Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lives, Legacy and memories.....

Hello dear readers, it has been a long while since I have had the time and mental fortitude to write a new blog post. Please forgive me for not finishing The Story of Boy~ the rest of the story will come....this I promise you......but today my heart needs to talk about a different subject: Lives, Legacy and Memories.

Gentle readers~ it is with deep and soul crushing pain that I was told on December 21 that my eldest sister had died. Details were sketchy and confirmation would not come for nearly 24 hours. But just like THAT she was dead, gone. My sister was never really able to escape the tragedies of our childhood.....the divorce of our parents....the mental and physical illnesses our mother suffered, the unspeakable horror of abuse at the hands of our step mother, my own mother's parade of abusive is a LOT to overcome. Never EVER have I, or will I, take for granted the fact that I *seemed* to have been able to make a better life for myself and my four living children. It is a battle with which I still struggle~ tho I have made better choices in my later years~ I *still* know that the demons of the past are there.....lurking and waiting.....and at times like these I feel like I am dancing close to the black hole of tragedy that is our family. I truly feel with every fiber of my being that if I dance too close to the darkness I will be sucked in and swallowed whole.

My mother was just 37 years old when she died......I was 14, my baby sister 11, my brother 16 and my eldest sister 18. She had a heart attack~ herculean efforts were made to save her~ but her heart just would not recover and beat normally~ less than 15 hours after she spoke her last words to me~ we, my siblings and I, agreed that enough was enough....when for the 50th time her heart rate went in to an unsurvivable rhythm~ we agreed that it was torture to keep shocking her back to life. My 5th stepfather did very little *right* by my mother or us....but I must give him props and credit him with allowing the 5 of us to talk about what was happening and decide together what our mother would have wanted~ and honor those wishes. As her heart failed for that 50th time~ we made a circle around her hospital bed~ and we hugged and laid hands on her~ and we watched as the monitors all flat lined....and a caring nurse turned off the alarms~ but you could still see~ her heart had stopped for the final time, the ventilator was turned off and she slipped away~ peacefully and painlessly.... especially in consideration of the torture of the last 15 hours~ trying to save her. We would all agree later that she did not die in that hospital room~ she died in her bedroom~ moments after she told me she had a terrible headache and she asked me to rub her back......when I realized she was not breathing ~ the herculean efforts began~ but she was already gone.....

When the call came about my sister~we all believed that she had suffered the same fate~~ because she was named after our mother, she lived her life almost identically to how mother did, she suffered glaringly identical  medical problems~ at 45 my sister had already suffered a heart attack....but she had survived....she had nearly bled to death with a bleeding ulcer~ but she survived that too....she had high blood pressure~ her 23 year old son (after struggling for years to escape) hung himself 3 years ago ~~ miraculously she survived that too~~ she worked too hard~ smoked too much~ drank WAY too much coffee~ and she did not take care of herself. She was also married to a very abusive monster of a man who mistreated her and her children terribly....identical in almost every way to my mother's life. Don't get me wrong~ many times various people (myself included) tried to help her try to escape this man, the life, this fate..........and she would leave him for a time~~ and she enrolled in school~~ but she *always* went back.

Ironically~ she DID leave him three months ago....and she had stayed away.....and she was trying to sort out her life.......and I am told she was happier than she had been in years~ I pray this is true.

We have been told that she did not suffer a heart attack~~ she suffered a pulmonary aneurysm that ruptured and she drowned in her own blood~ this brought me terrible images of her choking~ struggling to breathe~ before succumbing to the relief of death. I pray this is not how it actually happened.

In the days that have a followed~ details of her final months and days have trickled in. Details of the life that she and her children lived. Details of the horrific sexual abuse the monster subjected her and her daughters to. Details I would rather have never known. Details that I am sure will be the source of nightmares for me in the future.

I have been asked to try to step in and take her children away from the monster. I am not sure I have the mental fortitude to do that~ especially given their ages and the trauma that such a fight would inflict on my OWN small children just 7 and 4. I am not sure I can invite the devil himself into my home~ I am not sure if I would be any help at all. I am sure that such a fight would take me closer to the black hole than I have been since I escaped my OWN abusive relationship with a man nearly 20 years ago.........I am sure such a fight would devastate me ~ hearing from her daughter first hand what the monster did to her~ I don't think I can survive that.

My brother (who is visiting me for Christmas~ he came just 1 day before we heard the news) wants to attend her funeral......I don't think I even have the mental fortitude to do THAT. You see~ that family, MY biological family operates on a level of dysfunction such as I have spent a lifetime avoiding. And EVERY SINGLE interaction with them is a test of my strength and my sanity.

When my nephew hung himself~ I raced to my sister's side~ and there I stayed for 10 long days~ and I did as much as I could to help her through the grueling task of burying her child.....financially, physically and emotionally. And in the months that followed I tried to help her get away from the monster~ and she did~ she was in a safe house~ he did not know where she was~ she had people from her church helping her out (the very same people who paid for EVERYTHING related to my nephew's funeral that I could not)......and she lasted 3 weeks......and she took the children and she called the monster and she went back.....for the thousandth fucking time: SHE WENT BACK. I washed my hands of it then (not of her~ I still had contact with her) but I stopped sending her money, I stopped paying her cell phone bill, I stopped listening to her complaint's of how bad her life was. And three months ago when the call came late in the night from her asking if she "showed up on my doorstep" would I let her and her children stay with me ~~it broke my heart~ but I had to say no.

My first priority belongs to MY OWN FAMILY~ my children, my husband and me. None of my children have ever experienced the terror and torture of being physically or sexually abused God willing THEY NEVER WILL~~~~ and  for this reason and a thousand others I can NOT willingly expose them to that way of life.

My sister lived and died very much the way our mother did. Only in death did they escape the trauma and torture (some of it self inflicted) that was their way of life.

I have always chosen to try to live my life differently. And I don't always do it perfectly. I try very hard to always try to be the very best version of myself. I learned LONG ago that their are many dangers I am just NOT willing to subject myself or my family to~ it is self preservation, it is in honor of my mother and my sister that I try to learn from their tragedies.

It is my hope that my children will have different lives. That my legacy will be one of not only surviving but thriving even when life is cruel and unfair. That my children's memories will be filled with hope, and love and peace. It is the best I can do with what I have.

Love and light~ Ginger

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Story of A Boy Part 9: A Leap of Faith

The story of a boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 9: A Leap of Faith

This is the 9th in the series. 

Before I begin; let me say that this post will most likely not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1-8 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.

William’s due date came and went……and it seemed to me that I was the only one that noticed. I was very, very, very sad……actually about mid-October I decided that I could no longer crawl out of the rabbit hole alone. I called the hotline that the hospital had given me~~ and digging out all of the hospital paperwork was like ripping my heart open all over again……I was reminded that I HATED the paperwork~ because all of the discharge instructions were written AS IF I WERE STILL PREGNANT.

At the time I was discharged I was somewhat numb and I remember being hurt and angry about it…and I remembered that it hurt me deeply…. and I remember that I had thought at the time that I should write a letter to the hospital and strongly encourage that they should have discharge paperwork specifically for mother’s whose children did not make it. Reading “please go to the hospital if you think your water has broken or if you have a fever or if you have contractions….blah blah blah”  was SO VERY VERY VERY painful…..and overwhelmingly sad. Well, I never did write that letter. It was just too much……it has taken me 5 years to be able to write THIS. I just didn’t have the emotional energy to take on the hospital.

Anyway~ I had already BEEN attending Empty Arms meetings~ but they were only once a month….and that was not often enough~ I needed to be able to talk about my feelings and cry and act a fool and have someone **really** listen. So I started working with a therapist and for the first time in my life I was put on antidepressants. Both of which helped immensely. The cloud of everyday crying and every night crying myself to sleep ever so gradually lifted. Don’t get me wrong: I still thought about William every single day…….and there were plenty of days that someTHING~ a memory, a thought, a hallmark commercial~~ would put me into a tailspin and I felt like I was going to be strangled to death with the grief…….but I was no longer paralyzed daily with grief. Life has a way of not allowing you to stay there for too long. I returned to my very full time job… DS at home was two and a ball of energy and love~ and he needed his mommy~ and I **did** the very best I could to be the best mommy I could during this time.

I still so desperately wanted to be pregnant again…..but the sting of the last IVF cycle (which ALONE could cause a nervous breakdown) failing….and the knowledge that this truly would be our very last attempt to have another baby….had me a little gun shy. We had two embryos left in cryogenic storage and DH and I had discussed that the cost and emotional energy to do another fresh cycle just was not within us. So this was IT. The pressure that put on me was nearly my undoing……..but we cycled for the last time and on November 27, 2007 we traipsed again to the Cleveland Clinic and for the fourth time we transferred two embryos. It was different this time…only one of them looked promising….both had thawed but one was not really multiplying. But rather than “dispose” of it….they transferred it to me.

The two week wait to find out if I was pregnant was quite possibly the longest two weeks of my life. I had the blood work drawn….I had no more sick time left~ so I had to return to work after the blood draw…..I HAD to be AT work when the call would come. Now when you have **this** much anticipation of the outcome of blood work drawn at 7 am~~ you have SUCH an anxiety about it~ the day feels literally like each second is an hour and each hour is a day.

At one o’clock I could no longer wait~ I knew the Cleveland Clinic had my results~ I feared that they had not called because the news was bad.

I shut my office door, sat at my desk phone in hand~ temporarily paralyzed~ and then I took a deep breath and I punched in the number. Again with the ~this is so and so and I am calling about my blood work~~ and the endless wait for the nurse to come to the phone….I could hear my heart beating a mile a minute.

The nurse who answered my call had known our story. She knew what we had been through and she knew this was our last shot. She asked me if I was sitting down….my heart sank……I eeked out ‘yes’.

She said “please don’t be alarmed but your beta HCG (the pregnancy hormone) is 1,040. Now don’t panic… does not mean that both embryos took”. I said wait, what? She said the three sweetest words I could have imagined “you are pregnant” and I thought I might pass out from the relief……and I sat in my office chair and I wept ~ tears of relief and joy, I wept.

Coming next: The Legacy Begins

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Story of a Boy Part 8: From Numbness to Anger

The story of a boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 8: From Numbness to Anger

This is the 8th in the series. 

Before I begin; let me say that this post will not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.

I awoke alone in the hospital room May 30, 2007. I remember waking before the sun was up~ and thinking momentarily that it had all been just a bad dream~ a nightmare of the worst kind. I reached down to my abdomen~ where what was~ just 24 hours prior~ a glorious round, firm, pregnant belly….an outward physical manifestation that represented my son~ inside me~ alive and growing every day.

But it was not a dream. It was a living, breathing, horrible nightmare. And there was no firm baby belly. There was mushy yucky flabby belly that bothers you even IF your child is alive and healthy. And in the bed there was blood. And attached to my arm there were IV’s…….and instantly it all came flooding back….he was not alive. He was dead. He was not growing and healthy wrapped in the warmth of his mother’s body. He had been taken to the morgue and I imagined that he was cold and alone there. And part of my soul had died with him. And even though I cried and cried and cried: heaving sobs that shook my entire being………he was not there. And never again would he physically BE there.

I called my husband, checked on our beautiful boy at home….the boy who, in the weeks and months that followed, quite literally saved my life and brought me back from the true cliff of insanity. All was as well as could be expected on the home front. My husband would take our son to preschool…..he would be by later in the day to pick me up from the hospital……what clothes did I want him to send in for me to wear home………and no it didn’t rain last night~ so the roof did not leak…..and how did I sleep……and is there anything else he needs to bring me…....and on and on and on the planning and preparations went. And despite my quiet tears: I felt numb. Like I was walking through a haze and I was never really sure what was happening in the physical world.

My husband brought clothes……and on the way home from the hospital we had to go to the funeral home. And I remember sitting across the desk from a very young but very, very kind man as he explained our “options” for our son’s funeral. And I remember nodding and agreeing all the while thinking WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THIS? WHAT FUCKING DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE WHICH FUNERAL CARDS WE CHOOSE? WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE DONE TODAY???????????????????????MY SON IS DEAD; I DON'T FUCKING CARE ABOUT ANY OF THIS! And though my soul was tortured with pain, on the outside I only nodded…..and signed…..and picked the cards that would be used……and listened as he explained that they would pick up our son’s body later that day…..and looked through catalogues to try to choose an urn that would hold our son’s remains..…..and listened to the young man as he explained that it would be significantly less expensive to just go a buy a meaningful vessel as our son was tiny~ and his remains would be equally tiny………and thanked the kind man……all the while I just wanted to curl into a ball and die.

I remember trying to find something to wear to the funeral….I remember standing in front of my closet: looking mostly at maternity clothes…….and I remember thinking “HOW does a mother CHOOSE what to wear to her son’s funeral???”. How, how, how. And then all of the sudden I was obsessed with NOT wearing anything that would make me look pregnant. One of the cruel jokes of pregnancy~ even after you deliver the baby ~ you still LOOK pregnant. And while it was unlikely that anyone at my son’s funeral would mistake me for being pregnant I was nevertheless obsessed with finding an outfit that did not make me LOOK pregnant. So out I went to shop to find something to wear.

When I returned to my home I remember pulling into the driveway and seeing no less than 15 of our dearest and closest friends on our roof~ the tarps were gone shingles were being put in place with rapid and loving accuracy. And I stood in my front yard and I cried~ so moved was I that when you need people the most: they just show up. There is nothing quite like a tragedy to help you really find out who your friends are~ and we have some pretty amazing friends.

The day of the funeral arrived…we decided against the pomp and circumstance that accompany many funerals. It would be just a service at our church. We requested that people not send flowers~ but instead if they wanted to; to please make donations to either the March of Dimes or to The Cleveland Clinic.

I remember being so very, very sad when after I dressed my two year old in his little dress shirt and tie he said: I handsome like Daddy. And it was all I could do to say yes, yes you are and not dissolve in a fit of rage and tears. Inside I was screaming: your brother was handsome too~ for they looked nearly identical.

I cannot recall the drive to the church…..or what I wore (even though I had agonized over it the day before). But I remember walking into the sanctuary….where my husband and I had married, where our Dear Son had been baptized…into this beautiful room~ that before today had held only joyous and wonderful memories. And I froze~ at the end of the isle that I had walked as a bride full of joy not so long ago~ I froze. And I remember that my Dear Son’s Godfather was standing behind me~ and I turned~ I wanted to run away, I wanted to be ANYWHERE in the world but HERE. And he caught me in his arms and I looked into his face and I screamed “I CAN NOT DO THIS. THIS IS TOO HARD. I CAN NOT DO THIS”. And he held me and I cried. And my husband came from the front of the room where he had been talking to our Pastor, and together these two men who mean so much to me ~ each on one side~ led me down the isle.

At the end of the isle~ my sons were waiting for me. One handsome and so very full of life~ looking at me with sad eyes and not really understanding what was happening. The other~ dead~ tiny remains in a tiny silver box with his name engraved upon it. I picked up my boy~ full of life and love~ and I held him and he gave me the strength to sit down in the pew. On my lap he sat and he wiped away my tears as they flowed unchecked during my Dear Angel Son’s eulogy. And he gave me the strength to not run away~ to face our family and friends who had gathered there to help us through this day and the days that would come.

I can’t say that I remember what our Pastor said….only that I remember at the time thinking he had done a really beautiful job in choosing his words~ and I genuinely was comforted by them.

At the end of the readings and the prayers my husband, my DS and my two nearly grown daughters walked with me to the front of the church~ and our Pastor handed me the tiny silver box that contained the only tangible thing, the only physical evidence that our son had been. I remember clutching the box and thinking: this cannot be ALL that is left, it can NOT be. He was SO MUCH MORE to me.

The next few days were spent in numbness. Eat, take care of DS, write thank you cards, answer calls of people who checked on me, try to sleep….get up and do it all over again. I genuinely believe that I was completely just NUMB. The feelings of the hospital and the funeral and all of it~ they were just too hard to feel……and so I stumbled through the first two weeks~ each day so very grateful that I had a Dear Son at home…..and he needed me…..and he loved me…….and I was not alone……and I had a reason to get out of bed.

But at my 2-week check up the numbness disappeared and the rage returned. After delivering William I had had a great deal of difficulty delivering the placenta. And they had a very hard time stopping the bleeding after the placenta was quite literally torn from my body manually. SO they said I had to have an ultrasound at the 2-week mark to make sure the entire placenta had in fact come out.

And as I sat in the waiting room of my OB office: surrounded by happy pregnant mommies and daddies holding there hands~ the rage grew. Then my name was called and I proceeded down the hall and into the darkened ultrasound room. The very one that just a few weeks ago gave me the single most happy day of my life. But instead of my son on the screen there was what the sonographer called “retained products of conception”. And then the doctor came in and explained that I would need a D&C to remove all of this retained business. JUST FUCKING LOVELY.

And then to add insult to injury when I asked her if I could go back to work after the D&C was done~ she said NO. She informed me that I HAD to take a maternity leave. WAIT WHAT? I have no newborn baby to care for, you can’t possible expect me to stay HOME for the next 6-8 weeks alone, WITH NO BABY. And she said a bunch of crap about how THAT didn't really matter from a physical standpoint….I had been very sick, I had in fact delivered a child, I would need this other surgery, I would not be released to return to work until at least 8 weeks postpartum. I was so fucking mad I wanted to punch her in the face.

So back to the waiting room filled with pregnant ladies I go, and I sit there for another 20 minutes while the scheduler called the hospital to schedule my D&C. And I was literally consumed with rage. It was SO SO SO hurtful to me to have to SIT there with the pregnant ladies. To have to return to the same ultrasound room where I had had countless sonograms that showed me my baby growing from a tiny bean into a CHILD. That I had to endure watching the screen that now only showed bits and pieces of DEBRIS. REALLY? Isn’t there a better way to do this? A back door to this fucking place? A way to arrange for the ultrasound to be done someplace else??

I have never been more angry in my life at the injustices that I have suffered through than I was that summer. I had a full-blown panic attack at Kohl’s trying to find the perfect frame for William’s picture. I remember so many days that I would lie in my bed and yell and scream and rail at God. How could this be happening? Hadn’t I suffered enough? What did I do to deserve THIS?

We had already booked and paid for a beach vacation that summer….and I spent the whole 8 days waffling between uncontrollable crying to blinding rage. I didn’t WANT to sit on the beach with my squishy, yucky, flabby, I still looked pregnant belly. I was SUPPPOSED to be gloriously BIG and BEAUTIFULLY pregnant STILL.

When I went back to work 9 weeks after William was born, I was shocked and angered to realize that the world had carried on without me. EVERYONE just went on with their lives. EVERYONE but ME. My son was dead and I would NEVER be the same person again~ and yet the world went on as if nothing had happened.

And then as summer turned to fall I became obsessed with trying again. I wanted, desperately NEEDED to be pregnant again. Tests and procedures and results all revealed that William’s loss was a “fluke”. It was extremely uncommon for the amniotic fluid to become infected in the manner that it did. The loss was a “one time” bad luck thing. Not caused by the fall or anything I did wrong they said……but I still was wracked with guilt that my body had failed William.

3 months passed and we were given the ok to try another frozen embryo transfer. The procedure went smoothly. And during the two-week wait to find out if it had worked I was actually cocky enough to discuss with my husband the procedure for donating our last two embryos… sure I was that I was pregnant….that I deserved to BE pregnant.

Blood test day came and I was so cocky I went back to work after having the blood drawn….so confident that the call that would come later in the day would bring good news. Well, it did not. I was not pregnant. I got the call literally as I was walking out of my office to go to an all staff meeting. FUCK THE WORLD, I HATE YOU GOD. Is what I thought.

And then later that day a coworker that I was particularly close to because she had lost a son as well~ said to me that she could not help but feel that this time….this fall……THIS was still William’s time. This is the time in which he SHOULD have been born and lived.

And she was right, it was still William’s time. And I was only just beginning to realize how profoundly this little boy would change our lives.

 Coming next: part 9: A Leap of Faith

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Story of A Boy Part 7: A Brief but Profound LIFE

The story of a boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 7.

This is the 7th in the series.  And **this** my friends is perhaps the most important part of the Story of A Boy….for it is the part in which ~~in every sense of the word ~~HE LIVED.

Before I begin; let me say that this post will not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.

May 29, 2007….the date in which my 2nd dearly loved, desperately wanted, son lived…..and died.

He was born amidst hurt, anger and rage….but once he was born…..there was only love. There were calls to be made, people to inform, relatives to tell…same as any birth of a new baby………and yet: profoundly different.

For we KNEW, 4 full days before he came, we knew, his life would be brief, his impact profound, we KNEW he was special. And into the world at 6:03 pm and a whopping 6.8 ounces and 8 inches long he came. And despite the odds….he came into the world ALIVE and then he LIVED. And He changed the lives of all who knew and truly loved him: for 1 hour and 47 minutes, he lived.

Before He was delivered into the world, my beautifully sweet and infinitely strong husband had said that he was unsure if he would be able to hold Him, our son, the child we had prayed for and loved and wanted. My husband had said he was unsure if he would be able to hold our boy; knowing what we did, that he would die.

And yet as SOON as He was born into the world, ALIVE and amazing…my dear husband almost immediately said: “I want to hold him”.  And his first words looking at our beautiful boy were~ “he is so warm” and “he is beautiful”.

He **was** tiny; no doubt about that. He was born amidst chaos and despair; no doubt about that. But he was born to a much HIGHER purpose; no, no, NO doubt about that.

I can NOT TYPE these words without crying, as those who loved me then and now will attest…..but I also can NOT type these words without gratitude: for the boy he was, and the HOPE and FAITH he always will be.

For an hour and forty-seven beautiful moments in time we loved Him in life…and forever we will love him in death.

We did what normal families of newborns do: we looked at him and guessed who he looked like most. We called family and friends to alert them that he had arrived. We planned for the days that would follow. We named our Son…after parents, grandparents and those long deceased, we named him. We took pictures with his siblings and extended families. And we LOVED him. For as long as He was HERE and long, long after: we loved him.

As my husband held this ~ our tiny son~ in his arms.~ loved, desperately wanted, prayed for ~~~our son….in my husband’s~ in his father’s arms~ he was pronounced dead.

I remember being in the hospital room alone with him. After family had gone home. After my husband, who has the patience of a saint, taking our almost 2 year old son  who did NOT have the patience of a saint home. ….and we were alone……..just the Boy and me. Footprints and measurements were taken. Hundreds of photographs~ meant to fill a lifetime~ but NEVER able to~ were taken.

I relive it in my dreams and in my nightmares.

The nurse coming to me and asking if I was ready for the baby to be taken to the morgue. As if ANY mother would EVER be ready for THAT.

I held him. I memorized every single feature of his tiny face and body. I told him over and over and over again how much we loved him. How he was part of our family. How we would NEVER forget. And when there was no other choice: I let him go. And after he was gone I would forever wish that I would have held him just a little while longer.

He is my son. He will always BE my son. Both my husband and I, profoundly changed by his existence and very brief life, carry his footprints on our person.

He is our son. And his name is William.

The Story of a Boy Part 6: Why I hate the #6

The story of a boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 6.

This is the 6th in the series. And this is not really part of the Boy’s story as much as it is part of his mother’s story….

Before I begin; let me say that this post will not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.

You see in The Story of a Boy~ we are up to his beautiful life……but we are also at #6 on the story enumeration. And as the mother of this Most Special Boy…I can NOT, WILL NOT allow his life story to be told as #6.

You see I hate the #6. And I am not just throwing around the word ‘hate’ here…. I mean I genuinely and with ALL of my being ABHOR the number 6………and I shall share the reason why. I shall try to be brief …..but brevity has never been my strong suit.

When I was 8 years old I was dropped off at my father and step-mother’s house for what was supposed to be a 2 week thanksgiving visit……….only my mother did not return at the end of the 2 week period… fact she did not return for nearly 2 long, painful, soul killing, horrible years.

The address # of the house where my father and step-mother lived was 664……but in my childhood mind that house still lives within me as 666.

For this is the house where pure evil lived. This is the house where my childhood innocence would be trampled to death. This is the house where events happened that would forever change my sibling’s upbringing and mine. This is the house where 4 small, innocent children were beaten and tortured in every way possible. THIS is the house where hate lived. THIS is the house that stole the childhood innocence that was me and replaced it with fear, anger, frustration and DETERMINATION.

We lived there, my siblings and I, for just under 2 years. But even now~ some 32 years later……….this house still haunts me in my nightmares.

I hate the #6….I never, EVER buy 6 of anything. I avoid going in the 6th line at the grocery store: even when no one is waiting and the other lines are long. My husband laughs at this. It has become a running joke between us. But in my heart of hearts it is not funny. It is awful. It is painful. It is real. And it IS what I have spent a lifetime overcoming.

It is not easy living in a house where you are hated. It is not easy living with adults that would rather torture you than accept you and love you. It is not easy to watch your father, who himself has NEVER raised a hand to you, stand idle and do nothing while the woman he married and her family treat you like devil’s spawn.

And yet….this is how we lived, my two sisters, my brother and me……and there were times I was sure that THIS was the house in which we would die…all of us………and no one would notice.

There were bruises, cuts, stitches, broken bones and broken spirits that no one noticed….surely our deaths would go unnoticed too.

Not for shock value and not for hate or rage……but just because like the #6 there I many things I hated after escaping that house…..I will share just ONE of the horrific things….by far NOT the worst…..but one example of how we were treated during our stay there.

And so here is the reason that to THIS DAY neither spinach, nor sour kraut, nor turnip greens of ANY kind have been cooked in the homes of me or my siblings…….why, to THIS DAY the smell of them cooking brings me INSTANTLY and painfully back to that house of terror…..

I was 8 and my baby sister was 4. She was a tiny thing~ always had been. My brother was 10, my older sister 12 when we began the end of our childhood there at 664.

Neither myself nor my baby sister had ever, EVER had a strong stomach. We weren’t what you’d call “picky” eaters……..but like any 4 and 8 year old would~ we would turn our noses up at the thought of eating cooked spinach, sauerkraut, collard greens, liver etc.

Unfortunately, for us, these were items frequently on the menu in the house of evil.

The first time we were forced (and I mean FORCED in every sense of the word) to eat the above menu items…both of us (quite unceremoniously) vomited. Right there at the table we vomited. And our father sent us off to bathe and clean up and our step-mother glared at us with a hatred that I still to this day cannot name the source of.

And so the next time spinach was on the menu in the house of evil……our step-mother, with a snarl some might call a smile, scooped a heaping helping of the nasty cooked greenery onto both my sister’s and my (my other siblings too) plates. My father excused himself after he hastily completed his meal…….and my step-mother watched and waited.

Everyone else finished their meals and left the table….everyone but my sister and me. And we were not permitted to leave the table until our plates were clean. Well…..a full hour later…..two bites into the spinach my sister vomited……and (never being one to be able to see someone vomit without vomiting myself) so did I.

And my step-mother in her evil genius determination decided that my sister and I had vomited “on purpose” to avoid eating food we did not like. And she further determined that we would still not be able to leave the table until we had eaten everything on our plates……vomit and all.

And this dinner ritual repeated itself literally hundreds of times in the house of evil. I cannot begin to estimate the number of times we (the four of us~ because WHO can watch someone be FORCED to eat their own vomit without vomiting themselves) had to do this in the near two years we lived there.

But I can tell you that I have NEVER ONCE forced ANY child to clean their plate. We have a “one bite” rule~ try ONE bite if you don’t like it….you don’t have to eat it: PERIOD.

I can also tell you that my 4 living children have NEVER and God willing WILL NEVER endure the terror that we lived through in the house of evil.

I can also tell you that I can (after some years of therapy and distance from the house of evil) can eat RAW spinach, but I still HEAVE when I smell it cooking.

And I can tell you that I hate the number 6. I know it is irrational, I know it may not make sense…….but I do hate it nonetheless.

And so~ the story of a Boy and his BEAUTIFUL life will NOT be told in Part 6.

6 is where the evil lives.

And my boy, tiny, fragile and destined to change the lives of his family forever will LIVE in Part 7.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Story of A Boy Part 5: The Birth

The Story of a Boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 5: The Birth

This is the 5th in the series. This is the second hardest part of the story for me to write. It is filled with Anger no….anger is not nearly strong enough….. it is filled with Rage. Please bear with me.

Before I begin; let me say that this post will not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.

Tuesday May 29, 2007

With pain, anguish, anger and fear we moved from the tiny room with barely enough room for the hospital bed; the monitor and a small, uncomfortable chair to a large, sunny and near luxurious room (especially in comparison to the tiny room) called a “birthing suite” down the hall. Papers of consent were signed, new IV’s started and in came the midwife to explain what would happen. Since I was still not in labor (not a single contraction had been had) and I was fast approaching the point of no return with sepsis: they would need to induce my labor.

Now I had had this God AWFUL thing called “induction of labor” before. And I **knew** it was the most physical pain I had ever experienced. I asked the midwife how soon I could have an epidural. I was genuinely shocked and stunned silent when she said that I could NOT HAVE an epidural. Wait? WHAT? You are joking right? ‘cause I have done the “natural childbirth” thing once too…and it fucking sucked hairy eyeballs right up until the moment they laid my daughter in my arms and I heard her cry. There would be no such happy ending today, no baby crying, no living child to take away from the experience. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T HAVE AN EPIDURAL????

And she quietly and calmly explained that it was “hospital policy” to not allow an epidural to be given in this circumstance….she explained that if I had an epidural I may not feel when it was time for the baby to be born (because he is so small)~ I might not feel the urge to push. To which I replied: SO FUCKING WHAT? ISN’T THAT THE POINT???? And she quietly and calmly explained that it was important that I be able to feel some of what was happening because they would be inducing labor with a drug that they would never use on a full term pregnancy (because of risk to the unborn child). And this drug causes quick and hard labor immediately….and with THAT comes the risk of uterine rupture. So the prospect of a long protracted (sometimes two day) labor that occurs with the “regular” meds they use with full term pregnancy is determined to be unsafe in this situation in no small part due to the fact I am so sick and would likely not be able to withstand a two day induction…..and also sadly; due to the fact that my son is much to small to survive. And despite my understanding of her medical explanation; my anger grew.

Sooooooo, you can’t possibly expect me to go through this grueling process with NO PAIN MEDS can you? Oh, heavens no she said….we will give you meds through the IV and depending on how you do; if you want you can have a pain pump. OH I WANT, I WANT IT NOW! She laughed, I think she thought I was joking… look at my face told her I was beyond serious. And my anger grew.

You see, I have a great deal of experience in this whole labor and delivery business (on both sides of the hospital bed) and I know that after she writes the order for the pain pump, it has to go to the pharmacy….they have to mix and send up the right meds…..then someone from the anesthesia department has to come to the room~ load the pump with the meds~ program the machine and check to make sure it is working. THIS process can take way more than an hour.

So with my voice still ringing in her ear (I am not proud of how I acted then or for the next 6 hours……but I hope I can be given a pass for that behavior based on the circumstances~ and I did apologize to the staff later)……she inserted the medication mean to bring on labor. She said she would write the orders for both pain meds and the pain pump….and that she would be back later to check on me.

My husband; tired, looking more sad than I have ever seen him and haggard from the past 4 days of HELL squeezed my hand, kissed my forehead, told me he loved me and went to make calls to notify our family of the turn of events through the night.

When they said “this medication causes quick and hard labor immediately” they really, really, really meant it. It seemed to me that almost as soon as the large door to the room closed and I was alone the contractions came. Fierce and brutally painful they came. One seemingly on top of another they came. Unrelenting they came. And with each contraction my anger grew.

My husband returned what seemed like hours but was probably really less than 20 minutes later to find me breathing heavily though contractions, my face contorted in pain and anger. My physical state shocked him I think….he rang for the nurse. She came in, checked the strip monitoring my contractions and assured him that this was all “okay and expected”. Through gritted teeth and breathing heavily I asked for something for pain. She left the room. After 5 minutes my husband rang again for the nurse and through the intercom system someone in a clipped voice told us that the nurse “was working on” getting me something for pain. It took her another 20 minutes to come back….she rushed in and apologized….said she had called anesthesia to see if they could come and hook up the pain pump and she had been “waiting to see if they could come” but now 25 minutes later she didn’t think it was fair not to give me the IV med while we waited for them to come. I looked at her with eyes that I am sure would have scared the devil himself and I gritted out: stop talking and give me the damn medicine already. And my anger grew.

Now, I don’t know if you have ever had any experience with IV drugs for pain or a pain pump that gives you a dose of narcotic at predetermined intervals when you push the button……but in my experience neither really “took away” the pain of these brutally painful contractions…..they simply allowed me to rest in between the brutally painful contractions. I remember feeling like I was floating on the ceiling….in a drug induced haze….floating….sad…..but still floating…..and then WHAM a contraction would seize me and I would be yanked viciously from my sad floating state down to reality….and the bed….and physical pain such as I have never known before or since gripped my abdomen….and I thought more than once that I would surely die if this did not end soon. And my anger grew.

With each contraction, with each breath, with each nurse that came and went and knock at the door and ring of the phone for six long, grueling hideous hours….my anger grew.

Until I was whipped into such a rage I thought I might have a heart attack. I rang for the nurse…..I yelled, I screamed, I swore, I cried, I begged, I pleaded….please MAKE IT STOP. My husband, god bless him and his saint like patience, went out to talk with the nurse. Surely, there must be SOMETHING you can do for her? Please?

Back into the room he came… lying on the bed, contorted in pure anguish…his eyes wide and sad…..and I saw that the midwife and two nurses were with him. He came to the bed and he held my hand ……and we cried….and the midwife said she was going to check me….and she did…..and she said “oh, OK…the reason you are in so much pain right now is that you are fully dilated….the baby is right there, I can feel him….it’s time to push.”

WAIT? WHAT? NOOOOOOO I sobbed I am NOT ready. I am not ready to bring him here into the room where he will die. I want him to stay with me, heart beating away on the monitor…..alive. Two nurses, the midwife, my husband and my sister-in-law all looked back at me with tears in their eyes….sad, sad faces….the midwife said “I know you do honey, but we can’t do that…’s time to push”.

With hate and the rage of a thousand burning suns I held my husband’s hand and I delivered our second dear son into the world.

And I looked at him……and I held him….and he was alive….and the rage and hate was gone away in less than an instant it was replaced by sheer AWE at this miracle boy….our son….the boy we had created together and loved and wanted so much….there was no more rage, no more hate (though it would return in the weeks that followed)….there in that room…..May 29, 2007 at 6:03 pm there was me, there was my husband, there was our son…..and there was only LOVE.

The Story of a Boy Part 4: The Heartbreak

The Story of a Boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 4: The Heartbreak

This is the 4th in the series. This is the hardest part of the story for me to write. Please bear with me.

Before I begin; let me say that this post will  not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1, 2 and 3 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.

If I live to be a hundred I will never, ever forget that ride to the hospital. Terrified,  crying, holding my husband’s hand, fluid leaking, sick, feverish and praying. I looked him in the eye as he opened the door for me to get in the car and I said to him “you do know this will most likely not end well” ….and there it was …on his face …..plain as day: blinding fear. The only other time in our now more than 20 year relationship that I have seen THAT look on HIS face was when we found our DS not breathing on that February morning not so long ago from this dark night in May. And HIS fear somehow made me calm……for the moment……

Someday, maybe someday soon~ I will begin my quest to petition hospitals and staff to treat women who come to them when their child is what they callously refer to as “pre-viability” better and in a more loving way.

Checking in to the ER; sitting on a wet towel in a wheelchair, feeling my son’s life hanging in the balance…. I told the lady at the desk that I am pregnant and I know my water has broken. She calls the labor and delivery ward….the nurse who answered asked the lady at the desk a series of questions; which the lady at the desk then asked me…..right there, in the middle of a crowded waiting room, private personal and difficult to answer questions. What happened to bring you in? What is your due date? When was your last period? No doubt the nurse on the other end of the phone was attempting to decide if I should be treated in the ER or sent on to the Labor and Delivery unit.

I answered her questions; quietly at first and then with a growing sense of dread and anger I snapped at her: LOOK I KNOW EXACTLY WHEN THIS CHILD WAS CONCEIVED; HE WAS CONCEIVED THROUGH IVF. I AM FUCKING CERTAIN OF MY DUE DATE! And the (poor) lady at the desk was taken aback. I doubt very much she even knows what IVF stands for….in any case she said to the nurse on the phone “listen she seems pretty sure, can we just send her up to you, she is very upset”. Ya think? The nurse on the phone must have told the lady at the desk that it was ok to take me to Labor and Delivery. The lady at the desk did not wait for a transporter to take me up; she herself wheeled me to Labor and Delivery. As I was getting out of the wheelchair I apologized to the lady at the desk for snapping at her and I thanked her for not making me wait in the crowded ER for someone else to push my wheelchair to L & D. She squeezed my hand and said  “good luck” and I saw tears in her eyes and pity on her face.

When your pregnancy is “pre-viability” they always put you in the smallest room in L & D……little more than a broom closet really…..with barely enough room for the hospital bed; the monitor and a small, uncomfortable chair. You see they must save the **actual** Labor and Delivery rooms for women who’s babies are close to term.

In this tiny room I changed into the sandpaper like gown and got into the bed. Another nurse came in ….I assume NOT the nurse on the phone because she ask me ALL of the SAME questions over again. By this time DH had parked the car and had joined me in the tiny room. Sitting in the small, uncomfortable chair he held my hand as I related my pregnancy details and medical history to the nurse.

The first thing (after the history taking and invasive questions have been answered) they must do is to determine for certain that my water had broken. And up to that point the nurses kind of treat you with a “calm down, you might have just peed yourself why are you crying for fucks sake” attitude. This being my 6th pregnancy and 4th at successfully getting past the first trimester~~~ I already KNEW that it was my water that had broken. And yet….. as she lifted the sheets and put the tiny piece of litmus paper in the fluid on the pad between my legs….I still held my breath and held a sliver of hope that it was not amniotic fluid.

The litmus paper turned instantly and I could see her face fall from hopeful to pity JUST as instantly. And I cried…hot, silent tears at first and then full on body wracking sobbing and wailing. The nurse left the tiny room quietly to summon the midwife.

The midwife who came (with two different nurses in tow) into the tiny room was very sweet and very, very kind to us. She did not ask the same questions that I had already answered (I HATE IT when drs do that by the way)…..she asked permission to do an exam. My tears quieted; she did the exam gently and kindly. She took lots of cultures and sent them off in the hands of the two nurses to be sent to the lab. And then she sat on the edge of my bed in the tiny room and she took my hand and she explained what I already knew but that she needed to say anyway.

Your amniotic sac has ruptured and you are leaking amniotic fluid. You seem to be sick. We will do some blood work and cultures to try to figure out what is going on. We will start and IV and we will hook you to the monitor to see if you are having contractions.

And when there were no other details she said finally and reluctantly: Your baby is too small to survive. If you are in labor we will not stop it. If he is born tonight we will not be able to save him. And she gently squeezed my hand and she looked from me to my husband and she asked if we had any questions and when we silently shook our heads no, she quietly left the tiny room.

We did not sleep, my husband and I in that tiny room in the dark of a long May night. We talked, we held hands, we cried, we prayed, we answered more questions by more nurses and we greeted the coming of morning and a new shift of hospital staff with tired, haggard eyes and dread.

There was one nurse who was exceptionally kind and she “warned” us of what would happen in the next 24 hours. She said that another midwife, an OB doctor and maybe even the neonatologist would come and talk to us. She said that they would all tell the same tale: that there was no hope. But, she said, she believed in not giving up and that I should trust my heart and not give up hope until there was no other choice. Her words bolstered us and we carried that tiny seed of hope for nearly 48 more hours.

Sunday morning brought all of the things the nurse had warned us would happen. And though it was difficult to hear what the midwife and doctors had to say: somehow we still held the tiny seed of hope. Sunday also brought calls to some family and friends….trying to arrange child care for DS at home, trying to see if a friend will check the tarps on the roof to make sure they are secure should it rain, canceling plans to attend a holiday picnic later that afternoon and the one on Monday too, letting both of our bosses know we would not be at work on Tuesday….

And Sunday also brought news from the lab: I was sick of that they were sure. My white blood count was high and the cultures were growing something (what they would not know for another 24 hours they said)…..Antibiotics were started.

Sunday did not bring labor with it though. The ONLY good news was that I was not in labor….not a single contraction. The nurses repeatedly offered to take off the heart monitor part (or at least turn it down) so that I didn’t have to hear the heartbeat. I adamantly refused. Even as more fluid leaked out with every single movement and passing hour: the sound of my son’s heartbeat, strong and steady, calmed me and made the tiny seed of hope grow a little.

Monday brought new nurses, midwives and doctors. Some visitors too….family, our closest friends all with the same look of concern and pity.

Monday also brought more bad news from the lab and a very high fever for me. The lab confirmed that both the amniotic fluid and I were infected with a particularly virulent strain of the flu. Doctors and midwives came and talked to my husband and I in the tiny room. They brought stories of gloom and doom and the tiny seed of hope got even tinier.

Sometime in the night the fluid leaking from me (even as I willed it to STAY in) turned from clear to green…..I did not tell the nurse……I was too afraid of what it meant.

And then Tuesday morning the now really green foul looking and smelling fluid was accompanied by blood and another high fever for me…and the midwife on duty came and she talked to us about what that meant….and she explained that I was what they call "septic"....the infection was taking over .........and if I did not deliver my son soon that I might lose my uterus to infection and there was a very real chance I might die…..and the tiny seed of hope disappeared completely ……..and we knew…..we knew and very reluctantly began to accept that this day: Tuesday May 29, 2007 would be the day that our beloved Son would be born, would live briefly, and would die.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Story of a Boy Part 3: Blinding Fear

The Story of a Boy Part 3: Blinding Fear
Please read Part 1 (the beginning) and  part 2 (the joy) before reading this.

 This is the third of the series.

Before I begin; let me say that this post will most likely not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Again; please read parts 1 and 2 before reading this….it will just make more sense that way.

As the warmth and magic of spring began to unfold and my growing belly necessitated changing to maternity clothing our planning and preparations began in earnest. We talked at great length about baby names. We wondered if it would be a boy or a girl.

Now for the sake of full disclosure I should tell you that in my minds’ eye I had (from the very START of my relationship with my Dear Husband waaayyyyyy before he WAS my husband) always imagined that we would have two sons. I **know** that DH wanted two sons. We had talked on many, many occasions how important one son would be to him~ but in my heart of hearts I just **knew** we would have two. I let him name our first DS (with some compromise by him of letting me give DS 2 middle names) knowing full well in my heart that we would have another son…..and I would chose his name. I cannot tell you why I knew this, I just did.

In mid May we were out of town for a social function. DS was with us and in the fray of packing up our stuff in a grass parking lot….he wrenched his little chubby near 2 year old hand from mine and took off faster than I knew he could run. I looked on in sheer terror as a woman in a very large SUV began moving her car forward toward the direction DS was running…..I took off, skirts swirling, screaming at the top of my voice: STOP LADY PLEASE STOP. Friends were all around and something got the lady’s attention that something was happening but she didn’t seem to be STOPPING.

Now running in the wet grass, pregnant, with a floor length dress on is never a good idea. Add sheer terror to the equation and you have a recipe for disaster………of course, I fell. I fell hard, face forward into the ground. I came up like a flash though~ continued my (now completely crazy) sprint for my boy who was now directly in front of the SUV. Sometime between the split second of me falling and then leaping back up the lady in the SUV had realized there was a child directly in front of her car (there is NO WAY she could have seen him; small as he was at the time) and she had, in fact, stopped (although curiously she did not get out of her car….I always wondered about that).

So covered in grass, dress, hair, face a disheveled mess of terror I reach my Dear Son and scoop his 25 pound body into my arms and I collapse on the ground in a heap. Waves of relief and tears washing over us both. I sobbed there, openly and without care so relieved I was that DS was ok (the scolding about running off came later and I’m quite certain was NOT delivered by me).

Now surrounded by friends and onlookers (as we had created quite a stir) people began rushing to me. I remember thinking “why are they concerned about ME?”………and then I remembered that I had fallen and my terror, almost instantly renewed, flew to my unborn child.

It was a long drive home…….near 3 hours. Of course it was the weekend and of course when I called the OB’s office they said I was probably ok, but if X,Y or Z happened to go to the ER. I think I made my husband stop at every rest stop on the way home so I could check to make sure I wasn’t bleeding. And each stop revealed the same as the last: no bleeding, no fluid leaking, no cramps….still feeling the baby move.

The next week I was a complete hot MESS. It is hard for me to put into words the fear and the gnawing at my soul that possessed me during that week. I could not seem to shake the feeling that something was not right. I had gone to be checked at the ER Sunday after the fall…and had gone to the OB on Monday for a double check……but nothing seemed to help allay a growing fear that something was amiss.

My week was complicated exponentially by the fact that my Dear Husband  (months prior) had chosen that particular week to take the roof off of our house and replace it, by himself. Thinking May would be a good time because it wouldn't be too hot and it would be well before the new baby arrived.

Well it was 95 degrees. And the heat, the stress, the noise, the mess and the fact that I was flying solo with DS just combined to make me a woman on the edge of sanity………if I had known how close I would get to the edge in the coming weeks I may well have had a full blown nervous breakdown from which I would never have recovered.

Wednesday May 23, 2007….It is hot. I am scared and I can’t say why exactly. I called my OB (AGAIN~ God love those ladies in that office who took such loving care of me this particular week) and somehow (probably through my I will not take no for an answer insistence) they fit me in for later that day. As luck would have it: I saw a doctor (1 of 7 in the practice) whom I had never met. He listened (not so patiently) about my fall, my fear and why I was, for the second time that week, in his office. I must have looked a little crazy because not only did he do a full exam (although he made it VERY clear that he felt is was completely unnecessary) but he also did cultures and blood work and ordered another ultrasound.

And miraculously, the sonographer (who I love to this day) had a cancellation and I was ushered right in. Since I was well into my second trimester she offered (and I GLADLY accepted) to go ahead and do THE BIG ultrasound….you know the one~ where they measure EVERYTHING and can look at the baby’s heart, brain, kidneys….all of it…..and they can (if the baby cooperates) tell the sex of the child. As my child was feeling quite cooperative that day; the sonographer asked me if I wanted to know the sex of the baby. I hesitated for only a fraction of a split second……..and then….I said OF COURSE!!!!! I have never been a woman who is good at waiting. If she knew I wanted to know.

And she turned the screen so that I could see it and pointed to a specific area on the screen….there is was, plain as day we were having another son.

There are so few perfect moments in life…..but here I was…..having another perfect moment. I thought my heart might explode. I had been SO worried all week……looking at my son on that screen healthy, everything measuring spot on, fluid levels perfect, I allowed myself to bask in the relief that washed over me. I left that office, sonogram pictures clutched in hand and I felt as though I was floating on air.

On the way back to work I called DH. Well; more specifically I called him four times….you know: call he doesn't answer, hang up call back, repeat. He was on the roof of course; busily ripping off shingles. On the fourth call I left a message: honey; everything is okay, but please call me as soon as you can, I HAVE NEWS!!!

Just as I was walking back into my office he called me back. If we live to be a hundred I am not sure I will ever be able to please him as much as I did that sunny May afternoon. The baby is healthy, everything is measuring spot on, no markers for any genetic issues……and then……three little words: it’s a boy. You see most folks **knew** he wanted another boy….and as men are wont to do: his coworkers and friends teased him mercilessly that it would for sure be a girl…..and in reality it would have been more than okay if it had been a girl……when you want a baby as much as we both did the sex doesn't matter: healthy, happy, living family….that’s the goal. The fact that it WAS A BOY was just like sweet, sweet icing on the most decadent cake you have ever eaten.

For the rest of Wednesday and most of Thursday I was relieved and so very, very happy.

But then Thursday afternoon the sky opened up and the rain POURED…which meant that our (now bare roof) was letting water flow into our house… was a hot mess I tell you, tarps, buckets, water everywhere. By Thursday evening the nagging at my soul had returned. I didn't feel well and I was exhausted emotionally and physically from all of the rain drama.

Friday was hot and sunny….I went to work……the nagging remained. I called the OB office multiple times throughout the day to inquire about the results of my cultures and blood work. Finally near 5 pm I was FINALLY able to talk to a nurse who reassured me that everything on the lab tests was fine. I remember very distinctly asking her THREE times if she was sure….I remember saying “I just don’t feel right, and it’s a holiday weekend and I don’t want to end up in the ER or lose this baby”…..more reassurances…rest drink water blah blah blah call next Tuesday of you are still having issues.

I went to bed that night feeling awful physically and mentally. DH, exhausted both from the manual labor and from my crazy unyielding fear said a good night’s sleep was all we both needed. In the morning we would both feel better.

Saturday May 26……I woke at 2 am….I felt feverish…..sick…..something is wrong…..I got out of  bed and almost as soon as my feet hit the floor I was standing in a puddle of fluid. No it can’t be, it’s much too soon for this.

Go to the bathroom, maybe you just have to pee…….no each step….more fluid…..and I know before I set foot in the bathroom….I know….I know…..I feel it….hot and wet and sick I feel it…..through strangely calm tears I wake my husband and together we lie on our bed and wait for my mom to come to stay with DS so we can go to the hospital.

The Story of a Boy Part 2: The Joy

The Story of a Boy .......though he was much more to me than that.....

Part 2: The Joy
Please read Part 1. The Beginning before reading this.

 This is the second of the series

Before I begin; let me say that this post will most likely not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Again; please read Part 1. The Beginning before reading this….it will just make more sense that way.

 Part 2: the JOY!

A week later, still shaking off the memory of the terror of the previous Sunday and checking on DS 20 times a night and little or no sleep~ I went to get the blood test. I had little hope that the frozen IVF had worked as I did not “feel” pregnant. Low and behold it WORKED! I was pregnant!!! Not only pregnant but with excellent strong numbers that are indicative of a strong start to the pregnancy. And something about knowing I *was* pregnant made me "feel" pregnant and the morning sickness started on the way home from the lab.

Nail biting blood work once a week ( I REALLY SUCK AT WAITING) for the next 4 weeks and all was well. My pregnancy hormone levels continued their exponential climb and soon we were off to the first ultrasound.

Now DH will fully admit that (despite his near saint like patience) these first ultrasounds are absolutely BRUTAL to wait for! We know I am pregnant. But we don’t know the specifics. And when you do IVF and they place two “beautiful” embryos back into your body there is ALWAYS risk of multiples.

I remember one of our first meetings with the man who would help us bring children into the world (a god amongst men in my book)…he said to us (well me really) “our goal is not to get you pregnant”.

I was SHOCKED….and my face belied how I felt and the fact that I was thinking “then what in the fuck are we paying all this MONEY FOR”. He reached out and gently took my hand and he said words I will never forget: “Our goal is to help you to have a healthy, happy, living family”………and in that moment I KNEW he was right. All those years I spent praying and hoping and yearning more than anything in the world for two fucking lines on a pee stick….it was MORE than just the pregnant part… was the healthy, happy, living family part that was important. But I digress…..

So here we are waiting in the lobby of the local OB to have our first ultrasound. This one feels like it’s the make or break to us…..sure I had been vomiting morning, noon and night (why DO they call it morning sickness?)….sure I had slept like the dead any time I sat still for more than 3 minutes……but not until you see it on the screen do you let yourself hope that it’s really there.

It was quite comical (we would agree later) that the toilet in the Ultrasound room overflowed for the patient before us and we were kept waiting and fretting (and me swearing~ when I was awake) because when they offered to reschedule us rather than keep us waiting we both said, in unison and loudly: NO! SO we waited, and fretted, and snoozed off and on and swore quite a bit for three long hours.

And then there we were. In the darkened room. Waiting for what feels like another THREE hours. For the Sonographer to look at the screen with squinty eyes, take a few measurements, smile and turn the screen toward us.

And there it was….on the screen…..our child….one perfect little peanut: heart fluttering away. And I look at him and he looks at me and the hot tears flow unchecked from our eyes. Relief and pure joy. One perfectly sized, heart rate just where it should be~ child. As we had lost two pregnancies early in the first trimester before our IVF journey began~ we were not so foolish as to think that even THIS guaranteed us a child….but we also knew it was THE BEST possible scenario on the road toward that goal. And we did not allow doubt in the Ultrasound room that afternoon. We only basked in the sheer and miraculous amazement and perfectness of the moment.

We picked up our DS from the sitter and together we celebrated, the three and a third of us, with lunch and a blissfully sweet, afternoon family nap.

Between work, DS and exhaustion (I swear I went to sleep at 8 every single night) the first trimester passed in a 3 month whirlwind sort of a blur…..although at the time I am certain I was impatient with how slow time between appointments seemed to go.

All tests and sonograms (and there were LOTS) looked perfect, I was officially discharged from the Cleveland Clinic to follow with a regular OB here in town for what was determined at that point to be a regular, healthy pregnancy. During this time DS and DH came to many ultrasound appointments with me….the three of us glued to the small TV like screen~ marveling at the beautiful gift of life growing within me.

Winter turned to spring, I began to show… and to feel the baby move ......the word was out now that we were having another baby. Friends, coworkers and family (many knowing our difficult journey to get here) poured heaps of love and congratulations on us. As is usually the case I met women who were due at almost exactly the same time as me….and we joked that that blizzard on Valentine’s day resulted in lots of newly pregnant ladies.

My heart had never been so full or so happy. In all of my life I had never had such pure unadulterated JOY just in the living and the being that was my life. I genuinely did not see how life could be any better.

And sadly; the joy was all too fleeting and the pain and anguish of the coming months …well nothing could have prepared me for it….so we will leave Part 2 with the Joy.

The Story of a Boy Part 1. The beginning

The story of a boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 1.

Before I begin; let me say that this post will most likely not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry.

I shall begin with yesterday, a conversation with my Dear Husband (who, incidentally, does not normally clean or decorate the house):

After hanging a newly acquired (but really too large for our dining room) painting:

DH: Ok, now what are we going to do about this stuff on the buffet table?
 <said buffet table is cluttered with candles and plants that block the too large painting>
Me: well, how about if we take these plants off and just leave these candles?
DH: Ok. Well how about this <rearranges candles, puts candles from dining room table onto buffet table>
Me: No, it’s still too crowded. Hey I have the matching one to this candle on my dresser
<goes to get matching candle~ like we need MORE stuff to figure out placement of>
DH: No, still too crowded.
Me: Well we could take some of the stuff off the bottom of the shelves and move some of the candles down there.
DH: <incredulous look of crazy> Really?
Me: Yes, I can take (Dear Angel Son)’s box and find a new home for it
DH: Are you SURE? <look of sympathy, empathy, shock~ maybe all three>
Me: yes, I am sure <reassuring squeeze of DH’s arm….and said box quietly relocates to my dresser for the moment>

You see the importance of this box, it’s contents and memories that have been displayed in our dining room for 5 long years, is unparalleled. We have held this box in a high place of honor. The way many people hang pictures of their children….you see this box contains pictures and memorabilia from our (Dear Angel Son)’s brief but profoundly powerful life. Cards that people (many strangers to us) sent us, letters I have written to my son every year on his birthday, pictures of us, of his sisters, his brother and two aunts with him as we gathered together in that hospital room 5 long years ago. The significance of moving the box was not lost on my husband or on me.

To tell the story of a boy I must first tell you how he came to be.

DH and I had tried for 7 long years to have a baby. Many tests, surgeries, medications, procedures, thousands of dollars and so, so much heartache later we attempted our “last shot”: invitro fertilization. Now I don’t know how much you know about IVF, but let me just tell you NO woman or couple would subject themselves to this grueling and really ridiculously expensive procedure unless they truly and with all of their being want a child. Our first try was a ROCK STAR success….We had our DS who is now 7 and he absolutely saved our lives and marriage.

On a brutally cold Valentine’s day in February of 2007 (after further tests, procedures, medications money and TIME) we set out, in the middle of a raging blizzard that closed schools and highways alike.

Side note: I have the BEST driver in the world for a husband. I don’t think I could have gotten out of the damn driveway and I white knuckled it all the way to Cleveland even **with** him driving. But he is a solid as granite and with the calm patience only a saint can have: drive us there and home safely he did.

We were off to Cleveland for what in the IVF world is referred to as a “frozen embryo transfer”. You see I mentioned we had a rock star success on our first cycle: not only did it result in a miracle son it also left us with 6 frozen embryos with which we could try again to add to our family at a mere fraction of the cost (and pain) of the initial IVF.

The folks at the Cleveland Clinic (after several crazy jokes about the raging blizzard and the “frozen” state of the tri-state area) showed us on the screen the two embryos that had been frozen at 5 days of fertilization 2 years past and just yesterday had been removed from cryogenic storage and had continued to multiply and grow and were pronounced to look “beautiful”. Modern MIRACLE Medicine here folks. I have a picture of the microscopic embryo~ one of which would grow to be my second son. I laid on the cold table in the sterile OR, watched via sonogram the transfer and I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed.

A week later well before we were to find out that the transfer had been successful: my Dear Son (almost 2) had a febrile seizure. We found him in his crib, unresponsive, blue, not breathing. We had no idea at the time WHY. Being medically trained I began CPR on him and instructed DH and DD#2 to call an ambulance. By the time paramedics arrived he was breathing again ~ I remember the ride to the ER like it was yesterday…..TALK ABOUT PRAYING. I remember bargaining with God (which I think is pretty common in these situations)…….I remember praying (paramedics probably thought me deranged) I remember praying so hard and being so terrified.

 I said to God: I do not care if I ever get pregnant again: just PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t take my son. Several scary hours later it was determined that DS had had a febrile seizure~ his temperature on the way to the hospital was near 103 (he was not at all sick when I had put him to bed the night before). I remember on Monday at the pediatrician’s office for a follow up saying to the doctor “that was the worst weekend of my life”……

.turns out I had spoken too soon.

Coming next: The Story of a Boy Part 2: The Joy

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twinkies, Conspiracy Theories, Mary Jane and the Mayans

Ok, OK…so conspiracy theories have been around since the dawn of man, of this I am certain.

Cave man to cave woman “there is NO way you slew that dragon alone. WHO WAS HERE wench???”

I can just picture at the empty tomb:
“now you know that must have been a MAGIC rock!”
 “oh, they had to have put someone in there with him to move such a heavy rock”

and later in Rome:
“I know Brutus was in cahoots with someone, he’s just not smart enough to pull this off’
Brutus “I’m just a patsy”

See, you can picture it too can’t ya?

So this year, we are supposed to be waiting and watching for the end of the world (fucking Mayans just ran out of rock)…..and this year has brought out the conspiracy theorists in DROVES.

The latest is perhaps the strongest in the arguments for theories around America: the Twinkie factory is shutting it’s doors! GASP!!

While this in and of itself could easily be explained away by corporate greed, labor unions and shareholders= more important than regular folks……I offer the following to cement the conspiracy theory making it’s way around our great nation:

#1. Marijuana has now been legalized in 18 states across America (no I’m not going to site sources; it’s a fucking BLOG not a research paper)

#2. Nine states now recognize same sex marriage (again with the sighting of resources FFS). For years haven’t some folks (read: bigoted fucking idiots) referred to gay men as “twinkies”?

#4. Barrack Obama was recently reelected as POTUS. And let’s face it folks it MUST be his fault the damn twinkie factory closed! To quote my good friend MC (no not Hammer) “ Obama hates Twinkies! Everyone secede because they took our twinkles! :-):-) Petulant children.

So how does this all string together to make ONE GIANT conspiracy???? Be fucking patient: I am getting to that…

#1. The very foods that would survive better than roaches in an apocalypse cease production less than a MONTH before the “end of the world according to the Mayans” thus causing normal folks (read: ones that long AGO gave up eating over processed shit that is so bad for you that you haven’t eaten it since you could read a nutrition label) to RUN (well take their cars anyway) to ALL local groceries to clear them out of twinkies, ho-ho’s ding dongs and snack cakes! In some places causing fights and stores to restrict how many ho-ho’s you can buy at one time!

#2 Marijuana is legalized mere WEEKS before the twinkie factory STOPS production on the twinkies. Now people who are smoking said Marijuana could give a FUCK less about twinkies…..they’re all like “hey man, it’s cool. I’ll just find something else to eat”. Don’t ask me how I know (it’s a BLOG not a research paper FFS). But because normal folks (see above for description) THINK that high people will be hoarding twinkies et al en masse: it gives them yet ANOTHER fucked up reason to hate the legalization of Marijuana and to riot in order to keep the “hippies” from stealing their twinkies!

#4 Since the sitting POTUS is clearly the root of all that is evil and wrong in America (did you know that some people are flying their flags UPSIDE DOWN? And threatening to Secede from the UsofA???)….it clearly MUST be HIS fault that gay marriage is ok, marijuana is legal in some states and WORST OF ALL: the twinkie factory is closed!

Now here’s what The Wisdom of the Ginger has to say about this:

1.The fucking Mayans ran out of rock; and in some alternate universe are really having a good laugh at our expense.

2.The fucking Twinkie factory has been in trouble for a LONG, LONG time~ and has only been limping along. No doubt they have already sold their no longer a secret recipes for your beloved snack cakes to someone else who will make them, repackage them and sell them at a grocer near you in the very near future. God forbid we should actually bake something ourselves to wolf down when no one is watching or pack in our kids lunches.

4.If you are fucking STUPID enough to believe that ONE MAN has the power to ruin our great nation: then go ahead and secede, we’d be better off without you. This nation is founded on much stronger stuff than this folks. Over 200 years of it. If ONE MAN has the power to set that all asunder: may whatever god you believe in help us all.

There is no #3 in any of my arguments…go ahead look, I’ll wait.

Ok feel better now? Like I’m going to lie to you? For fucks sake.

So get off your asses, go stock up on your twinkies, secede if you want to (just STOP SAYING IT AND FUCKING GO ALREADY)…..the apocalypse is coming; you wouldn’t want to be left behind.


Friday, November 16, 2012

The Top Ten for Today

Musings from a mom spending a LOT more time with her children than usual++.

10. Sibling rivalry must surely begin immediately upon the birth of a sibling.

9. It matters not if you have 3 full (and fully functional) bathrooms; someONE will need someTHING urgently from the bathroom you choose, no matter WHICH ONE it is, as SOON as they hear the door close.

8. Your children will ignore you completely
 until you 

a. go into aforementioned bathroom 

b. get on the telephone 

c. get on the computer 

d. attempt to do any adult business at ALL 

e. close your eyes

7. There are far too many episodes of "Good Luck Charlie" and "Phineaus and Ferb" and you have seen them all more than 3 times each and when a new one comes on you actually find yourself saying "hey I haven't seen this one" and watching it in it's entirety even after the children leave the room.

6. No matter how quickly you change the channel from the show you were watching last night, they *will* see or hear something inappropriate and they *will* either have nightmares about it or repeat it!

5. If you plan an outside activity it *will* rain.

4. If you plan an indoor activity it *will* be absolutely the most perfect day to be outside.

3. Children still need a consistent bedtime even in the summer.
3A. Even if you let them stay up they will *not* sleep in.
3B. On very *rare* day they *do* sleep in, your internal clock (or the damn birds outside your window) will awaken you at o'dark thirty and you will absolutely *not* be able to go back to sleep no matter how hard you try.

2. Overtired children are VERY VERY grouchy.



#1. Just when you think you can't take another day or even moment: 

You will overhear your 4 year old to put her "babies" to bed, you will witness how loving she is with them and how she repeats the very bedtime routine to them as you have done with her thousands of time.


You will witness your 7 year old give *his* quarter for the candy machine to the boy who's candy dropped on the floor; sacrificing his own candy so that the other boy can get some more......

...and your heart will swell to overflowing and you know, I mean really *KNOW* that you're doing something right and you will be renewed to lovingly parent another day.