Monday, March 26, 2012

Mommy Mondays: Remembering

Three years ago this week I was headed to my awesome small-town family Dr. for a run-of-the-mill appointment. It was my fourth baby, so I had literally been through TONS of these appointments before, and felt I had the protocol down pat.

-pee in cup (and now that I think about it, this little portion deserves it's very own blog post. If you've ever attempted this with other children in the room, you know why.)
-measure that monster belly
-and hear the heartbeat

And that about covers it. I was an old pro at the routine, and so my husband knew I didn't want him to get off work to come along with me. We've never had those "fancy people" things like paid sick leave and vacation time and stuff, so him getting off work for anything unnecessary was rare.

I dropped my kiddos at my bff's house and headed in for the same-old/same-old.

Or so I thought.

Pee went as planned. Measure went as planned. But heartbeat didn't go as planned.

You know where I'm going with this.

I was 14 and a half weeks pregnant and had already heard a strong heartbeat at 10 weeks, I thought for sure the nurse must be mistaken. She called in the Doc who poured more freezing jelly on my tummy and tried and tried and tried to hear a heartbeat with the little machine. Even when he couldn't find it, I didn't panic--If there's one thing my body can do really well, it's carry babies. I had had three uneventful pregnancies that had ended in big healthy babies. I had never struggled to get pregnant. I never threw up once from morning sickness. THIS GIRL COULD DO PREGNANCY, I thought.

Besides, I was already past the first trimester and I was showing.

Dr. reassured me that the baby could be hiding, but at 14 and a half weeks, finding the heartbeat shouldn't be this hard. He sent me to the hospital (which was about 15 minutes away) for an ultrasound. I used the office phone (I didn't have a cell) to call Dan, but I still told him not to leave work. I was certain things would be fine. I went confidently into the radiology office but that's when things fell apart.

The waiting room was full but a team of people seemed to be waiting for me. "Are you Maggie?" A nurse asked. They took me right back to a room and assured me their most experienced tech would be working with me.

I got into the room and prayed and prayed the baby was fine while the tech began the ultrasound with the screen pointed away from me. It was probably a short ultrasound, but to me it felt like the longest one I'd ever had. And after a few minutes of silence, I knew the baby must not be alive.

I let the tears run down my cheeks and finally asked, "Is the heartbeat not there?"

He shook his head no and showed me the screen. The baby had anencephaly--a disease where part of their skull doesn't form completely. The tech estimated it had died only a few days earlier.

I lied when he asked me if I was ok. And bawled and bawled while I dressed and made my way back to my car. I can't believe I made it back home safely because I was so upset. No one should have to face that ultrasound alone.

Finally I walked into my friend's house and crumpled into her arms. Dan had just made it there too, to pick up the kids, and I just let him hold me.

The rest of the day was kind of an adrenaline rush of letting everyone know we had miscarried, and explaining the situation to our three little girls. Because I was further along I also had to have a DNC a few days later.

I spent the next little while going through the motions of motherhood and life, but feeling disappointed and even guilty. I knew the surgery was necessary, but I couldn't fathom the idea of taking a baby out of me that wasn't ready to be born. I felt horrible for being so depressed when I already had three healthy children at home and some women couldn't get pregnant at all. For a few days I couldn't function. I even ran out of the room crying after I was asked to hold my girlfriend's baby girl.

But soon out of the woodwork came so many women telling me about their own experiences with miscarriage. And I must say, hearing their stories buoyed me up. I know for some people, talking about such personal wounds isn't comfortable. They would rather grieve privately, and that's completely ok. For me, talking about it was a comfort.

And honestly, I think that's one of my main focuses with this blog--buoying each other up. When I meet a woman who tries to put off a perfect persona, am I drawn to her? Of course not. I feel inferior and depressed and intimidated by her. But when I meet someone who isn't afraid to say, "Guess what? I didn't even shower today!" I instantly feel a connection to her. It's the same in the writing community for me. I love sharing in your stories of struggle and triumph in taking your books from simple ideas to full blown novels.

So I guess that's why I am sharing my miscarriage story for the first time on my blog. Because tons of women go through it. I think one of the best salves we have as women is to be able to share in our successes and our failures, our joys and our sorrows.

Oh and by the way, we went on to have a total normal pregnancy and little boy about a year later.

I don't have a cutesy question for you today, but have you had experiences where sharing them with others has helped?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We've almost done it...... Shhhh

We've kept a secret from our kids for six months and it has to do with an airplane and a mouse with big black ears.

Only a few more days.


I'm so excited I can barely sleep.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mommy Mondays: Another family trip in the record books

I was thinking about my family blog as a journal and how we always post pictures of when something fun or celebratory is happening. Then in our posts we write about how great things are and all that.

I think it's good to preserve the good memories, but sometimes blogs or Facebook statuses don't always portray real life. The pictures lie. Am I right?

Case in point: Friday Dan had the day off work and the girls had the day off school. We decided early in the week to go out to Lake Roosevelt for a day trip/picnic since the weather forecast said upper 50s! This is where I would insert the pictures of our happy little family on a wonderful trip. And I did that on our private blog, but I can't on a public one (because of kids and safety and that stuff), so you just get this one:
Our FAVORITE campsite.

So, now, using your active imaginations, wouldn't those pictures make you go "ooh. ahhh. What a fabulous day they had?! They are such a perfect family." Okay, maybe not, but something to that effect. Right? And it was a pretty good day. But now let me tell you what the pictures DON'T tell you....

The rest of the story:
Going anywhere with four children is a feat. The packing alone is stressful. So to get all the crap together (dinner, snacks, movies for the car, coats, sweatshirts, camping chairs, roasting sticks, diapers, wipes, jammies for the way home, smore stuff, wood for a fire, ax, sippy cup, special blankies) required a good hour and a half. Getting the kiddos in proper outdoor clothing was a whole other feat--in which we only succeeded in 3 out of 4 children. Daughter number 3 wore her ruby red Dorothy slippers, which were promptly caked in mud and soaked through with water. The packing/dressing of the children resulted in several of these yells (by Mom and Dad).
"Are you kidding me?"
"Maybe we should just stay home."
"Why did we plan something fun? I don't know!"

Alas; we were finally packed and in the car. Before we had left town there were fights. Fights about not having a good view of the movie screen; fights about who got which seat; fights about not receiving a constant stream of sugar for the entire ride. And then the are-we-there-yets? started.
"No. We just left town."
"No. We're only 10 minutes from town."
"No. Not half-way yet."

We finally reached the spot (which really is our favorite). But shucks. 50 degrees in the shade with the wind blowing up off the lake just does NOT feel very warm. Oh well, right? Let's head to the playground. There the kids had fun minus a few skirmishes about how two adult arms should be able to push three children simultaneously on the swings. Oh yeah, and a few skirmishes about the mud... And the cold...

We took a short walk and played in the sand for a few minutes and then realized camping is kind of boring without friends anyway. And guess what the kids wanted to do? Get in the car and watch a movie. And guess what the parents said? Fine.

The girls climbed in the Suburban while Dad, Mom and Little Guy shivered by the fire. We were ready to cook dinner by 4. We got the girls out to roast hotdogs and any on-lookers would have heard some of these things.
"Be careful. You're too close."
"Scoot back!"
"Crap. You dropped your hot dog in the fire."

But finally they were cooked and then the great weeping and wailing began:
"I haaaaaaaaaaaaate hotdogs that look like this! They're black. They taste nasty! I like them in the microwave!"
And then there was a little more of this:
"Why do we plan fun things?"

On to smores and sticky faces and fingers and a quick pack up before we all get frostbite. And no one wants to try the outhouse, so there is pee on shoes and jeans and panties (because the squatting has yet to be mastered).

"But wait Mom. One more trip to the playground, pleeeeeeeeeeeeease."
We give in.

And our oldest totally wipes out in the mud. Her entire left side is covered in muck and it is actually really, really cute and I make her pose for a picture where she has a cute I'm-a-little-Tom-boy-in-the-mud smile. But in reality she cries for close to 30 minutes about how yucky it feels.

Yeah, that picture definitely lied.

Ahhh. Another family trip in the record books. And honestly, it did have splashes of fun, and it was nice to get out of the house. But there you have the rest of the story.

Do your pictures tend to be little liars too?