With the popularity of FaceBook and Instagram increasing in the past few years and the added busyness of a full-time job and a kid (and a puppy and a cat...and a husband), I've stopped blogging about our lives. I am not wasting time catching up on the three years since I've last posted, but I would like to share about this past year or so. I will make it really exciting and brief (there might be a hint of sarcasm there).
Last June, I became pregnant with our second child. We had a busy summer and in July, went to Maryland for a week-long YFC assignment with the whole family. I was a head leader and JJ was the speaker. Owen mostly hung out with my mom and complained about everything. Toward the end of the week (of course, the night I was the ONLY staff member on call) I became violently ill. A student just happened to go into a diabetic coma as I was praying to the Porcelain God to end my life right there on the bathroom linoleum. If it hadn't been for my hyper-vigilant mother who also happens to be a diabetes specialist and pharmacist (for the past 30 or so years), that girl would have been SOL. I was able to rally (I shouldn't have) and I attempted to help. She was taken to the ER with my mom and I went back to the room to convulse for a few more hours. The next day, I went on my merry way, but as the next couple of days stretched on I could tell something was wrong.
I was certain I'd had a miscarriage.
I didn't talk about it, but silently suffered on the trip back to Spokane. I wanted to be helpful and cheerful, but resigned myself to the fact that if the baby had died, there was nothing I could do about it. I walked around until my ten week appointment, thinking about a dead baby inside me and telling no one how I felt.
I went to the appointment and told the ultrasound technician that I was pretty sure I'd had a miscarriage and to not feel bad when she saw the dead embryo. She just needed to tell me and send me to my doctor so I could get rid of it. At this point, after nearly two years or trying to conceive I had become very cynical and could feel my old, melancholy self creeping her way back in. I let her in the door of my mind gladly. It was nice to have my old self back to commiserate with.
Sure enough, the technician saw what I already knew and did exactly what I told her to not do. She hugged me and said she was so sorry. I needed her to go against my wishes. I needed Wendy's embrace. She has been there for nearly every ultrasound since and I appreciate her vulnerability more than she will ever know.
I floated down the hallway to a room and my OB caught me in the hall with a big smile on her face,"Katy! Do we have some news?" I simply said, "Yeah, it doesn't look good. It's OK. I'll see you in a sec." She entered my room a few minutes later and sweetly and calmly led me through what I needed to do next. She hugged me and assured me she would be there for me on this journey. She's the best.
I went home and broke the news to JJ. He was apologetic, but reality washed over him quickly. He has to leave the next day for summer camp and was devastated. I would have to go through the miscarriage alone. It was a Friday and when I woke up that sunny Saturday morning, JJ left for camp and I called my mom. I call her for everything, but this time I NEEDED her. I was planning on doing it all alone, but I was terrified. Terrified of what I would see. Scared that the baby was really alive and I was aborting it. Worried that my son would hear me crying. My mom came to the rescue and none of those horrifying images came to life.
I went to the Pharm to complete my miscarriage. Owen played in the Timothy grass and with their pup, Lucy. I contracted. He cuddled me. I cried. My parents comforted me. I begged. God covered me. I contracted. I contracted. I contracted.
The day was bizarre. As I took the medication to shed the fetal tissue, a giant wind storm blew through their property. Trees fell, the sky turned dark, their property caught fire. I contracted. When the storm was all over, it was night time and we lit lanterns in the house as there was no power. Everything felt apocalyptic. The babe was in his cowboy bed and my parents kept vigil until it was all over.
The last time I felt the need to push, I heard the embryo fall into the water. I could have flushed it, but I felt like I needed to honor this life. I plunged my hands into the water and retrieved my baby. My baby. That's what it was. the sac was clear, the embryo was developed, but not yet human-like. But it was my baby in my hands 7 months before it should have been. I put it back into the water and whispered a goodbye. I washed my hands and went back into the living room. My step-dad kissed my head like he always does, and poured me a glass of whiskey. Suddenly, Owen woke up in the middle of the night which he never does at the Pharm. He came upstairs in the pitch black which he never does anywhere. He snuggled by lamplight with me, then we went to bed.
We all slept hard and woke up late. The very next day, we all drove to Wenatchee in my step-dad's truck and got a 7 week old puppy we named Crosby. He was born the same month I had conceived the baby. He was and is a blessing to our family.
I was told to wait two cycles to get pregnant again, but the thought of having another miscarriage was so off-putting I didn't want to think about it. So we waited and didn't think about it. Each month, I wasn't pregnant was disappointing and relieving.
By November I still wasn't pregnant and really getting used to the idea that we would only have one birth-child. At this point, thinking about fostering and adoption was exhausting so I didn't.
November 17th, I went to work. I did not feel well. I figured it was indigestion or this stomach illness that was ravaging my students and faculty. Toward the end of the day, I was feeling really rotten. I sat down to attempt to relieve the stabbing pain in my abdomen, but as I took my seat, a shotgun blast went off inside me.
I got up to use the restroom because I thought I was going to throw up. I stumbled across the hallway and in the 3 seconds it took to get from my office to the restroom, I was already fainting. A student saw me and asked if I was OK. That's the last really clear memory I have until a few minute later when I wondered why my face hurt and why my mouth tasted like blood. I was confronted by the cold surface my body was pressed against and thought it strange that I had just seen a student jump over me. She had been using the restroom when I collapsed a third time into the stall next to her.
Paramedics were called and JJ was en route. I continued to faint. I tried to answer questions. My vitals ere dropping and I was floating. I floated above the crowd in the restroom and stayed suspended in the air until I realized I was in an ambulance. Then in the the ER. Then getting an ultrasound. Then in surgery. I was pregnant. But the embryo was on my ovary and it was killing me.
I woke up and had a couple of days in the hospital. I love hospital food and nurses. I'm not kidding. I think if I had to live in a hospital I would probably do just fine.
It was two days of pain and needles, blood transfusions and catheters. It took two days for my body to work again and when it did I went home. Then I watched Netflix for two weeks and that was like an early Christmas gift.
I missed the opening week of my musical and the theatre family rallied and found an understudy. They were and are gracious, skilled, lovely, beautiful, big-hearted, incredible people. I could go on and on about the director and stage-manager. It was unconditional love all-around.
Pretty soon, I was at my new-normal and everyone continued to be gracious and wonderful. Even though that was the most difficult time of my life, I also look back on it fondly because of friends, family, co-workers, and the theatre community. Sometimes I just have to close my eyes and remember how they all made me feel and I can again gather up that love they heaped on me.
This was only half the journey. During these months, JJ had applied for a perfect job for him. He didn't get this job. I can't say much about it because I am still devastated and furious. One group's decision turned our already tumultuous lives upside down and I'm still not sure how to feel anything other than frustration and rage. It is what it is, but it's a huge mistake.
This began a path I thought I had been assured we wouldn't go on for years to come. It feels like we had just moved to West Central and into this big, beautiful, perfect home. I felt forced to change our trajectory and what I was promised was our "calling." I was, and am still, so confused. I still feel like I will wake up and this will have all been a nightmare. But I'm not asleep. And it is all reality.
JJ was offered multiple positions within Youth for Christ and they all required a move. I was vehemently opposed to a move so JJ stopped talking about it for a while. Then the offers became more serious. I lost count of how many people were asking him to come to their areas to do the very job he was rejected for here. It made me proud and angry. So he's good enough for everyone else, but not Spokane? I have to sell my home, move my family and my things, leave our friends and our community, find a new job and a new life all because of one decision. JJ's life was scattered all while the pieces of my life were finally fitting together.
One of the positions JJ was offered was with his old boss, whom we love. I said "no." Then I said, "I am not saying 'yes,' but I feel like I can't say, 'no.'"
I couldn't be the person to squash JJ's "dream job." In all honesty, I feel forced to give up everything I have fought tooth and nail for so he could have this dream. He didn't ask me to, but I felt I had no other choice.
In the midst of all this, I discovered I was surprisingly pregnant once again. We were told to wait. We did--I think. I know how pregnancy happens, I'm just still shocked it did. Sure it would end in miscarriage or near death, I did very little to celebrate or even think about this baby. I went to an appointment early just to make sure I wasn't going to die. They couldn't say much about the blob other than it wasn't growing any place it shouldn't be.
Like all the other pregnancies, I cramped and bled. Except this time, I also became extremely ill. I was sick all the time and even had to take days off from work because getting out of bed was impossible, unless I was throwing up. I went in for more tests and ultrasounds and every time I expected to see another still heart, there it was bigger than before.
It grew arms and legs. It had a chin and nose. It moved. Its heart kept beating and it kept growing. When Owen was 17 weeks, I felt him move. I saw him move my abdomen just a few days after I felt it. This baby wasn't moving. I agonized, but my old self comforted me and we lost hope together. But my belly swelled and my body ached. My appetite increased and my sleep decreased. I begged the baby to move. It didn't.
Until it did. The very next day after I begged God for a sign.
That was last Tuesday. Today is Saturday and as I type, my nearly 20 week old fetus is kicking inside me.
It's a real, live baby and it's really complicating everything. It means that I need to stay here and stay on my insurance while JJ starts his new job in Seattle. It means I will be a single mom for most of the week while I get my Kindergartener off to his new (amazing) school he was accepted to (great timing, Universe. I appreciate that). It means I will go to my appointments alone. I will attempt to sell or rent this beautiful, misplaced home--MY home--and pack everything up while I am 8 and 9 months pregnant. It means I will say my goodbyes and mourn my wonderful life all while trying to stay calm for the sake of a baby who shouldn't be blamed for any of this. It means I have to take responsibility for staying sane and mentally sharp all while wanting to fall apart.
I will wake up. I will wake up my son. And the dog. I will feed at least two of us and dress us. I will make sack lunches and tie shoes. I will zip backpacks and search through purses for my keys. I will remember to lock all the doors and make sure the puppy is outside and happy. I will remember to have enough gas to take my son to school and be to work on time. I will love other people's kids. Then I will go pick up my son at his new (amazing) school and take him home. We will collapse. I will feed at least two of us. I will bathe at least one of us. I will put the boy, the dog, the cat, and the mama with the baby inside her all to bed. At least three of us will sleep. Then I will do it all over again.
I wish I saw the silver lining in all of this. I am grieving. I don't see it. Maybe I refuse to see it. I try to be grateful for all I do have and thank each moment for its presence in my life. My beautiful therapist told me something I will never forget. She told me that I see all of these good things in my life as outward gifts coming into me. When really, it was what was inside me all along that brought these gifts to me. I drew this life toward myself. It was no accident. She told me it's me. It was always me and I can create this life for myself no matter where I go. Maybe that is my silver lining. For now, I have to live in the grey. It reminds me of a song from my favorite musical, Company. The song is called "Sorry-Grateful." The main character, Bobby, asks his friend Harry if he regrets getting married. Harry replies with this:
You're always sorry
You're always grateful
You're always wondering what might have been
Then she walks in
And still you're sorry
And still you're grateful
And still you wonder
And still you doubt
And she goes out
Only maybe slightly rearranged
Why look for answers
Where none occur?
You always are
What you always were
Which has nothing to do with
All to do with her
You're always sorry
You're always grateful
You hold her thinking
I'm not alone
You're still alone
You don't live for her
You do live with her
You're scared she's starting
To drift away
And scared she'll stay
Good things get better
Bad get worse
Wait, I think I meant that in reverse
Why look for answers
Where none occur
You'll always be
What you always were
Which has nothing to do with
All to do with her
Nothing to do with
All to do with her
This doesn't fit perfectly with out situation, but the sentiment holds true. In life, you are always stuck between the good and the bad. It is what it is. It's just life. I realize that we could be dealing with much worse, but this is our reality and it's very difficult at the moment.
I'm sorry we have to uproot our lives.
I'm grateful for a new baby.
I'm regretful I couldn't figure out a way to stay.
I'm happy for all the opportunities.
I'm still looking for answers where none occur.