Monday, February 27, 2012

2 weeks of time lost

I can't believe my brush with death was 2 weeks ago.  First of all, one of the side effects of anemia must be short term memory loss because I can't remember a LOT about the last two weeks and second of all...well I forgot what the second thing was, but I'm sure it will come back to me.  Oh yes!  Saying 'my brush with death' seems sorta melodramatic to me even though it was truly that.  I guess some part of myself can't even go there and so I turn to life, as it continues to bubble and flow all around me with beautiful children and wonderful husband and kind and generous family that gave of themselves and came at the drop of a hat when we needed them most. 

I went from surgery/blood transfusion and miscarriage to horrific cold and then a pinched nerve in my back.  All in two weeks.  Needless to say, my state of being has been taxing the limits of my dear family. I am as anxious for myself back as they are.  But time is the only thing that will make that happen and according to the doctors, it could be 6 weeks or 6 months before I'm back to normal.  So no babies in the works until then.  It really is a grace to slow down, sleep when I am able and say no to things.  My children are at wonderful ages and I just want to drink them in.  Judah is on the cusp of words and fills every waking moment stomping around our house on his pudgy baby legs grunting or yelling out half words to us.  He is constantly on the move, pushing cars, rolling things, throwing balls, playing in the dog water. (Sigh) Signing three new signs in a week!  (more, please, all done - they get him what he needs)  Cora is imagination run riot and we have 'conversations' about what she thinks about the world.  I am often astounded at what she comes up with.  I can't remember it all, but in the moment, it is wonderful. 

My sweet hubs continues to work full time as well help me with all of the heavy lifting that comes with housework and kiddos, plus holding me when I am a wreck and tired from an hour long trip to the grocery store.  I may not remember it all, but I know I am loved and cared for.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The day before Valentines Day - to the brink and back with a miscarriage gone wrong

This account is mainly for my record and to give praise to God for healing and help in my time of need.  Just so you know, there will be mention of blood and lots of it.  I don't want to forget.  Often medical professionals forget to tell us what is really going to happen when we miscarry or they sanitize it so we won't be afraid.  In both cases of my 2 miscarriages, they have forgotten to tell me what to watch for in case things go wrong.  This is my story of things going wrong.  Proceed with caution if you are squeamish.

I knew on the 3rd of February that this pregnancy was no longer viable.  I grieved.  I mourned.  I wrote.  I cried.  I felt ready for the miscarriage to begin.  I wanted it over with, but was grateful for the time I had to consider my lost girl without being in the throes of the actual loss.  I still am.  Yesterday would have been much harder if I was also mourning her still in the way I had been.

On Saturday night (the 11th) the miscarriage began with some spotting, but no cramping.  I went to pick up the meds that my Midwife had called in for me on Sunday morning and they had no record of a prescription on file for me right then.  I meant to check the other store nearby, but forgot.  This, in hindsight, was pretty crucial for me.

Sunday night, the cramping began and I was grateful that it was going to be over soon.  I sat in the tub letting the contractions come, but soon the water was deep red.  I emptied the tub and tried to get out, but the blood was running down my legs and I was making a mess of the bathroom.  I grabbed some old towels and one of those giant postpartum pads they gave me in the hospital when my son was born.  The ones that are literally a foot and a half long and 9 inches wide.  I went down to hang out with Matt while he watched Deep Space Nine on Netflix and then got ready for bed.  The pad was already halfway filled in half an hour.  I changed it to the last one I had and went to bed at 10:30pm.  I woke up at 3:45am and the pad was completely full, but not of dark red blood, just of fluid.  I went to the bathroom and a massive blood clot came out of me.  When I say massive, I mean it would have filled more than a pint sized bucket.  I got back in the tub, not realizing that this amount of blood loss was bad.  I had had lots of bleeding with my last miscarriage and though this was considerably more than that, I still felt like I was OK.  In hindsight that was wrong too.  I rinsed off and attempted to go back to sleep.  The only pads I had left were the huge overnight ones that they sell in the grocery store.  I put 4 of these side by side on the old pad to hold them in place and went back to bed.  More gushing.  More giant clots and in 20 minutes the 4 pads were full.  I figured I'd wait it out in the bathtub so I wouldn't make a mess.  It was nearly 5:30am by then and the children and hubs were still all asleep.

I began to get dizzy and I thought, "This can't be right.  I'd better wake up Matt and get him to call the midwife."  I made it to the bed and grabbed his leg and said "I need you." before the first wave of nausea hit me.  Let me just clarify and sat that I am one of those women who vomit easily.  I have a stomach like a rock so for this to happen to me was an unusual symptom.  I made it back to the toilet in time for another gush of blood and clotting and as I heaved into the sink I said, "Call 911!"  The baby woke up.  Hubs called 911.  My girl woke up and found me in the tub, full of questions which I tried to calmly answer.  The nausea and light headedness was passing and by the time the paramedics got there I was feeling better.  I rinsed all the blood away so Cora wouldn't see it and so neither did the paramedics.  I talked with the paramedics and my blood pressure seemed OK so I sent them away, promising to go in first thing to see the midwives.  Also a mistake.

Matt took the kids downstairs to feed them while I sat upstairs in the tub.  He had the baby monitor on so he could hear me.  Not 20 minutes later I found it hard to remain conscious and began to call for Matt.  He never heard me.  He heard a knocking sound on the bathtub that I have no recollection of making.  I'll just say the angel watching over me knocked.  By the time he came I was vomiting again and more clots and blood were coming out.  He called 911 again and the spell passed, again.  This time I went with them.  My 3 yr old girl watched with big eyes as they took her Mama away on a 'rolling bed' in nothing but a bloody nightshirt and Matt's coat thrown hastily on top of me, and into an ambulance while I yelled to Matt which hospital I would be at.  A kind friend came over and picked up the kids as I was being loaded up.

An ambulance ride.  2 bags of fluid.  More gushing bleeding and clots. My blood pressure was 90/50 in the ambulance.  Into the hospital.  More fluids.  More doctors.  More exams.  A huge clot again.  The doctor took a picture of it with her Iphone to send to OB for proof.  Matt found me.  They wanted to see how many pads I went through in an hour and handed me a large obstetric one.  It lasted less than 10 minutes.  Another pelvic exam by a resident that was possibly the most awful thing I've ever experienced.  She will be getting a letter from me about gentleness and talking to a patient.  I'm a person, not a cadaver. They talked to me about my options and  I opted for a D&C even though I had wanted to avoid it.  I knew I couldn't go home still bleeding like that, but I didn't know how bad I was.  I was still talking and not in much pain.  There was not a lot of cramping.  Some, but compared to labor, it was a 2 rather than a 10.  My BP wasn't recovering and they couldn't give me anything in the way of pain killers.

Upstairs to pre-op and I'm chatting with the nurses, asking where they are from and telling them about my family.  A friend came to see Matt for a moment and I chatted and joked with him.  I felt tired, but not in any pain.  I didn't realize that I was in bad shape.  My BP was low and they laid me flat.  I couldn't really lift my head, but I wasn't afraid.  Just tired.  The doctor started to talk to me about how I MIGHT need some blood.  She said they are careful about giving it since there is some risk, but how they only do it to save people's lives.  She then quickly reassured Matt who must have looked shocked at the news his wife was not gonna make it unless they gave me blood.  I told them "I am kinda seeing spots" and the doc rushed off to put in the order.  Within 10 minutes, I was receiving blood from some kind doner who had my universal blood donor type.  We can give to everybody, but only receive from each other.  Thank you, whomever you are!  I intend to donate when I am feeling better in thanks.

The operation and the first bits of recovery went by like a blur and suddenly it was after noon.  I was talking nonsense to the nurses and I'm pretty sure I started singing Three Little Birds by Bob Marley at one point...."Don't worry about a thing.  Cause every little thing's gonna be alright."   (Cora and I sing it a lot) I talked to Matt out of a drug haze and thought about how much I hate the drug haze and then little by little I am myself again.  My blood count came up.  My blood pressure came up.  I stopped bleeding, mostly.  The nurses were so glad to talk to me and telling me just how bad I had been and how they were pretty worried about me.  Apparently I had been white as a sheet.  By the time the doctor came in to see me, she was shocked!  I had color.  I was just coming back from the bathroom and she thought she had the wrong patent, I looked so good.  Needless to say, they thought my bloodwork and vitals were good enough to go home by 5pm.  So I did.  Grateful.  Alive.  And eager to remember that this day is a gift.  And that though I may not like lots of medical intervention, when it is necessary, it saved my life.  So did the angel who knocked on the tub.  Happy Valentine's Day.  Love well the ones you have.  I know I will be loving on mine extra today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Remembering the sun

Warm February
Warm February Warm February 
Judah may look a bit grumpy here, but I think he was reaching the 'tuckered out' stage our Nature Play adventure.
This has been such an odd winter.  Not really even winter at all, compared with last year when we had no less than 12 snows (unusual for Middle TN).  Just last week, I was sitting on a turquoise bench watching the kids dig in the mud and sand with bare feet.  Yes, bare feet in February.  Scandal!  As I sat there in my jeans and long sleeve shirt (with flip flops) I thought 'It's hot! How strange for February.'  And now the next week it's a little bit more chilly and the sky is grey.   So I'm remembering last weekand making a pumpkin pie.  Not that pie and sunshine have anything in common, I just want some. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Show up

Sometimes the hardest thing I do every day is to show up. I am a superhero to my littles who think I know every answer and can do anything. I took one of the kid's toys apart and cleaned a little corrosion off and tightened some loose wires and my daughter ran through the house yelling "Mama fixed it, Mama fixed it!" as if I had just lept over the moon.

I'm in the middle of hard things.  I want to lie in my bed and just thing and cry sometimes. The morning dawns and I'm not ready.  The baby stirs beside me and throws his little chubby arm over my face and sometimes it makes me annoyed rather than delighted.  My three year old comes skipping in telling me the sun has come up and it's "Suntime" and I want to yell at her for waking me up.  I did, in fact, this morning. I am so grateful for the forgetful love of children who forgive me for being crazy.

I get caught up in the mess, in the cleaning, in eggs and fruit, and bottles and laundry and I turn on the music to give a flow to the insanity.  Then my little girl puts on her princess dress and paper crown and begins to dance around the room.  She is graceful and not, all at once.  And then she comes to me and says "Can I have you?  Will you dance with me?"  And I think of all the things I have to do and say and write and be and songs that will never get written during naptime because naptime no longer exists for one of my children and the other is in a battle of wills with me to give his up too.  And then I see her.  And I stop.  And we dance in the living room and she thinks my bathrobe spins like a pretty dress.

You don’t have to save the world. All that hero talk is only superficial stuff. If you want to change the world, all you gotta do is show up, show up, just show up.
No great things have I done, no great things have I done, only small things with great love.
Show Up by Jill Philips and Andy Gullahorn

Monday, February 06, 2012

Messy Mondays - pondering the excess

toy heaps
One of several baskets of 'stuff' on the toy shelf

Cora and I have just begun some of my favorite books, the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  We usually get through one chapter per night but this morning she requested two extra ones!  I agreed and we had a cozy time reading while Judah got his wiggles out. (Walking, yelling, chomping things, crawling through the tunnel etc.)

toy heaps 
Enough cars for 3 kids.  (there are more)
Then we began our chores for the day, a good portion of which is 'putting things away', and I began to wonder how we got to the state of having so many things.  In her story, Laura Ingalls had one doll, and that she got around her 4th Christmas.  Before that it was a corn cob wrapped in a handkerchief.  Not much for Ma to clean up.  But then again maybe she didn't anyway.  Girls of that era (and boys too) were expected to work, keep their things cleaned up, help their parents with chores, keep their beds made, and selves tidy, as well as schooling.

Of course, I don't envy Ma's regular work,  (We just read the chapter where they butchered the hog and Ma was making sausage by hand and rendering fat on her stove for days!  Pass.) and I can see why things were kept simple.  I know I've got it easy with my washing machine running and my dishwasher drying the dishes for me right now while I blog.  But at the same time, part of our messy life here is just too much stuff, too many clothes, too many things, both of my own and the children.

Baby clothes heaps 
The storage room of shame.  In this room I am more like a hoarder.  People give me children's clothes and baby things and I say yes to all, regardless of need.  In my head it's because I want to pass it on to others who may need it, but reality gets in the way and it just sits here.

Seriously.  When I pack away each outgrown season of clothing, if they haven't even worn them all, there is a problem.  Granted, we have been so blessed by the sharing of friends that I literally have only bought shoes for my children in all their days of life, but we have been given more than we need.  It's time to pare down, to pass on, to give to others what we have been given.  To sort out all the things that are never used or lost in the heap.  To put away or give away.  But not put too much away, because my storage space, it overfloweth. 

Baby clothes heaps 
Least you think it's just part of this giant room that is filled.  Oh no.  The whole room is filled with baby junk.  (And boxes and linens.  Sigh.  No closets in this old house!)

In some ways, losing this baby has given me a chance to get my act together before we really have a 3rd child. (5th child.  I count my angel babies in my heart.)  To make space for him/her in our home, not just in my heart.  To paint, to prepare, to sort, to pare down.  To rid my home of the extra so we can enjoy the gifts we have been blessed with.

(Messy Mondays are inspired by Flo Oaks and her Messy Monday blog)

Friday, February 03, 2012

For my lost girl

For the empty place that would have been filled by you
for the tears that must be cried that won't be put aside
And the dreams of you that I have had that died with you, sweet girl with you
These I mourn this dark morning.

For the sister friend who longs to know you more
For the heart that breaks in her, my lovely little bird
And the way she asks the unanswerable question why, that my heart also cries
These I mourn this dark morning

But the sun will rise in spite of the dark
And we will rise from this place and see you face to face
Someday.  When we see Him face to face.

Sorrow and Joy

Sometimes I wonder the wisdom of telling the world I am pregnant as soon as I find out, only to find out a month later that the baby never grew past cell stage and we've lost another one.  That makes 2 angel babies.  Last time I didn't have to explain to my 3 yr old why we weren't going to have a baby anymore.  A baby that she is convinced was a girl.  My big girl was only 1 then and I cried alone and with my hubs and she was oblivious to my grief.  Now my girl sits in my lap and cries and says "I want my baby sister to stay.  I don't want her to be dead."  She has a way of putting things together even if we avoid the word 'death'.  My little deep soul.  She breaks my heart with her yearning for her sister and I weep even more in my own grief for the loss of that sweet babe and the heartache that I see in her.  I hate death.  I hate pain.  I know they are a part of life, but I hate them.

Last time this happened (2010), I stopped blogging.  For a long long time.  I didn't want to share anything anymore.  I began again, but not the everyday joys and sorrows that I was spilling out into the internet universe.  For the very first time in my life I wanted to be quiet.  I wanted to be still and not talk about what I felt to people I didn't know.  Deep sorrow touched me for the first time.  Not that I had not had grief or death in my life before, but I was young and didn't know how to walk through the grief, so I avoided it. I got angry when anyone brought it up.  I was angry that they made me feel that again.  I wanted to forget it.  I wanted to get past it.

Now grief finds me again and I want to stay in it.  Long enough to remember and mourn.  But living babies call me and need me and are joyful and I find myself in a beautiful blend of sorrow and joy.  Joy for the lives I have been blessed with.  For the sweet boy and sweet girl that stayed and fill my life with wonder and beauty.  And sorrow for the sweet boy and girl that I lost that I will only see again in heaven.  And in this, I can move forward.
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