Redefining Your Purpose in Your Life by KLC
After all we have been through (more on that later…I am working my way backward), I
have taken the positive approach to what has happened. My mom always said, what will
be, will be. I take that to heart. I know I can be somewhat anxious or stressed at times,
right? [Long awkward pause of silence]. Okay, well “somewhat” could be the
understatement of the year. However, when one knows all we have been through, the
word I keep hearing is resilience. People cannot believe how normal and happy we seem
even when we keep getting bad news.
On Sunday, June 24, my husband and I went out to lunch. In two days, we could finally
announce that we were expecting. After all the disappointments (again, more on that
later), we wanted one last peek at the baby before officially shouting it from the rooftops. I
have been open about all our obstacles and struggles. I did not lie if someone asked if I
was pregnant. I felt sort of, well, superstitious. I felt anyone I told could tell anyone they
wanted to that we were finally expecting. However, I felt if I said anything, eek. My
husband, I thought, felt the same way…cautiously optimistic. My husband refused to
even discuss baby names until that June 26 appointment and yet I was receiving emails
daily from wives of his friends sending their congratulations. The man that would not
discuss baby names was having a hard time keeping it quiet. At the same time, I was
having nightmares that we had a two (2) year old we were calling “baby” because we had
never discussed baby names and have different tastes in names.
It was truly a miracle we were even pregnant when we had been told it would never
happen. I felt perfectly fine during the first trimester other than suffering through my very
first migraine and having anxiety while driving. No morning sickness whatsoever. Yet, we
were cautious. I would have been 13 weeks along by the time we announced it. We were
finally allowing ourselves to start to get excited. This was really happening. The nursery
had been ready since 2008.
After lunch, we went shopping. No surprise there. My husband will never admit this, but
he is a bit of a diva. “He likes him some shopping.” I, personally, do not like it. I like new
clothes, but I completely understand those that have personal shoppers. As we were
walking in to Kohl’s, I felt a slight cramp on my left side. I actually said out loud, “Cramp.
Odd. Have not felt one of those in months.” We went about our business and on the drive
home, I actually said to my husband that it was “safe now” and asked him to give me
ONE name he liked. I said I felt like it was a girl, so I asked him many times over on the
ride home to give me one girl name he liked. Finally, he said… Sarah Elizabeth. Gasp!
My husband finally said a name. As thrilling as that was, I had to respond “veto”.
Although Sarah was my grandmom’s name, and Elizabeth is lovely as well, there was no
way this Big Ten mommy was having her child’s initials be SEC. I was on to him. I saw
where this UGA daddy-to-be was going.
When we got home, I went to use the “loo”, the powder room, the ladies. Blood. I tried to
remain calm and actually walked downstairs with my shorts around my knees telling my
husband I was bleeding. I called the doctor and they told me to get off my feet
immediately, drink a lot of fluids and to call in the morning if I was still feeling bad. At 4:00
a.m. the backside pain and cramping were so bad, I woke up my husband. I teared up a
bit because I knew. I just knew it and yet I never saw this coming. I told my husband I
simply did not feel well. I was trying to clue him in with a gentle manner. We called the
doctor again and they said to call at 8:30 when they open. They open at 8:00, actually.
That annoyed me a bit. At about 7:15 a.m., my husband said, “This is stupid. Let’s just go
We arrived at the doctor’s office, and for an ob-gyn’s office in a hospital, I can honestly
say I am amazed they were so shocked to see a “walk-in” as the staff kept calling me. I
had been going to my doctor for over fifteen years and referred dozens of women to her. I
love my doctor. My doctor had even seen a friend the prior day and the friend said the
doctor and she were talking about my pregnancy and the doctor said about me, “I just
love her!” Now, at this moment, at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday morning and after two calls
overnight about a possible miscarriage, I was “the walk-in”. So, we sat and waited…and
waited….and waited. Finally the walk-in and her husband were invited back for an
ultrasound….with two other very pregnant couples. Wait. It gets better.
The six of us were seated in a small u-shaped room with just enough room for six people.
I felt like saying to the other two couples, “Guess which of these things is not like the
other.” As the other very pregnant couples on either side of us kissed and canoodled, I
realized that the biggest oversight in medicine is not having a separate waiting area for
women that have miscarried. My husband and I could not have been deeper into our
phones. I think they could at least have handed us horse blinders, no? To make matters
worse, the other two couples were called in for their ultrasounds first. No rush. I am only
in pain and hemorrhaging. I kept thinking of Brian Regan’s bit about driving himself to the
ER when he was ill and the ER had no valet parking. “No. After you. Everybody merge. I
am only imploding.”
When it was our turn, my husband sat in a chair next to the exam table. On the other side
of me was the tech. The tv screen was behind her. I could see the screen but my
husband could not see over me and the tech. I briefly looked at the screen and there was
nothing. Just a blob. No little whoosh whoosh, no blinking light. The tech softly said,
“There is no heartbeat.” Her job kind of (pardon me) sucks. Can you imagine how she felt
to tell me that on a Monday morning? To my left, where my husband was sitting, silence. I
could see he was sitting with his head down. “Honey? Did you hear that?” “No. What?”
“There is no heartbeat.” More silence. I got dressed and suddenly the walk-in is the most
popular, beloved patient in the office. They ushered us into another exam room. My
doctor was at another office that day so we saw her partner that had to confirm the
diagnosis. As I stripped down and waited on the table, my husband went into the
attached private bath. Thinking no one could hear him, he called his parents. I heard, “I
don’t have good news. We lost the baby today. We are still at the doctor. Ok. Bye.” When
he emerged, his eyes were red and watery.He said, “Well, that went well. They burst into
tears.” (I don’t think the apple fell far from the tree that day).
I have only seen him cry twice in 13 years. When I proposed (yes, you read that right. A
story for another time) and when we had to put his beloved border collie Hope to sleep
after fifteen years (also another blog for another day). He slumped down in the chair as
we waited for the doctor to enter.
If there is anything I am good at, which is surprising given my anxiety history, it is being
positive and calm in the midst of bad news. As I told him, this was not the end of the
world. We could try again. All we ever wanted was a healthy child and, as my mom said,
be careful what you wish for. This baby obviously was not healthy. It could have been so
much worse. We could have gone nine months only to have the child be sick, stillborn or
die young, like my boss. He lost his son this year to cancer at nine years old. There are
so many bigger problems in life. He looked up at me with those red, wet eyes and said, “I
don’t think I can do this anymore.”
The doctor then entered the room in surgical scrubs. Turns out a woman was in labor in
the next room. One life ends and another begins. I do believe that. My boss lost his son
and when I was pregnant three months later, he was the most thrilled for me. At any rate,
Dr. K examined me. I literally jumped when he touched me on the leg. I actually said, “It is
not like I have not done this before. I have no idea why I am so jumpy. My yahoo has
never seen so much action.” [I was referring to all the specialists, doctors and tests I had
to go through to verify that I was able to have children.] The doctor apologized over and
over again….to me. He was very focused on me. He said we had proven our fertility –
that we can indeed get pregnant and could do so again. The doctor was in front of me to
my left and my husband was in front of me to my right. The doctor kept asking me if I am
okay and giving me condolences. I think he probably thought I was mentally ill as I
smiled, said I was fine, nodded and kept darting my eyes in the direction of my husband.
See, I have always felt that if I remain strong, it helps those I love that are hurting. I did
that when my mom died – thinking it would help my dad and brother. I really have no
anger. Not about this or anything. The only thing that can make me angry is seeing
people I love hurt. At that moment, it was all about my husband. My best friend said to
me, “I am sure the doctor was shocked by your calm, positive demeanor. Can you
imagine what he has seen when he has to tell a woman she has just miscarried?”
The doctor talked about the next few days, what to expect, etc. We were planning to
leave the next week on one big babymoon to finally celebrate after nine years of
adoptions, doctors, tests. We splurged big time, but it had to be postponed, like most of
the things in our lives the past nine years due to being totally engrossed in the possibility
of becoming parents.
When we got in the car to drive home with the baby still inside me, I called my dad and
his wife. Then, I turned my attention back to my husband. His eyes remained the same.
He was so handsome, quiet, and focused on the road. I asked him if he was sad. He said
yes. My husband may be a man of few words, but eventually the flood gates open. I said,
“Do we need to talk about this?” He responded, “About what?” I replied, “I don’t know. I mean, we have never been through this before so I don’t really know what to say.” Then,
the flood gates opened a crack:”I don’t know how many more red flags I can take. Are we
not supposed to have a child? I don’t think I can do this anymore. I want to forget this
whole thing happened. I don’t want to talk about adoptions or doctors or specialists or
babies for at least two months. It has been nine years of disappointment.”
I have since respected his request. Physically, I am on the mend. We postponed our
babymoon and went on it a few weeks later, but this time it was to heal. We flew first
class, hiked, exercised, swam, read, and I honestly think it was the best vacation of our
lives. I had not flown first class since my mom died 18 years ago. My dad loaded my
brother and I on a plane, first class, to Las Vegas. My husband and I were now off to do
the same. A week in Las Vegas first class grief style. I recommend a first class trip for
everyone at least once every 18 years. Splurge. Life is short and you cannot take it ($)
Now we are home. I am back at work. I am doing all of the things I need to be doing. I
have never miscarried before. I chose to be proactive and I immediately scheduled a visit
to a therapist. We had to see therapists before, as a requirement numerous times during
our quest for a baby, for adoption agencies and for the medical specialists. I went on
medicine the day of my miscarriage to thwart any hormonal mood swings that may be
coming my way. I don’t have a mom here to talk to anymore. I have never miscarried. I
still have no idea what is “normal” or what to expect. I wanted to take the bull by the
horns. There is no shame in making sure you are healthy and doing what you need to do
to stay that way. Writing is another way that I am healing.
Don’t get me wrong. I have had a few moments. Like when we were told nine years ago
that we probably could not have children, I cried for about five minutes on my way home
from work. I was at exit 7. I remember it clearly. I had a mini pity party and then said, to
myself alone in the car, “People dying of cancer would love to have your problem.” I had
a moment like that before the hospital wheeled me in for my d and c (a procedure to
remove the baby). I tear up now just thinking of that moment I had at the hospital. I am
sort of a delayed griever. It is as if I need to take care of everyone else around me, and
then later, it will hit me. I don’t think it has really hit me yet that we lost our baby. The
baby was sent off for tests. What happened was, as the doctors put it after everything we
have been through, “a very expensive fluke”. It is no one’s fault. That part is important to
remember so I will write it again. It is no one’s fault.
We meet with the specialist “Tressel” (He looks like former OSU coach Jim Tressel) next
week to get his thoughts on the possibilities and if we can emotionally handle this again.
He is “the” guy in Atlanta. He told us we could get pregnant when no one said it was
possible. He is the medical director of the entire facility and the staff could not be more
positive and comforting. They blow the experiences we have had with adoption agencies
out of the water. This last attempt at a child was going to be the last hurrah. Now, I don’t
know. I am fine either way. When one person asked me if we were going to try again, my
response was, “I will do whatever my husband wants.” If he wants to try again, I will do it
for my husband. It is totally and completely up to him. I have never been a wife to say no
to my husband. By that (get your minds out of the gutter), I mean that if he loves it, we wil lmake it happen whether that be a new car, a new dog, a new tile floor, a baby. If he is
happy, I am happy. I have faith that everything will work out, no matter what the future
holds. If you have your health, you have everything (quote courtesy of my father).
For those of you that don’t know me well, it has never been about giving birth. I am
missing that gene. I have always been about motherhood. It does not matter to me how it
happens. It does not biologically have to be mine. Kind of like, I was never about the
wedding but more about the marriage. I choose not to be angry. I choose to take the
cards we have been dealt and turn them into something positive. I don’t know what that is
yet, but I know that anger solves nothing. I prefer to channel that energy into something
that makes me feel good inside. I choose to be happy. I felt happy when my friend said to
me, “Well, now your mom has her grandbaby on her lap in heaven.” I never even thought
of that until she said it. Instead of being angry, I prefer to think my mom missed me and
wanted a little part of me with her. We found out last week our baby was a girl.
My therapist suggested that I start writing again. Thanks to my loving sorority sisters and
friends that bought me an ipad, I can now do so. I will try to make them (and anyone who
reads this) proud. The therapist thought writing would be very helpful for me to heal from
this nine year journey. He said for nine years, I have been focused on this one goal. Now
that the goal may not be achieved (and I dislike failure – my mom never let me say hate),
I have to redefine my purpose in life. It is like I am having a bit of a mid-life crisis. If I am
not going to be a mom, what am I going to do to make a difference in this world? Is this
all there is (meaning work, commute, home, sleep, work, commute, home, sleep)? I tear
up thinking I may be an 80 year old widow (I guess I assume my husband will go first due
to his love of salt and redmeat?) in a nursing home with no children and no one to come
to my funeral.
I also do feel a bit like Julie and Julia. Although I am not cooking every night, I will be
working on my blog. I know how Julie felt in the movie when she had one follower of her
blog…her mom. I am sure mine will be my dad – if he can figure out the computer. I hope
my readers and followers will go with me on this journey as I redefine my purpose in life.
Until next time, socks.
This blog was first published on Monday, August 06, 2012