Dear Little Baby,
We’ve lived to see another day. Five more days, Little Baby. The bleeding has slowed down to the point of being almost nonexistent. Now your Daddy is in the hospital with the whole side of his face swollen. They are either going to do surgery and drain the infection or admit him and give him IV antibiotics. Or both. Between Genesis with her double ear infections, Cameron and his tonsils and adenoids, Cayce with her heart problems, your Daddy with his oral problems, and us with our problems, our family is really being put through the wringer lately. They say that God only gives you what you can handle. Apparently, God thinks I am a total rock star. Is there an emergency shutuff sqitch I can press on this stuff, though? I genuinely don’t think I can handle anything else. Hang in there. I love you.
Archive for February, 2015
Dear Little Baby,
Dear Little Baby,
I know that I am posting late, but so much has happened today. I’m not even sure where to start. Most of today went okay. I had a dentist appointment this morning for a cleaning. That went uneventfully. Then your Daddy and I went home. Your Daddy was being a little pansy about his toothache and stayed on the couch all day long, just like yesterday and the day before. I asked him to go to the grocery store and he threw a temper tantrum, so I had to go. When I got home, I had to make HIM something to eat because his tooth hurt sooo bad that he couldn’t even do that for himself. While I was standing there I felt a gush. At first I thought it was just more amniotic fluid. When I went and presented your Daddy with his smoothie, I sat down on the toilet and realized that it was all blood. And it was a lot of blood. I called 911, because your Daddy couldn’t evwn do that because his mouth hurt too bad, and went to the hospital by ambulance. But not the good hospital–the worst hospital in North Carolina because it was the closest. They got me up here, and you are still doing okay. Your heart rate was high–it was in the 180s, and while they were listening it slowed all the way down almost to 0, then pucked back up. I can still feel you kicking. But they think that the reason I am bleeding so profusely is because my placenta is separating from my uterus. This isn’t good news, Little Baby. But as grim as it is, I’m not giving up. As long as you’re fighting, so am I. But I want you to know that if you decide to let go, I will understand. I won’t make that decision for you, but if you decide to let go I will not resent you. I will love you forever and always, Little Baby. But I need you to know that it is okay to let go if you have to. My health is unimportant…I can survive whatever comes my way physically. So don’t concern yourself with ME. I will be just fine. I am okay with whatever decision you come to. And if the bleeding stops and our placenta heals itself, that is even better. We can do this. But I won’t force you or torture you, either. I am making my peace with this situation. If we continue on, so be it. But if you decide that you are just too tired to fight anymore, I will let you go. But you will live forever in my heart, no matter the outcome. And I don’t really blame your Daddy for everything. I just need somebody to blame right now. I love your Daddy and we both love you. I’m just hurting right now. And I shouldn’t have said the mean things that I said. I hope one day we can read these letters together and marvel at how far we have come. I love you more than every star in the universe combined. I hope that this isn’t goodbye, but if it is, I just need you to know that I will always love you, no matter what. I’m sorry for rambling and repeating myself. I’m having a hard time thinking coherently right now.
So my “realistic” post was received well, and I figured that there was one gigantic elephant in the room that I didn’t address there. Sex. I don’t know about you guys, but my husband and I (normally) have a pretty healthy sex life. Even to the point of overkill sometimes. I mean, being realistic…all of our kids are birth control babies, if that tells you anything. So what happens when your sex life goes from healthy to nonexistent? I will admit, this has been the cause of SEVERAL of my breakdowns. Like…a lot of them. A. Lot. A lot lot lot.
As a wife, I feel like I am failing. I feel like sex is a very important part of a healthy relationship and marriage. It’s not the most important part, but it is most definitely not an aspect of your relationship to ignore. Not to mention, if I am being completely and totally open (which I am really trying to do without being vulgar) I enjoy sex with my husband. A lot. Which is good. Since, you know, we are married and all. We normally have sex like…every other day. On a good stretch it’s once a day. Sometimes we go a week or so in between. But our sex life is usually pretty active. Almost three weeks ago we went from almost always every other day to…nothing. At all.
This has led to my husband feeling helpless. I am very used to a healthy sexual relationship with my husband, and going from a respectable 55-60 MPH to 0 in the blink of an eye? It has left me feeling very frustrated. I’ve broken down into tears on multiple occasions due to those feelings of frustration. My husband is dealing with his own feelings of frustration due to all of this.
Let me pause and say this: we understand the necessity and importance of the abstinence. We are not under any illusion as to how important it is. The mental understanding and emotional willingness to abstain doesn’t negate the physical urges that our bodies have become accustomed to satisfying over the last few years. That being said…
We have become intimate on a much deeper level since all of this has happened. Oftentimes, since this has happened, we lay together naked and just observe each other. Sometimes he gives me back massages, and sometimes I just gently scratch his back for him.
On more than one occasion, I have “taken care” of him. (I am so mortified right now, I am literally blushing. My FRIENDS read this! Gah…) He has protested because I can’t be “taken care of.” There is a metaphorical “closed for season” sign on my lady parts. Even ignoring the risks of infection, any nipple or clitoral stimulation can bring on labor. But here is my viewpoint. I know how horrible I feel, being frustrated like I am. And being that I am so frustrated, I have been a little on edge lately. I’m sure that the stress of the situation is also a big part of it, but the sexual frustration aspect is nothing to be sneezed at either. So, knowing how I am affected by the lack of sex in our lives, I know that he has to be frustrated as well. And, as sucky as it is, I feel like it is better for our marriage for only one of us to be frustrated in that way than for both of us to be frustrated like that. DON’T get me wrong. I am not the bow-down-to-my-husband kind of wife. I am generally very obsessed with the principle of the situation. If my husband was wrong in an argument, I refuse to apologize first. That sort of thing. But objectively speaking, knowing how (for lack of a more apt description) bitchy I have been without sex, I would rather not combine my bitchiness with his. And to be very honest, it helps that he doesn’t expect it and even tries to refuse it because he feels bad. It shows that he really appreciates the gesture. If I felt that he expected it or didn’t appreciate it, I would be cut him off. I’m just being honest. But he hasn’t. He has never been very affectionate or demonstrative. But since this has happened, he has changed a lot. In the last three weeks, he has bought me more flowers than he has bought me in our entire relationship. He went all out for Valentine’s Day. All of our other Valentine’s Days were ignored (by him). He never really “believed” in it. Before this, I knew that he loved me, but he never really came right out and told me that. He always assumed that I knew he loved me. In the last three weeks, during our times of intimacy, he will touch my face or…whatever…and tell me how beautiful I am. I find him staring at me at odd times and telling me randomly how much he loves me. He tells me in front of people how sexy I am. This from the man that has never been very good at Public Displays of Affection. He reaches in for kisses at odd times. I’ll be in the middle of a blog post, or taking my temperature, or finding the baby’s heartbeat, and he will reach in and give me a gentle kiss. As horrible as this situation is (and it is) it has brought us closer together as a couple, which is important to me. He has been there for me both metaphorically and literally. He has been my rock through all of this.
Now, just because I am who I am, I can’t end this post like that. Don’t take this to mean that our marriage is perfect. It isn’t. We argue over stupid stuff all the time. He irritates the crap out of me on a regular basis. And I am sure I irritate him equally. BUT…in the last few weeks, he has shown a whole lot more of those “redeeming qualities” that make the hard times worth it all to me, and remind me of the man I fell in love with.
Dear Little Baby,
Today is a great day! Not only are we at 22 weeks (with only a week left before we hit that oh-so-important 23 week mark!) today is ALSO your oldest sibling’s sixth birthday! We aren’t doing very much as far as a party, and I feel bad about that. I’ve always had a huge party for her–either at gymnastics or Chuck E. Cheese’s or SOMETHING, but this year I just can’t. She got a whole stack of new books, a bunch of Frozen stuff, and a new (locking) journal as well. She loves her journals. She has had one since she was four years old, but really started “keeping one” at five years old. Before that she would draw a picture in it every day. Now that she is old enough to spell and write without help, I figure she needed a new journal. I also got her a day planner to keep track of her homework. The journal and day planner match. And I got her a pack of matching sticky notes and a matching autograph book for everyone to write in for her birthday. She is really into reading and writing, and that is one of the things that I will always encourage in all of my children.
You have been super active today. You’ve been kicking all day long. While that is good, it also scares me. You are right on my cervix and I’m so scared that all of that irritation to my cervix will make it open. Not to mention, I don’t want you to get wrapped up in your cord. There are so many things that could go wrong right now, and with only one week left, it would be a tragedy to have come this far only to fail so close. Hang in there, Little Baby. We’re going to make it. One more week, Little Baby. Just seven more day. I love you an infinite amount of infinities.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what needs to be done, what the end result has to be, that I forget about the process. I’m looking so far ahead that I lose sight of where my feet are planted on the ground, and I trip and fall on my face. Those are the times that I break down and bawl my eyes out. I know that I have portrayed this tough, go-getter, never-doubted-my-decision-once, kick-ass-forget-the-names-’cause-they’re-not-important-anyway kind of mom (because that’s who I WISH I was) but I’m really NOT. No matter what I let people see, I am falling apart on the inside. This “put together” facade that I am showing the world and my family and my friends is just that–a facade. If you find yourself in the same boat that I happen to be rocking right now, you have to know that that is okay. I started this blog for myself–I wanted to be able to show my baby one day that he/she was ALWAYS wanted from the start. That we fought like Hellcats to get him/her here. And if the worst happens, I need to REMEMBER this. I need to be able to look back and say that YES, I did every single thing that I could. I left no stone unturned. But it has turned into so much more. This has turned into I guess some sort of inspirational story–people tell me that they are reading my blog every day and that AMAZES me. What started out as something of a diary for myself has turned into so much more. But I feel like I am almost lying. I feel like there are things that I can’t (or shouldn’t) put in my letters to the baby. So I feel like, to “keep it real,” I need to inject a little realism here.
I cry every single day. This hasn’t been a walk in the park. This isn’t as easy on me as I let people believe. Every single day I try to balance being a good mother to the kids that are already here with what could kill the baby I am carrying. Every single day I wake up, take my temperature, check the (copious) amount of fluid that comes out of me for color and smell. I use my fetal doppler to check the baby’s heartbeat. And then I give myself a shot in the stomach. And I usually cry before, during, and after the shot. It HURTS LIKE HELL. I have to stick myself in the stomach, and the medicine itself burns like the Hell Fires of Hades are under my skin. I get those shots twice a day until I deliver. And I do it because I refuse to give up on this baby. I do it because I refuse to give in, give up, or give out. But believe me, it’s wearing me down.
After my morning shot, I get up, take my prenatal vitamin, make sure Jeremy changes Cayce and walks Beau, give Cayce her breakfast (usually a banana and applesauce, her two favorite foods in the world). I look around at my house (which is a horrible mess and I am embarrassed at its current state) and feel helpless. This usually prompts my second breakdown of the day. I want to do my dishes (that are so stacked up I can’t even see the bottom) I want to do my laundry pile (that is probably approaching critical mass) I want to scrub my floors (which could probably feature in a laboratory for new and unusual diseases) but I can’t. I guess hypothetically I could, but it was be to the serious detriment of this baby’s health. And that makes me feel helpless.
This isn’t the only thing going on in my life. My daughter, Cayce, was diagnosed with a heart condition. She has a large Atrial Septal Defect (a hole in her heart) with Pulmonic Valve Stenosis (meaning that too much blood is flooding her lungs and could permanently damage them) and Aortic Stenosis (meaning that the biggest artery in her body is getting hardened). This is going to require surgery, but she’s too little to do the surgery right now–if they did the surgery NOW it would have to be open heart surgery. They want to let it go until she is five years old and do the surgery through the artery in her leg (femoral artery). My husband needs me too. Everyone apologizes to me. Everyone asks me how I am doing. Nobody ever thinks about him. He is going through the same things that I am going through. He may not be physically going through them as I am, but his emotional involvement is the same. At the same time that I am trying to deal with my problems and sort out my feelings, I feel like I should be there for him too.
Plus, I hate my mom. I don’t have a very good familial relationship with…well, really with any of my family. There are some family members that I dislike less than others, but as far as my family goes, it is the picture of dysfunction. I don’t trust my mother, most of all though. I feel like the one person that should always be there for a child is the mother. And I feel like my mother has betrayed me more than anyone else in my life. She has hurt me more than any other one person in my entire life. I think that her horrible parenting has guided how I parent. I may not be the softest mom around (I yell at my kids, I do spank, I don’t believe in this new parenting crap) but by God, my children will always KNOW beyond a SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I have their back. The whole world may be against you, but I have your back. I didn’t have that from my parents (either one of them) and I feel like that is why it is so important for me to give it to my children. I feel like even if I am not the perfect mom, the one thing that is the most vital piece of parenting is that they know they always have someone to lean on and someone that they can trust. My mother was the absolute definition of a mother. She gave birth to me. (moth·er ˈməT͟Hər/ noun: a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.) I am a MOMMY. I kiss boo-boos. I clean up puke and crap and pee. I wipe tears. I do the inglorious jobs. I don’t just swoop in when all of the hard work has already been done and say, “Ta-Da! I’m here to be your Mother!” I don’t turn my back on my children when they need me. But I digress…
After I break down for the second time, I usually settle in to write my blog for the day. It’s (almost) always a letter to the baby. I feel like this is important. Then, Cayce is usually ready to get down. I let her down. I can’t really pick her up much right now, but I can get down on the floor and show her different toys and I can watch her and enjoy her playing. Around lunch time, I generally forage something for me and Cayce to eat. Usually, she eats a healthier lunch than I do. I generally just snack on carrots or something, because at lunch, Jeremy is at school and not home to make me eat. After Jeremy gets home, I am able to relax a little bit. I help with homework, I talk to my kids, I do Mommy stuff. After the kids go to bed it is time for my second shot of the day. This is usually breakdown number three of the day. I hate these shots. They hurt. They hurt like there are little miniature people inside of my stomach lighting my skin on fire from the inside.
Some days there are more break downs than others. Some days I spend most of the day crying. So if you are reading my blog, thinking how strong I am…don’t. I’m not strong. I’m just as weak as you are. I just might happen to lie better than you do. I don’t wear mascara because it would be a tell tale sign that I am not “dealing” as well as I like people to believe. If you are going through this (or anything else for that matter) and you are wishing that you were as “strong” as I am…don’t. Because I am NOT strong. I am determined. But I feel like the determination was more of a coping mechanism than anything else. Like I can’t accept the fact that anything bad can possibly happen because to do so would BREAK me. That doesn’t mean that I believe it any less NOW than I did at the beginning of all of this. I just means that I have a little more perspective now. We’re still going to make it. We’re still going to go all the way. And I feel that DEEP in my bones, in my GUT, in my HEART. But at least now I have more of an idea of WHERE that determination came from.
I feel like this post is completely disorganized and I feel like I rambled on and on about the same thing over and over. But…it’s HONEST. And that is what I needed to get across. Thank you all for reading this very long, very unorganized post.
Dear Little Baby,
This morning, I went through what is now our normal morning routine: at 10am, I get my shot in the stomach, take my temperature, and then find your heartbeat. This morning, your heartbeat was bouncing back and forth between 155 and 160. And it was strong. And it was loud. It was reassuring. It was right where it has been all along, so you are still hanging on, still defying all of the odds. Now, your older sister is sitting in the highchair eating apple sauce and a banana. It made me think of the nursery rhyme “Apples and Bananas.” So I went to Youtube and put it on for her to dance to. Applesauce and bananas are Cayce’s favorite food. I wonder what your favorite food is going to be? Are you going to have to have a feeding tube? Will you even be able to have a favorite food? I’m getting ahead of myself, Little Baby. With the way you have already proven to be a little fighter, I have no doubt that you are going to continue to defy the odds and be a happy and healthy little boy or girl. At first, we were planning on naming you Courtnie Claire if you are a girl, but Mommy (finally!) got Daddy to relent on the Courtnie name. I didn’t care much for it. I do like Claire, though. And now, I am thinking that your name has to reflect what a little fighter you are. Claire Hope is an option if you are a girl. But Hope doesn’t reflect the fact that YOU are a fighter and survivor.
Some of the GIRL names that kind of resonate with me are:
Matilda: Mighty in Battle
Evanee: Young Fighter
Ailith: Seasoned Warrior
Maia: Brave Warrior
Claire Matilda (ehh), Claire Evanee (ehh), Claire Ailith (I like it), Claire Maia (ehh), Claire Vivian (I like it).
For a boy name, your dad has had Carter Samuel picked out since before we even got pregnant with you. He is absolutely convinced that you are a boy. But again I want something that reflects how hard you have fought for life. Soo…
Some of the BOY names that resonate with me:
Liam: Strong Willed Warrior
Samuel: God Has Heard (ehh…doesn’t really reflect that you are a fighter…)
Carter Liam (okay…), Carter Owen (probably my favorite), Carter Ethan (like it…), Carter Samuel (like it but the meaning doesn’t resonate with me).
At any rate, Little Baby, you will have a name. And it will be all yours. Hang in there Little Baby. Only 8 more days. I love you SO MUCH.
Dear Little Baby,
Yesterday I had my appointment with Dr. Parson. You are still doing well. I’m still not showing any signs of infection. Every single day we get closer to 23 weeks (only 9 more days!) and every single day we wake up, we are defying the odds more and more. Today it is snowing. Even the community college is closed! (Anyone that has ever attended a community college knows that the community colleges close last. After the schools, after the bases, after all of the local businesses…) It is supposed to snow all day long. In North Carolina (especially on the coast) snow that sticks is pretty rare. Your big sisters will get to play in the snow later on today. Later today, the snow is supposed to turn to rain, and then anything that melts and any rain that falls will freeze tonight. So, North Carolina is on its second year of an exceptionally cold winter. Now that I am back home, all of my “adopted kids” are over here. We have a fire going in the fireplace, and the house is cozy in spite of the fact that your Daddy has been in charge of cleaning for the last few weeks (read: the house is a mess). In two days, it will be your oldest sister’s birthday. I am so excited for her birthday, because the same day we will be 22 weeks. Hang in there Little Baby. We’re going to make it.