mom! And that has given pieces of me back to myself!

I feel like I am coming back from the other side. I still worry about post pardum depression. I really want to enjoy little man when he comes home. But I am learning that I can't control that and we will just cross that bridge when we get to it. For now I need to focus on keeping this baby for the next 13.5 weeks. I would really like to be pregnant at my baby shower! Tieren was so early he came to his shower and I don't want a repeat! I am learning to let go and let God. There is a purpose for this little surprise baby and that purpose must be great!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm just gonna throw a fit!

Don't roll your eyes yet! It's not what you think! This morning my 3 year old woke up on the WRONG side of the bed. You know it. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed too. BUT as an adult we can't indulge in our impulse to let every emotion we are feeling just fly. So Kaiden wakes up and comes in our room. He wants dad. But dad is taking our oldest to school. Crap. I let Kaiden know that dad will be home in a minute to which his response is "NO! Dad's downstairs!"
"No. Dad's taking Tieren to school. Do you want to call him?" (This has worked in the past to solving the case of the missing daddy)
"No. He's downstairs!"
So I call dad. I get him on speaker phone so Kaiden can hear him. Dad says "Hey little dude! I'm almost home I just had to take Tieren to school".
"NO! You're downstairs!" He's screaming now. Great.
"No little dude, I'm in the car but I'll be home in just a minute".
Total disbelief and the boy stomps out of the room to wait for dad at the top of the stairs. When dad arrives home he finds a sulking toddler as his welcome. But now he's home so things should be right with the world again- right?! Nope. Wrong side of the bed. Dad offers to get our boy into a shower and chaos ensues! Screaming and crying and we aren't even sure why! What's gone wrong? What did we do? Finally, half way through the shower, Kaiden finds something to distract him from his rant. A toy or something and the world is tilted back onto it's axis.

But as I lay in bed trying to get back to sleep for a bit, I can't help but wonder what it would be like if I just let every emotion fly. I mean, no wonder kids are so happy all the time! They love the most unconditional love. They laugh the most joyous laughs. They smile the biggest smiles. Could it be because they get it all out? That when they are sad or scared or irritable they don't feel the need to bottle it for other people's sakes. They just let it rip- get it off their chest and move on. It's really quite brilliant.

But would it work in the real world? If that was the case, there would be many people walking around without eyeballs. When I waited tables years ago, the way I dealt with my anger at rude customers was to smile while they insulted my intelligence, all the while picturing my pen going straight into their eye socket. As a Property Manager the opportunity to end up in prison for loosing your cool would be a daily occurrence. Alright, maybe it's a good thing we keep it in check. But watching our little ones navigate their range of emotions is interesting and educational none the less!