So far, 2012 has completely jerked me around, flipped me inside out and hung me upside down by the ankles.
You see, as the new year came in I realized I was pregnant. Over time I got a few positive pregnancy tests confirming what the newly found ten pounds, much larger (and more painful) chest, exhaustion and increased sense of smell had already confirmed for me. There was a baby on the way.
This is the very first time I have had a truly unexpected pregnancy. Now, I have nothing against another child. In fact, I would be thrilled if number four would just arrive via stork and bypass the whole pregnancy situation. Chris and I have even talked about adopting in the future. We have no problem with a bigger family- we just have a problem with me being being the baby maker.
Chris, especially, never wants to see me pregnant again. My mother and many other people (including a few doctors) have advised against it. For me, pregnancy involves being severely ill. It involves complications. It involves hospitalizations (7 weeks straight with Jonas), and lots of inpatient days filled with IV fluids and medications designed to keep me from throwing up until my organs shut down from dehydration. (Oh, how I wish that were hyperbole). I have hyperemesis gravidarum. I also have pre-term labor, months on bed rest and a history of running out of amniotic fluid weeks before my due date. Pregnancy scares the crap out of my husband because he has to watch his wife slowly disintegrate. It isn’t appealing to me, either. I’m a doer, so being flat on my back and having to watch everything around me go to seed because I’m not available to tend a house, or properly care for my children, or even get myself showered without help is pure hell. The loss of control is worse than the nausea, a slow psychological torture for a type-A individual like myself. I can’t even imagine what the ill health is doing to my body on a cellular level. It is also unbearably lonely. If I were hydrated enough, I would cry buckets of tears the whole time because it sucks that badly.
All that being reality, I will tell you that every single day of it is worth it, because there is nothing in this world as precious as motherhood- yes, even if it nearly kills you.
So, I was shocked. I was overwhelmed. I felt like I had five weeks to accomplish everything I had planned for the next year. I felt like I was being given another chance at motherhood, after being told it was over. I was excited and terrified and wary and hopeful and so confused I couldn’t even put a label on how I was feeling for two weeks straight. I couldn’t even talk about it, because I just didn’t have the words. I finally landed on bewildered. I was completely and totally bewildered.
I greedily envisioned another beautiful daughter. Tiny dresses, baby dolls- a sister for the precious seven year old who slipped into the boy’s bedroom where I was half asleep the other night, trying to get Gabe to rest, and said, “I wish I had a sister to comfort me” as she curled up on the floor with a blanket and pillow, breaking my heart into a thousand pieces.
I saw another Christmas stocking filled (already purchased a few Christmases ago, out of sheer, blind hope), smiling family portraits, weddings and missions and being rich with grandchildren. I saw fights and sibling rivalry. I heard the increased volume in our home and felt my matching anxiety level. I saw hugs and sweetness and the charity only children have. I considered the possibility of Autism, Down syndrome and a million other things that can unexpectedly change everything. I saw excited grandparents and proud great grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles- a family full of love, full of welcome. I saw bills, too. Braces, a broken leg, college, more bedrooms; thank heaven our car easily seats another two people already!
I foresaw months of vomiting; malnutrition and dehydration defining every moment of my existence, brutally carving everything I loved out of my control and out of my life, until all I could do was lay there and wait for labor to arrive and painfully, mercifully give me back my life. I considered falling apart- again. I saw my children derailed in their teaching and shaping, nine months off because I didn’t have anything left to give. I saw my oldest, who had already been through this twice do it again- thankfully old enough to be helpful, but young enough to still need a lot of helping.
I laid awake many nights seeing it all, and when it was entirely reviewed, I got on my knees and begged God to let me keep this child.
Early on in this, I had a very clear impression that I was indeed, expecting, but that I would lose the pregnancy. I tried really hard to ignore that whisper. I worked out plans in my head where we just made it all work. I turned every negative into a positive fix. I went completely Pollyanna on the issue because it would work because it just had to work. I was unreasonable.
I also wisely told myself not to get attached. I have a history of miscarriage. I have a medical chart that clearly states that if I beat the odds and fall pregnant, the other set of crappy odds will come along and swiftly destroy that tiny miracle. I proved it wrong once; we have Gabe. Wise or not, the heart wants what it wants. Dreams you’ve denied yourself for years are pretty hard to set aside when they magically appear, even for the most prudent and calloused of us.
I tried really hard to resist, but it was such a happy dream.
I miscarried on Friday.
I can’t begin to tell you how completely jerked around I felt. Why in the world would God even put this on my plate, just to take it away? This was cruel. This was unfair. This made no sense.
I was so willing to do this, even if it was hard, if that was God’s plan for me. It was suggested that He was testing me- and I felt hurt that He would even think I wouldn’t shift my paradigm to fit His will. To the best of my human ability, I always had before. Do I still require proving in that of all areas? What a horrible suggestion. And to test me in reverse by taking it away- well, that’s just mean. And then I felt guilt for thinking that about the one person who knows me best, who knows my needs and who has always met them.
I wanted to yell at every person who ever thought my life was easy. I wanted to walk out in public, in front of anyone who had ever thought me capable or lucky, and give them a dressing down because they. were. so. wrong. I wanted to scream at anyone who had ever hated me and wished me ill. I wanted to tell these faceless, mystery people exactly where they could get off because dammit, this hurt. I knew it was completely irrational.
I felt inadequate. The words Just Plain Not Good Enough rang pretty loudly in my ears. I felt betrayed. I felt seriously annoyed with my Creator and that scared me, because I have never spent a single day upset with God, even at the worst of times- even during previous losses. Inexplicably, it just hurt more this time. It has been more confusing this time, and the immediate peace that accompanied this before just wasn’t there. I can’t tell you why. I don’t know.
I pushed through my weekend, keeping as busy as I could. I built a Pinewood Derby car. I taught Maggie to make friendship bracelets. I read a book, folded laundry, and built a million train tracks with Gabriel. I went to church. I made twenty-five cinnamon rolls, even though I had no appetite. I threw myself into work. I went shopping. The house got cleaned and a tiny part of me was grateful when the dog got an upset stomach and required four different baths and kennel clean ups because of it. When I was so weak I thought I would pass out, I ignored it, laid down on a friend’s couch and watched a movie to put it out of my head.
Sunday night I knew I’d had it. I was so emotionally and physically drained there was nothing left. Miscarriages? They are silent and invisible, but so exhausting. I cleared Monday’s schedule, and it was a good thing because at 5:15am, I broke down. I gave myself Monday to just feel it. I am grateful for good friends who understand me well enough to step in, who don’t ask if they can help, but who just tell me how and when they are stepping in to cover me when I’m down.
I’m ok now. I don’t understand why this happens. Some pregnancies just aren’t viable. Sometimes bodies just don’t cooperate. I don’t need to understand why. Perhaps there is no why. All I need to know is who I am, and that I am truly loved. I know what God expects of me. All I need to do is follow that, and I’m just fine.
temple recommend interview. Temple recommends are serious stuff, as the interview is a time to review one’s life and make sure that you are truly worthy to enter the House of the Lord. Although most people who are trying to live a worthy life are, it is still a situation to be approached with reverence, respect and dignity.
I was nearly finished with my interview with my Bishop. He has asked me the usual questions about my belief in Christ and my dedication to the promises I have made with my Father in Heaven, and it is time to go. I stand up to shake his hand and when I do the elastic in my pantyhose breaks.
Now, I am hugely pregnant and these are not maternity nylons. They are normal nylons that are pulled onto the hips, but are riding low under the belly. They are also a little bit to small, due to the pregnancy weight gain, which probably caused this problem in the first place. They have absolutely nothing to stop them on their very fast decent down my legs. I am frozen in place, mortified as my nylons begin to fall.
I feel the blood start to rush to my cheeks as I plan my quick departure. I am considering my options at this point and plan to make a break for the ladies room at the end of the hall. My nylons are moving quickly, and I know I don’t have much time. The Bishop opens the door, guiding me out, and instantly his counselor begins to lead me the four feet to the Stake President’s office. This is in the opposite direction of the restroom, and I find myself in the middle of about ten six foot men. And wouldn’t you know it? The president is ready for me early so I can be ushered right in. My nylons are nearly to my knees. I can barely walk. There is no graceful way out of this. Ahhhh!!
Now, our Stake President’s waiting room has a senseless little recess in the wall, a tiny corner that a person can barely slip into, and would normally have no reason to go hiding in. I have never understood what the architect was thinking when this tiny, mini hallway that goes nowhere was built into the room. But today, it is my salvation. The second the counselor strikes up a brief conversation with the president, and I duck into the corner.
I am so pregnant that I can’t see my feet, and about as graceful as a beluga whale, but I’m hopping out of my heels and slipping my errant nylons over one swollen ankle at a time, all the while hearing the counselor ask, “where is Sister Killian? She was just here. Where did she go?” He quickly spots me shuffling about so he pokes his head around the corner, totally unsuspecting, and then jumps back apologizing just as I yank the hose off my toes with an ungraceful flourish. I am mortified, and yet laughing. I am also aware that my face is on fire.
I am trying not to break into hysterics as I stuff my useless nylons into my purse and walk into my second interview. You can imagine how well that worked. ]]>
Here is Gabe at one week old. Ovaries a’twitchin’, anyone?
Ok. So. It has been kind of crazy around here. Within one week of Gabe’s birth my gramma passed away and my son had surgery. Can I just say that all that stuff on top of a joyful birth is a lot to handle when you’re swimming in postpartum hormones? I find myself spontaneously bursting into tears or feeling full of anxiety, and then completely full of awe and wonder and love for my children. . .and then I cry again.
Jonas’ surgery went very well. It was minor oral surgery, and I was unreasonably worried over the general anesthesia and him feeling horrible while he recovered. I heard him arrive home with my husband after the surgery and I was so worked up about seeing him hurting and sad and dopey that I couldn’t even come down stairs. When I finally did walk down the stairs, I found a trail of empty pudding cups and a kid blithely playing a video game and then spraying imaginary spider-webs all over the living room and bouncing off the walls. He never took a pain killer, never complained, never looked or acted as though anything out of the ordinary had happened.
My daughter is experiencing severe attitude issues. She is trying to control every tiny aspect of her life, from who is putting on her pajamas, to what she is eating, to the music Chris is playing in the car. Loads of meltdowns and plenty of moments in the corner, which isn’t normal for her. She is happy about the baby, but clearly, feels like her world is in a bit of a tailspin. Hopefully she sweetens up again soon.
I begged Chris to take more leave. And he did. Chris is not leaving on a deployment any time soon (he is just taking leave from regular work at the squadron), but I just wanted him around. He has been picking up my major slack, and he is so cute to watch snuggling with his new son. My husband is a very good father. I love that about him more than almost anything else.
I had a very unpleasant experience the other day. I was nursing Gabriel and when I finished I stood up and suddenly gushed quite a lot of bright red blood. Not only did this worry me, but it made me exceptionally lightheaded. After a few hours the feeling passed. About twenty-four hours later the same thing (on a smaller scale) happened. Since I am supposed to be finished bleeding heavily, and it is rather strange that aside from these gushes everything in that area had stopped completely for a few days and in between, I went in to the ER at the behest of the nurses in the Mother/Baby unit.
I didn’t want to go in because I was pretty sure this was going to involve an exam in an area no one who has recently given birth wants anyone anywhere near. And it did. And it sucked. And it turns out I have/had fluid in my uterus and a huge clot blocking my cervix, which is why everything had stopped. They figured that when I changed positions or the uterus contracted then the clot shifted and caused the gushing. Supposedly. At any rate, if it doesn’t resolve on its own, I will have to have a D&C. I would really rather not. The good news is, aside from the fact that there is still a lot of blood happening, things seem to be a little more normal. I’m hoping my doctor agrees when he sees me again and that everything has fixed itself.
Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy all of your comments and e-mails? I love your insights and stories and support. It really makes this fun. Thanks for being here.]]>
Thank you for all of the well wishes! We are still all doing well here, figuring out some new routines and enjoying the babymoon. Gabriel was nocturnal in the womb, and continues to be, so I’m pretty tired and really glad to have Chris on board!
I do plan on updating sometime soon with his birth story, I just need more than five minutes to do that and I’m a little busy staring at a sleeping baby right now. To sum up: natural childbirth, back labor is the most amazingly painful thing, and holy cow that was fast! Full story coming soon!
There will be lots of scrappy posts in the next week while I recover because the night before he was born I had a huge creative energy surge and created some new layouts and cards and really went to town! If I had pre-baby adrenalin on a weekly basis, I could climb mountains!]]>
Gabriel Brian Killian
February 18th, 2009
6 lbs 11 oz
Mama and baby are doing well.
A few weeks ago the kids and I were sitting by the computer and I mentioned that I was having contractions. Jonas needed an explanation and so I brought up and online image of "your pregnancy this week". The kids and I had a quick anatomy lesson where I explained the umbilical cord, the placenta and how the uterus contracted to squeeze the baby out. They were enthralled, and both asked where the baby comes out. I did my best to show them on the picture and on myself the general area that the baby delivered through. Jonas immediately hollered, "Your butt!" In silly six year old horror and mirth.
I explained that, no, there was another hole down there called a vagina and that was were babies come out. I also mentioned that only girls have them. Jonas considered this for a second before asking, "But Mom, where does a baby come out of me?”
“Babies don’t come out of you, Jonas. Only girls have babies. You really dodged a bullet there, son.”
The questions relating to how the baby gets out didn’t phase me in the least; it was an hour later while driving in rush hour traffic that the subject of how the baby got in there came up. I tried to be quick on my feet with the barrage of pointed questions that Jonas was throwing at me. Because he is only six years old (not to mention his four year old sister was hanging on every word), I figured sex really didn’t need to come into play here. He wanted to know about the baby, not the penis, so I opted to leave that entire part of the story out for a few more years.
I told him that all girls have eggs and that when a Mommy and Daddy decide to have a baby they grow one of those eggs into a person. I told him that the egg gets bigger and bigger and grows arms and legs and hair and fingernails and reminded him of the umbilical cord and placenta and the pictures he had seen. This was all fine and well, but he continued to ask questions that were increasingly difficult to navigate without using more scientific terms or diving head first into a full blown lecture on sex. For twenty minutes he threw question after question at me asking for detailed explanations about how this baby grew, and just what exactly we did to make him start growing and how would Maggie have a baby someday and what did people do if they wanted twins. . .my head was spinning and I was starting to sweat!
I was at the freeway on ramp when all of this interrogation came to a head. I was out of reasonable, six year old explanations and feeling like quite the flustered idiot when Jonas launched one more very loaded question my direction.
“AND MOM”, he practically yelled.
“Yes?” I cringed.
“WHY IS PLUTO NO LONGER A PLANET!? What is the deal with that?”
He had no idea why I busted up laughing. ]]>
In the first hour at the hospital I went from a 3 to an "almost four" and from 50% effaced to 75% effaced. The nurses were excited for me! I was excited for me! I went for a walk around the hospital, called Chris, called my parents, and then everything stopped and there was no baby born on the 12th. There was also no baby born on Friday the 13th, and I'm not particularly hopeful about Valentine's Day either.
I am hopeful about February 18th. This is the date I have been telling my doctor since I conceived this boy. You see, Jonas is June 18th and Maggie is December 18th, so another 18th would be quite fitting and very easy to remember. Since having children has pretty much eaten up all the spare information storage in my brain, I think having all three kids on the 18th would be a great way to streamline the information. Right now my son has two different drop off times at school in the mornings and three different time to pick him up during the week. Add the answers to questions like, “Where’s my toothbrush?” and “were those the same socks my son wore yesterday?” into the mix and I could use some simplicity.
Lasting until the 18th would also set a major record for me. It would be the first time I carried a baby to term. Term is not the same as due date. Term means 37 weeks and not having to check the “preemie” box at every pediatric and school visit until the kid is 25. Having never been within a month of my “due date”, I’m not entirely certain what that means, although with the rate my ankles are swelling and the amazing pain in my pelvis that is preventing me from getting back up after I bend over, I can only assume it means you get a very special place in heaven. I don’t need that place. I’ll be happy in the place reserved for people who just go to term once in their life.
As it is with all moments of my life, things are cropping up right and left that need my attention. The biggest is that Jonas will be having oral surgery on the 25th. Apparently, shoddy teeth and issues requiring surgical intervention run on my husband’s side of the family and Jonas got the short end of the stick. Of course, because I’m hormonal and a mother, I’m freaking out about the scary general anesthesia and the fact that I could go into labor on the same day my son is having surgery and wouldn’t that be just ducky. Or I could have the baby the day before, be in the throes of postpartum hormone soup, and be completely useless while he is recovering. Or. . .or. . .or. . .I could just imagine some happy, positive scenarios where I somehow float through the whole she-bang in perfect peace and harmony. . .find a happy place find a happy place find a happy place. . .
My mother said it will all work out. I said, “So what you are really saying is, this will all happen how it happens and I will deal.” Which is life, is it not? Anyone with a reasonably forward moving attitude will have it all “work out”, despite the total frustration of the moment. I just wish I could somehow plan all of this to where I could be 100% there for a newborn and 100% there for a recovering six year old, and keep a perfect, lovely, peaceful and clean home on top of it all. Ha! Yes, I know this is not possible. And I do know it will all work out. If I were less hormonal, I would probably handle this better.
Anyway, this is what is going on at our house. I’m still working and still sleeping during every spare moment. I’m still very pregnant. And it is ok. Right now, it’s ok.
I have two pans of oven tacos and two pans of lasagna in the freezer, just waiting to be pulled out and baked. I put so many gallons of milk on the grocery list that when Chris came home from the store he asked me if he had missed the memo on the apocalypse. I made him a double batch of chocolate chip cookies to help use up a few gallons. And then I washed, folded and put away every piece of fabric that may or may not come in contact with my newborn at any point in the next two years, quadruple washing the cloth diapers to up their absorbency. After that, I transformed my bathroom into a baby diapering and bathing haven complete with brand new Burt's Bees baby toiletries.
I have the urge to go roll my husband out of bed, steal the sheets and pop them in the wash too, but I'm just sane enough to wait until morning. It's on the official to do list. Instead, I think I'll go clean the scraproom. That ought to keep me occupied for awhile.
Chris has requested that I go into labor before morning so I can get him out of his chemical warfare training tomorrow. As much as I would love to oblige, I don't think my body is going to help him out. I did go into labor on demand with Maggie, so Chris has reason to hope. That day I was told to go into labor "after 3pm on graduation day and before 6am the next morning before they started him on his new work schedule". It got us a very nice two weeks off for Christmas, but I don't think I can do a repeat performance.
I am sick to death about thinking about labor. You guys must be sick to death of hearing me gripe about it. I mean, really, I'm a whiner-baby who has never carried a baby to term. Shut up already about the labor when you're only 36 weeks and change along, right? I agree. If my body would just ease up and take a break from the constant contractions and other teasing, it would be a lot easier to focus on other important things. Nice things that I can control, time, set expectations for and predict. Like pies. I could bake pies and they would come out very nicely, and I could find solace in pie. If, after my 10:00 doctor appointment tomorrow and cleaning my house all night, I am still awake and twitchy I will bake pies. They get done much faster than babies.]]>
I was reclined on the couch with my huge belly sticking out when Maggie walked over and asked if Gabriel was awake or sleeping. He was very quiet at the time so I told her that he was asleep. She softly laid both hands over my belly button to keep out the light to help him sleep. ]]>