Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Shoulders We Cry On

I am haunted. Haunted by the day I gave birth to a dead baby. Every single night, when I close my eyes, I see the eyes who entered that room. Just their eyes. It's like a really horrible slide show. I see B's eyes. So, so red. So swollen. I see my handsome young Doctor's eyes. So dark brown. So helpless. I see B's cousin's eyes. She was the first one to get there after B that morning. She was so, so sad. I'd never seen her so sad. I see my MIL's eyes. So bewildered. So helpless. I see by best friend's eyes. So strong, so caring. I see my friend N's eyes. She started to walk in the room while I was pushing and I motioned for her to leave. She looked so worried. Her eyes so wide. It was obvious she had rolled out of bed and come straight to the hospital and sped the entire 45 minutes to the hospital. I found out later that she had, and when I had waved her off, she stood outside the door and sobbed.

I'll never forget the hugs each of those people gave me, as I laid in that bed, trying to get my 23 week, 5 day baby out. My mom was en route from Southern California the whole morning, so having all of those people there for support meant the absolute world to me. They cried with me, comforted me and also distracted me enough so that I could make it through. Two of my best friends from childhood had been planning on driving up to visit with me for that weekend. I texted them not to come, and now I kind of wish I would have told them to still come up. It would have been really good to have them there, but I just felt bad having them come up to such a traumatic scene. They were both on pins and needles trying to decide what to do. I found out later my mom had also called and told them she didn't think they should come up. So many people around us, holding us so close that day. I'll never, ever forget that morning in the hospital. Even when I try, not a day goes by that I don't relive that awful slideshow.

Then we were home. And my mother in law and her husband had gone to our house several hours before and cleaned the place from top to bottom. She changed my sheets. She straightened the towels. It felt amazing to come home to. And my best friend stayed. And went and got dinner for everyone. And she distracted me. She let me cry. We went out for breakfast with my mom and B the next morning. I'm so glad she stuck around. Without her the three of us would have never stopped crying.

I try not to be really personal on facebook. I have so many "friends" that I don't really talk to, and don't really want knowing my business, but I just had to announce our loss. I had to get it out there in one fell I posted about losing Bremy.

Then I got emails, texts, facebook comments. From so many. I heard from people I hadn't talked to in ten years. I heard from my college roommate-even though we now rarely speak. And she told me how sorry she was. I got flowers from B's boss, from a girl I hadn't seen since 11th grade and some friends we just reconnected with. I got a giftcard for a dinner out from a friend I never see. We received the most beautiful flowers from a friend of a friend who had recently had a baby girl. I found that most of those people who really reached out, were moms. Everyone knew I was hurting, but the friends I have who are moms, really knew I was hurting. I had strangers messaging me on facebook, telling me they also went through this, or they also had an incompetent cervix and they shared their stories of grief and shared their stories of success. And I hung on every word. I can't describe the level of comfort each message, each flower, each card meant to me in the weeks following that day. I was so, so weak and broken and knowing that anyone was thinking of me, made me feel less so.

I'm so thankful for every single friend in our lives. It was so hard for me to be so weak and to depend on friends to get me through. I'm much more comfortable at being the shoulder that others cry on. And I could tell some of my friends struggled with how to be there for me, since I'm not usually the type to ask for help or seek comfort. I'm usually the one giving it. But they found a way. It continues to be a struggle for me to really reach out, but I still have friends checking in on me, and just knowing that they understand how hard I'm taking this is bringing me some comfort. I'm so grateful to have so many I can rely on at this point.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Girl Time

I got a good dose of girl time this past weekend and it was just what I needed. Thursday night I went solo to our neighbors house for some wine, cheese and laughs. I stayed there til way too late laughing until my belly hurt. S and I went through decorating blogs and laughed and poked fun at some of the before and after pictures. We each had our comments and had each other rolling with laughter. We woke her hubby up (B's best friend) and he wanted to know what was so funny. It's hard to explain to someone why chevron print curtains and aqua painted patio furniture is cause for squeals at midnight! Just a girl thing I guess!

Friday was a holiday and I met some co-workers to celebrate one of their birthdays. We ended up chatting for a couple hours. I headed home early, knowing I had to get up early to go wine tasting on Saturday.

This was our second annual Winter wine tasting trip. Three of my girlfriends from B's hometown have late December birthdays, so we picked an earlier date to get together and celebrate. B's hometown is just over the hill from the Napa Valley. We had a big van and a driver (one of the girls boyfriends :)) and headed out for a full day of wine, laughs and general tipsy fun. It was a blast once again. A few new girls joined us and it just amazes me how much fun we can have. Everyone in this group just gets along so well.

I was definitely feeling the effects the next morning. Luckily Sunday was just me and B doing our Sunday football routine. I planned meals for the week and took a long bath. It was amazing to really take my mind off things, if even for a couple days.

It's been hard to get back on track this week with my healthy eating after this weekend o' fun, but I'm determined to stay on track. After all, December is just around the corner!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Friday and My House is Clean!

I would seriously give up almost any of my monthly utilities to keep my housekeepers. I've had my housekeepers for a year and a half. I'd never, ever had one before in any capacity. Even though I do not work long hours, and it's just me and B in a modest 3 bedroom ranch, I felt the need to have one. I hated that feeling of always needing to clean. I never felt like there was a day when the entire house was clean all at once. Sure the bathrooms and kitchen would be clean, but I'd have piles of laundry to fold, sheets to change, duvets to wash. It was just never ending and so unsatisfying. So I went on our neighborhood website and read reviews of local cleaning companies. I decided on a family run company (3 sisters) and called them up. My Fridays tend to be flexible, so I had them come do an initial cleaning and then hired them to come every other week.

I'll never, ever forget the feeling I felt when they left after the first cleaning. I felt like weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, I felt giddy. It was seriously one of the best feelings ever-it pretty much had the same effect as a massage does. I look forward to those Fridays So much now.

Having them in my life has made me SO much more on top of organizing and picking up. I know they are coming, so surfaces have to be cleared (ie no mountain of clean laundry on the guest bed) so that they can actually clean and do their work. I now see what our house looks like when it's *sparkling* and that encourages me to keep it looking that way at all times. So on the weeks they don't come, it' still pretty easy to just tidy up quickly and have a 100% clean house.

I can skip the really yucky and really difficult stuff. I haven't gotten on my knees in the bathroom since I hired them. I just do a touch-up toiled clean on the weeks they don't come-and that does the trick! I have them clean my fridge about every other month--and y'all--it looks brand new when they are done. I don't think I could match it if I tried! They do windows--they do it all. Yep. I'm in love.

The weekend is now mine! When they leave on Friday morning I feel like I have the weekend to just relax. I'm no longer waking up early on Saturday to clean the house before we go do what we have planned for the weekend. I wake up and sigh, my house is already clean!!!

They've taught me how it's done. I thought my house was clean before they came-but I see now how to deep clean properly and I love that I've learned some things from them!

Obviously, if money got really tight, I'd have to forego this luxury, but trust me when I say I would give a lot up before I got rid of my girls on Friday! The cost is actually extremely reasonable, and in my mind completely worth it. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Self Doubt

Lately, I've been realizing how much I doubt myself, and doubt the world around me. I also realized that I've been feeling this negativity more and more, even before we lost Bremy. Tonight, I got to thinking about it more seriously and my mind went on for a while, backtracking through the years, wondering when I let this darker side into my life.

I was never like this as a child. I wasn't like this as a teenager. Sure, I struggled with some issues of self-consciousness, especially with my weight. But, I always thought really highly of myself as a person and always thought of myself as smart, popular and fun. I always knew what I wanted, and never doubted that I would get it. I wanted to do well in school, so I did. I wanted to go to a certain college, and I went there. I wanted to travel, I wanted to be close with my family and close with my friends and I was. I was always dreaming of my next goal. It wasn't an intentional goal setting exercise, it was just my personality. Life was just wide open, in my eyes.

I think the world crashed in on me a little in college. I had never attended private school before, and I was not prepared for the true culture shock of a "rich kid" school. My hand-me-down Honda Accord was perfectly fine in high school, but suddenly it was the hoopty amongst the brand new bimmers, land rovers and lexus. I also caught on quickly that I wasn't the only over-achiever in my class and that not every accomplishment would come as easily as it had in high school, where, whether it did or not, I assumed my reputation as an excellent student and mature young woman preceeded me. I was schocked that there were sororities that didn't invite me back to their preference night. I felt my self confidence slowly slipping. I ended up having a great group of friends and a lot of fun and success in college, but I don't think I held my head as high.

Then, there was law school. I walked through those doors feeling as though I didn't belong. In my mind I barely even got in to this top school, and I felt the need to hide rather than shine. Law school itself is based on a method of breaking you down. They call it the socratic method, meant to make you think better on your feet, but it could not have been any worse for my self esteem and learning ability. My once outspoken, confident, joyful self could barely drag myself to class, much less participate and defend myself to an esteemed professor or self-righteous classmates. I think I hated every single minute of class in law school, except for my Criminal Procedure and Evidence classes. I knew in my heart that I had found B at that time so that I could actually make it through. I made very few friends in law school and needed a friend and shoulder when class was done, and that was B.

While I made it through law school with no problems academically, I was not at the top of my class and wasn't earning any awards or recognition. It was so foreign to me to be in the middle of the pack and I just could not identify with my so called "place" in that environment. I just hated it. I'll never forget, right around graduation, the assistant dean of the law school scheduled meetings with every student who was not at the top of the class. It was a meeting to discuss our bar study plans. I naively scheduled my meeting and realized very quickly that this meeting was meant to remind me that I'd probably have to work extra hard, as my law school performance was a great indicator that I probably would not succeed in passing the bar exam on the first try.

I cried the whole way home from that meeting. B was ready to drive down to his office and punch him in the face. We both just could not believe that they thought this negative reinforcement would help me pass the bar exam?

But it did, my mantra during my whole bar study was "F this school" I'm going to pass and show them! And I did. And I seriously felt like marching in there and telling them that their lack of faith in me was obviously misplaced. But I never did, I was too busy working, being the lawyer they weren't sure I could be. That was a definite confident booster, but still. I didn't feel all that successful.

I was lucky enough to have a boss that summer who saw promise in me. Even though I had passed the exam, I still had a hard time believing that I was smart enough to practice law. I had been so incredibly broken by law school. I questioned everything I did, but my boss always told me I was good enough, and he hired me on as an attorney as soon as I passed the bar.

You'd think that would give me some confidence, and I'm sure it did a bit. I'm proud of myself. I know I'm a good lawyer for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes I know I could work harder and give more effort, but for the most part I feel like I'm good at what I do, and I love what I do. But when I think back to that high school girl. The girl who always knew she would be a lawyer, the girl who did everything she set out to do and was always dreaming, I realize I'm not that same person. The reality of finances, life plans, age, disappointed, loss, the real world have set in. They've set in so much that I find myself worrying more and dreaming less.

I dreamt of finding B, and I found him. I dreamt of my wedding, and I did feel like it was everything I had envisioned and was so happy to see such a fun project come to fruition. I dreamt of my baby and was so happy she came to us so easily. I was so excited to start dreaming of our life with her and everything that came with my pregnancy and family. And it was so suddenly stolen from me that I feel even more out of touch with my dreams now that I have so much fear of my future.

I know that we change and evolve and grow. I know that life makes us stronger and smarter, but I'd be lying if I said I don't want that old girl back. The one who saw life as being wide open. As if the world was hers for the taking. The girl who never doubted she would become an attorney, get married, have children, decorate a dream home and have a lake house. I feel like this girl is being chipped away at. Like my spirit is just fading. I am determined to get her back, I can't let this year steal my spirit.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Grams

On October 26th, I lost my beautiful, inspiring Grandmother. My mom was very, very close with her mother, so in turn, I was extremely close to her as well. I talked to her every week and relied on her for all of my domestic-related questions. She was so strong, so loved, and so beautiful.

I hadn't talked about this with anyone, but when my Grams became sick last December, I felt a need to get pregnant. I felt ready, and also felt an urgency to have a child before my Grams was no longer with us. I never told anyone, because I know that's not a real reason to start a family, but it most definitely played a role in my enthusiasm for getting pregnant. I was so hopeful that my baby would meet her great-grandmother. In my mind I envisioned how awesome it would be for her to hold my baby, and sew her blankets and bedding and all that good stuff. I envisioned the photos of the two of them, of the three of us. I just wanted that to come true.

When I lost Bremy, I knew that this dream would not become reality. My Grams' health had deteriorated quite rapidly over the summer, and I knew there was no way she would make it to see our next child. That day, from the hospital bed, I wept and sobbed to my mother and told her how sad I was that Grams would never know my children. It broke my heart into a thousand pieces, and still does. The thought that my child will never meet my Grams is very, very hard on me. My Grams is so, so important in my life and such a guiding force in my future as a mother.
The don't make women like my Grams anymore. Women who live completely for their family with absolutely no concern for themselves. Her joy came completely from her family (and maybe from a Bingo game or two).

I am having such a hard time remembering she is not here. She got very sick last December and had been having complications since then, but it really only affected her body. Her mind was always 100%. I still called her every week. I still dialed her number in the middle of a recipe with a question.

So, this week as I prepared a pot roast, which isn't something I usually make, I started to dial her number and shed some tears when I realized I couldn't call her to ask her how she did it.

Thanksgiving will be so hard for me, as it was always a time when we would either cook together or have phone conversations about techniques and recipes. I have perfected her stuffing and always let her know how great it turns out. I'm really going to miss all of our little traditions.

But, I'm so thankful to have them. I'm so thankful for her leadership and guidance in being a woman, a wife and someday, a mother. It's so hard to find the words to describe how I feel about her and how important she was and will be to me throughout my life.

To say the last few months have been hard would be an understatement. I can feel life chipping away at my spirit, but I'm trying so hard to be strong and to find happiness and joy in the people and love that is around me everyday. I know for certain there are good things to come for me and my family. And am so thankful that I've had 28 years of love and memories with my beautiful Grandma.

The Good News is

I was feeling overwhelmed. Thinking about getting pregnant again, thinking about what it would take. I was overwhelmed thinking about money, the bigger picture of our finances and how we would manage. B saw me starting to get upset and he asked what was stressing me out so much at that moment. I told him. "Babies, money" and started to cry. He hugged my shoulders and with so much hope and love in his eyes he said, "The good news is we can make more of both". My heart absolutely melted. While it may not always be, or seem that easy. It's the truth. I have to remember to keep perspective.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

When Gallbladders Attack

One of my first nights out, post-losing Bremy, I met up with some girlfriends and enjoyed enchilada soup and salad at Chili's. Had a wonderful time getting out and about, came home and found myself hovered over in severe pain. I was practically screaming in pain and B had no idea what to do. I felt nauseous, and eventually threw up and instantly felt better. Was it food poisoning? Wasn't sure...all I knew was that it was over.

The next day we headed out early to visit some friends. I had about three sips of B's frappucino and was again, doubled over in pain. I excused myself to their bathroom and felt like I would throw up again. No such luck. My friend came into the bathroom and saw me, beet red and sweating and was so worried. Ten minutes later, I was fine.

Since giving birth, my body was on a roller coaster ride. My sleep, my skin, my bowel movements, everything was out of whack. I also had a horrible bladder infection a few days after delivering. So, I just chalked this up to another post partum issue.

A couple weeks went by. Our friends came over to watch football on a Sunday morning and brought breakfast burritos. I chose a spicy, chorizo variety and was again doubled over in pain for about 15 minutes. Nothing would relieve it. But once it was gone, I was totally fine.

Again, on our anniversary we went out for mexican food and had to leave right after finishing because I was in so much pain.

I'm not sure what I thought it was, or why I wasn't more worried about it, but when I casually mentioned to my mom that we'd had to cut our anniversary dinner short, she was concerned. I described the horrible sharp pains that were really high in my abdomen, under my right boob and she practically screamed, "That's your gallbladder!!" I was actually walking into the gym as she told me, so while on the treadmill I googled and saw that I had every single classic sign. I made an appointment with my doctor that afternoon. I didn't want this to become as issue with me getting pregnant or in my next pregnancy.

My primary doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound and it was confirmed. Just over a week later I was scheduled for my outpatient gallbladder removal surgery.

I was told it's extremely common in women, although the exact cause is unknown. Fatty foods tend to trigger the attacks, and for the most part the issues don't go away without surgery. The surgery was laproscopic and within about four days I was feeling well enough to work. I took a light schedule this first week back, but felt completely 100% fine six days after the procedure.

I'm rockin' a few little incision marks, but overall it was a piece of cake.

I'd never, ever had surgery before, so this was another first for 2011. Fun times! But I'm just glad it was so "easy" comparatively!