Life – Pain and Joy and Fear

Pill 4:13

Pill 4:13

Life moves at various paces at different times.

I can remember certain events in my life that seemed to take forever. Felt as if time stood still. The feeling of hopelessness and despair were so alive in those times, I was sure I just wanted to close my eyes, slip into unconsciousness, and never wake up. It was those times, many as a child, a few during my early adult years, and seldom these days; that fear controlled me.

Fear.

It was always and is still always fear that brings the long, never-ending hours into my life. There were horrors in my life as a child, that no child should ever endure, though I know I’m not the only who has nor will I be the last.

In my early adult life, the horrors changed. It was not my life I feared for, but that of my child, and later on, my children. Before I had my first child, a daughter, I had two miscarriages.

Pregnancy. For me, it was a time of constant pain. From the time of conception, I was in pain, feeling my insides getting stretched and pulled. The pain so intense, I would double over unable to move. The first time I felt this, I was scared. I had been feeling strange for a couple of days, and for some reason, I decided to take a home pregnancy test. Imagine my shock when it was positive. I was so happy and scared and confused.

Confused because I was in so much pain. I had always heard how being pregnant was this wonderful thing. This pain I was feeling, was NOT wonderful. Aside from the pain, I really was happy. I told my boyfriend and we told my parents and we were all so happy. My mother had started looking at baby clothes. It was such a joyous time, they were going to finally be grandparents and I was going to a mother.

Unfortunately, it was a short lived happiness. A week later, I had a miscarriage. The feeling of losing a baby is unlike anything I can express. It was strange because I couldn’t really mourn. How do I? There was no body. I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. It was almost like a sick joke. But, life being what it is, it went on.

A couple of months go by and I have those same pains again. I remember walking into my aunt’s apartment and reaching the door when the pain was so intense, I had to hold on to the door frame. I knew, right then and there, I was pregnant.

Fear.

My first response was just fear. I took a test in the morning, and sure enough, it was positive. That afternoon, I told my boyfriend. That evening… It started again. I was bleeding. Memories of sitting in the waiting room in pain are still vivid. Waiting for them to call me into the examination room, and then I told him to call my folks.

That pain.

The pain was unlike anything I had felt before. I had to pee so I went into the restroom and had a feeling like a large blood clot (women, you know what I mean). When I looked in the toilet, there was a clot but something more. Once the doctor came in, I told her of the incident in the restroom. The look on her face said it all.

Tears began to stream down my face. Lying on the examination table, in pain with my mother at my side, time stood still. The doctor was talking, my mother was talking, and all I could hear was the sounds the teachers made in the Peanuts cartoons. Vaguely I heard the doctor say, I was going to be admitted and have a D&C performed.

Waking up from the procedure, I remember seeing my boyfriend sitting in a chair next to the bed. He hadn’t gone home. His clothes were rumpled and his face was filled with worry. Knowing the night was going to be a long one for him, I told him to go home and come back in the morning. He refused. It was so touching, I just cried some more.

Falling asleep, I had no idea this would be the turning point in our relationship. The loss of not only one unborn child, but two, was too much. Life became too much for me. What was it all for if just to have such unbearable pain, and have no child to show for it?

Despair.

Life was worthless. I would spend any time I had alone thinking of how I didn’t want to be alive. Thoughts of how to end my life began to formulate in my mind. My mother knew what I felt. She was smart enough to know that I could not be left alone for any long periods. She called a friend of mine to come spend the day with me; a friend that was and is unlike any other. She was working when my mother called her, but she rushed to my side anyway. She arrived with here then “friend” now husband, and spent the entire day with me, making me laugh and reminding me of what life was like. Life was about pain and suffering, and loving and caring, and about living; living after that pain and suffering, and looking forward again to the loving and caring. I owe her and my mother my life.

My boyfriend and I didn’t stay together long after that. He changed. I suppose I did too, but he turned to drinking and was not a good drunk. He actually moved to another state, where we tried to keep a long distance relationship going, but we both knew it was for the best. I ended up dating a friend I had known for a few years.

Life is funny. My friend was always waiting, but once he and I got together, he changed too. I’m a sucker for someone to treat me like garbage. (But that story is for another blog.) We had started talking of marriage when I found out I was pregnant.

FEAR

Pregnant. Again. The fear of another miscarriage came rushing back to me with a force like I had never known. This time, I wasn’t taking any chances. I made a doctor’s appointment the next day. And let me tell you, that visit changed my life.

Nerves were wearing me thin, but I made it to the doctor’s appointment. After all the paper work, he called me into his office to have a face to face talk. It was nice to meet him in that atmosphere, instead of him between my legs first. Being a girl sucks a lot of the time, and that is one of the reasons. Once he learned of my two previous miscarriages, he ran some test and scheduled a vaginal ultrasound. Not fun. He ordered some prenatal vitamins and for me to take one baby aspirin a day.

It was that one baby aspirin a day that actually changed my life. Taking that aspirin thinned my blood, and apparently my blood clotting was what was causing me to have the miscarriages. The way it was explained to me, I was starving my baby. I was sad to hear that my body had actually done that, but so excited to know that I could carry a baby to full term!

Of course, I was stilled scared. I wouldn’t allow anyone to buy anything for the baby, because of bad luck. My body was doing such crazy things. I couldn’t keep anything down, and instead of gaining weight I lost over 30 lbs. I was very scared I was still going to loss this baby. Needless to say, at six months, which was Christmas, everyone went crazy. Every single gift was for the baby. We didn’t know the baby’s gender yet, but we were hoping for a girl.

Then in the first weeks of March, a horrible cold/flu virus hit the town. Everyone we know sick. My mother’s boss had planned a baby shower for me, and because of the virus, no one was able to attend. The weather had been hazy and misty and cold. Personally, I like that weather, but when you are pregnant and people are sick, I should have been home. Needless to say, I got sick and couldn’t eat anything.

With a high fever of 102 I believe, her heart rate going down, the doctors made the decision… She needed to come out and now!

The delivery was insane, and the aftermath as well, but again, it’s a long story I will share soon. Let’s just say, there was much pain and suffering. So much pain.

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Post Teaser

I started writing about the experiences I had to deal with as I was pregnant. Then I had to stop. It has been so long since I’ve thought about the pregnancies that I wanted to give the time they needed for me to process how I felt and still feel.

I have been pregnant four times. I’ve had two miscarriages and two live births, a beautiful girl and a wonderful boy. Life has been difficult at times, but it has also been very fulfilling.

Hopelessness, despair, and fear. As I started to write these stories down, I remembered other aspects. Some parts of the story that I had forgotten until I began to write them down.

Those stories will be forth coming, because I feel I do need to share them. Though certain people may need to read them, I doubt they will, but perhaps they can help someone reading my blog.

This one will be a shorty, but I wanted to post a teaser…

Confused because I was in so much pain. I had always heard how being pregnant was this wonderful thing. This pain I was feeling, was NOT wonderful. Aside from the pain, I really was happy. I told my boyfriend and we told my parents and we were all so happy. My mother had started looking at baby clothes. It was such a joyous time, they were going to finally be grandparents and I was going to a mother.

Unfortunately, it was a short lived happiness. A week later, I had a miscarriage. The feeling of losing a baby is unlike anything I can express. It was strange because I couldn’t really mourn. How do I? There was no body. I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. It was almost like a sick joke. But, life being what it is, it went on.”

Whenever I think of my children, I think about a song that always reminds me of how I felt when I found out about them.

Creed – With Arms Wide Open

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

Well I don’t know if I’m ready
To be the man I have to be
I’ll take a breath, I’ll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we’ve created life

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I’ll show you love
I’ll show you everything

With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I’ll show you everything, oh yeah
With arms wide open, wide open

If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he’s not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I’ll show you love
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

I’ll show you everything, oh yeah
With arms wide open, wide open

Children P2 – Joy

Joy

What is that?

What is the actual definition of ‘joy’?

Well let’s Google it…

Defined on Google

Definition on Google

I have indeed felt ‘joy’. As a mother, two of the most joyous (joy) days of my life would be the births of my children. I was not only blessed with one child, but two; the best of both worlds.

My daughter came first. That was interesting. I never knew a person could lose weight while pregnant. I did. I lost 30 lbs. I was because I was sick the entire time. That pregnancy went by with only one true memorable time at Christmas, but I’ll save that story for another time. This is not my daughter’s birth story.

This is the story of my son.

Today, he is eight years old. He is about four and a half feet tall and has a stocky build. To look at him, he is perfectly healthy.

My son was a planned pregnancy and not everyone in my family was happy about that. (refer to previous post ‘Children’).

I was.

I wanted a boy and when the doctor told me I was having a boy – I was overjoyed (joy).

My pregnancy with him was not as painful as with my daughter, but it was still painful. I was at least able to eat this time. I had scheduled a doctor’s appointment the next day after taking a home pregnancy test. I was concerned because prior to my daughter, I had experienced two miscarriages. These miscarriages took a toll on me mentally, physically, and spiritually, but that is another post.

One memorable event which occurred during a doctor’s visit in January was the doctor telling me I was due in June. I informed him that a due date in June was impossible because that would put conception in the month of October and my husband was away working during that month.

His response… “What you do is none of my business,” and went to turn around and continue on his way.

I just about lost my mind. Did he actually just ‘assume’ I had cheated on my husband? To my face?! Oh NO HE DID NOT!

“You had better look again,” I demanded. I remember my mother standing there and the look on her face – priceless. I’m happy my husband wasn’t there. He would have quickly jumped on the bandwagon of my cheating. He was like that. (More on him in later posts.)

“Um, I’m sorry,” the doctor says while his face is becoming red after talking to a nurse. “It appears I was looking at the wrong chart.”

“Oh,” I respond, “I should say so.”

“Yes it appears we have two patients with the same name. Your middle initial is E?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, well you are due…,” he stops to make calculations and continues, “Yes, you are due in September.”

“Yes I am,” and give him the dirtiest look. It was amazing how he was so flippant and cold. I must say, I was spoiled by my doctor in Tennessee when I had my daughter. Needless to say, he wasn’t as cold to me after that.

September was hurricane season and Rita was just close enough to cause problems. The hospital and doctor I would see was almost an hour away, and my folks were concerned I go into labor during a hurricane; something about storms causing women to go into labor. As a precaution, my folks, daughter, and I decided to stay close to the hospital.

We checked into a hotel across the street from the hospital on Friday evening. I had been experiencing lower back pain and was unable to sleep that first night. The weather wasn’t too bad, and I was able to go into the pool for a bit. The water helps tremendously while pregnant. Saturday went by and again, that night was not too comfortable. Sunday rolled around and we decided to go home. The lower back pain would not go away, so we decided since we were next to the hospital, we should just get a checkup. I was scheduled for a C-section the following week.

What a surprise to find out I was in labor. Because of my previous C-section, and the way the previous doctor and made the incision, I couldn’t have my son naturally. My son was on his way.

Another C-section was about to begin, but first I need an epidural. With my daughter it was so fast, there wasn’t any time to be afraid. This time there was. It took about 30 minutes (ok maybe less, or maybe more) to get the epidural. One of my legs would keep going numb. Finally, he just pushed through. I’m blessed he was able to do so. After the surgery, I had a huge knot where he tried so many times, and a large area that was bleeding and would soon scab over. Not a pretty sight.

Finally my son was here! He was perfect.

Fast forward four years.

My son began to have bad headaches. So bad, that he would just lie on the couch and do nothing. This is unusual for a four year old boy. He would also vomit during these spells. Our family doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with him, so they scheduled an MRI. This was around December 20th.

Waiting is so hard.

We called the doctor’s office, and they said there wasn’t any news and soon everything was closed for the Christmas holidays. It was a very tough Christmas not knowing what or if anything was wrong with my son.

After Christmas, when the doctor was back in the office, we were called to go in. This was bad. I knew it was, because if everything had been alright the nurse would have said so on the phone.

The next day, my mother, my daughter, my son, and I go to the doctor’s office.

We wait in the waiting room.

We wait in the examining room.

The doctor walks in and has somber look. Funny, I don’t remember much except when I hear Arnold-Chiari Malformation (ACM). We were told he had Type II, and he would need to see a neurosurgeon and/or a neurologist. Another thing we were told was NOT to Google it.

I remember asking why the results took so long. They results had actually returned the next day or so, but were not given to us because the doctor did not want to ruin our Christmas. I almost screamed. Our Christmas was spent wondering on what was wrong with my son. It was worse not knowing.

This is what I basically found…

Type 2 – The most common of all Chiari malformations, type 2 is caused by part of the back of the brain shifting downward through the bottom of the skull.

  • Type 2 Chiari malformations are typically seen in infants who are born with spina bifida, a neurological condition that causes a portion of the spinal cord and the surrounding structures to develop outside, instead of inside, the body.
  • Type 2 Chiari malformations can also be associated with hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is an overproduction or lack of absorption of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) that is found inside of the ventricles (fluid-filled areas) inside of the brain. The increased fluid causes the pressure inside of the head to increase and the skull bones to expand to a larger-than-normal appearance.

*Reference John Hopkins*

Seriously?  That was the first thing I did. And I tell you what, I was scared. Oh how I was scared!

We scheduled the visit with the neurosurgeon at children’s hospital. How fortunate we were that the doctor was amazing! He had such a way with my son. Still does.

He was not happy with the diagnosis of my son. My son did have ACM, but not Type II. My son had Type I.

My son is a trooper. He has to have an MRI every six months. He is not a complainer when it comes to his headaches or a crier when he is vomiting. He just deals with it and that’s it.

There are many things that are associated with ACM. I found a great website that offers great information for parents and helps with children in school, Conquer Chiari. It is important to educate the school on his ACM and keep them informed.

I have been truly blessed with my children and I thank God every chance I can for them.

~Truly blessed ~ DA