Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Inner Demons

I have not been able to successfully put into words, out loud or on paper, this running monologue that hasn't been whispering so much as it's been screaming in my head.

I got pregnant two October's ago. It was a surprise, and yes, I'm well aware of how babies happen. I tried so desperately to be positive, I wanted nothing more than to cherish every second of my pregnancy and my time with this child.


Lukas was born July 15th, 2014. Three weeks premature... but still weighing in at 8 pounds 3 ounces. The smallest of my three kids. He should have been stillborn.

He should have been stillborn. Every time I look at him I think those five words. "Miracle" in a myriad of languages tickle my tongue, because he SHOULD HAVE BEEN STILLBORN.

Because we knew Lo had a bicuspid aortic valve, I was put under rigorous prenatal observation. Weekly ultrasounds, visits with the prenatal cardiologists... I became a gestational diabetic... more testings, more ultrasounds, my poor husband pricked my finger 5 times a day and put up with every flinch and grunt and curse word as he doctored me up.

We celebrated Logan's 7th birthday July 13th, I began training my temporary replacement July 14th -- corporate had me walking up and down the stairs of our new building (the one replacing the building we lost to the fire) and I started having "back cramps." I was used to these cramps, they were constantly coming and going without any rhythm or real reason. I chalked it up to the heat and too much activity. I went home and read "Green Eggs and Ham" to Lillie... they started coming in waves and I realized it was taking 5x as long to read the stupid book and why was I in so much pain?

After the kids were successfully in bed I downloaded a contraction app, packed a bag JUST IN CASE, and proceeded with my semi nightly routine. Dad and I ran to the pharmacy and from the front door to the pharmacy counter at Walgreens, I had three contractions. I held my belly and "yoga breathed" my way through each searing pain that threatened to rob me of my breath. The pharmacist begged me not to go into labor. It was too late at that point. My midwife begged me to come in as "the third child can come at ANY TIME, Tiffany, ANY. TIME." I laughed and told her I still needed to get bread for the kids and coffee to get me through the morning. That's when I realized my contractions were every two to three minutes lasting 30-45 seconds each. Dad rushed me (as fast as one can rush a woman in labor) out the door and he floored it to our one major intersection in the center of town. He cussed as he realized he didn't get his McDonald's tea. Lord forbid we have an outing without tea. I convinced him that it was just going to be a quick check, and so 20 minutes and a McDonald's tea later we were headed to the hospital. Every last speed bump sent me into a contraction. I was holding both the "Oh SHIT" handle and the door handle breathing through the pain. The maternity ward entrance was locked. The maternity ward entrance was a good 20+ speed bumps away from the main entrance. Once we were parked, I waddled, stopped, breathed, waddled, stopped, breathed in through the nose, out through the mouth, and into the ER I went. Triage told me I had to be wheeled to labor and delivery. I argued that I wanted to go into labor naturally and this was just a check up. Triage told me I was in labor and get my ass into the wheelchair. It put the lotion on the skin and did as was told.

My water broke before I could get my gown on. The gown was blue and my Dad stood guard outside the curtain. I text my Husband, "Not a false alarm. We're having a baby."

My midwife "checked me" and listened as I recounted all the gory details of my water breaking. I was still in shock. "I can't be in labor! I didn't lose my plug! I'm not supposed to be induced for another two weeks! My boss just left for Florida! I started training the temp TODAY!" I got a lot of "looks" and "hmms," but I never thought to question. I was simply in shock. I was having a baby! I went into labor! ALL BY MYSELF LIKE A BIG GIRL! GO ME!

In reality, my placenta was ripping away from the uterine wall. My baby's head was the only thing keeping it attached. Three days earlier the high risk doctor said he was using the placenta as his pillow. I can't do math, 2+2=9.

With Logan they had to stop me from hemorrhaging on the table. It wasn't until I watched "The Business of Being Born," that I realized everything they were  doing to me on the table was exactly what one of the mother's went through in the documentary. After asking more questions, they told me what I already knew. With Lukas, every contraction was like my body pulling the thread on a sweater. Hearing his little cries 10 hours later made up for the fact I was a human puppet while they "retrieved" all the pieces of the placenta (I should have gotten my midwife's number after THAT traumatic birthing aftermath).

I went back to work part time after a month of maternity paid maternity leave. I was back full time at six weeks post partum. I barely made it to six months before my milk dried up. I still cry over the fact that I can't even produce milk for him. The "bigs" as I now call them, nursed until 9 months and 15 months respectively. I was able to stay home with them, nap with them, work around their schedules. I now get 3-4 waking hours with them on days I work, half that with the baby. I see the looks he gives my Husband versus the looks I receive and I want to scream and break plates and throw shit across the room. I want to run away and not look back some days. It's not fair. IT'S NOT FAIR. He's my miracle, MINE. And I want to be selfish and snuggle him and nibble the rolls of his neck and thighs and inhale all the sweet baby out of him before it's gone forever. I stitched him together. I breathed life into him. I knew every finger and toe before anyone else. He wants nothing to do with me. I'm not the one he wants when he needs comfort. I'm not the one he wants when he's hungry or tired. Every time he looks for his Daddy or cries in a way I don't know because I'm not here, it rips my heart out a little more. I prayed for this child. I PRAYED for him. I told God I would do anything just to have one more baby. And because of that I gave him up. I get occasional giggles. Sometimes he'll even give kisses when I get home, but he more wants to pull my head close to his to steal my glasses more than anything.

We had a baby. We had a baby and then we found a home. We moved off the property I work at into a home one street down from the house I grew up in. The "bigs" started soccer and ballet and now they can run to Grandma's house whenever they feel like being spoiled (i.e. all the time.) We had a baby. We found a home. We found peace and then chaos hit us like a bag of bricks.

My aunt passed away around the same time from a 10 year battle with aggressive breast cancer. Two days before the Husband's birthday, my uncle shot himself in my grandfather's back yard behind a chicken coop. I have two sets of cousins who are now without a parent. I found out a cousin of mine has a child who doesn't have much longer to live. The child is a week or two older than Lo. We found out Lu has a high probability of a bicuspid valve himself. (Babies are wiggly and uncooperative during a heart ultrasound... how very inconsiderate of them... we will know for sure by his first birthday.)

I have several other blog posts sitting, saved, waiting to be published... but I can't press the button. I can't bring them forth into the light as that makes them more real. That makes all the thoughts and nightmares that have kept me busy, plugging away outside the house to keep me from focusing any energy on just the realization that these nightmares are real. They are so real. I can't ignore them forever, I know that. But I'm afraid to open that Pandora's box. Once these things are said out loud they can not be unsaid. Words said in anger that are meant to be hurtful cause damage that can't be undone and there's a seed of truth to every bitter line spat out in that moment of white hot anger. The sting never leaves. The wound is always fresh and each new argument or miscommunication is the same as having salt ground into the wound. I can't make these situations better, no matter how hard I want to. It all goes back to saying no to the people I love the most. It all comes down to them showing up in our relationships be it family or friendship or both. I can no longer be the glue. I can barely keep myself together and upright.

I need a friend. I need to go back seven months ago and whisper, "miracles happen," into my own ear. I need to go back four months ago and hold the broken woman's hand and whisper in her ear, "be strong, think before speaking and say it, say it LOUD and don't be afraid of what comes next." I need to go back two months ago and hug my "bigs" and not apologize for moments that were beyond my control and weren't anything I could have prepared myself or them for. I need my inner voice to trade places with the voice I keep locked up. The only voice left is autopilot.

I need a friend.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sticks and stones, splinters and boulders.

This is my first post in I can't tell you how long.

This post should be about my beautiful baby boy who turned six months today.

This post shouldn't be emo and leave you halfway through saying tl;dr.

This post hurts me, but I have to write it. I have to get it out as I can't keep it festering inside like a scab on my heart festering with infection that I can't stop myself from picking at.

Behind every hurtful word said out of anger lies some seed of truth. Those on the receiving side can at times let the words slide right off them. No big deal. No scars. Nothing to see here. And then there are people who hear those words, over and over like a broken record. They know the truth is in those words, and it feels like it will never stop hurting, burning, breaking their heart over and over again.

"You have to be worthy of being earned."

Sounds like sage advice. Unless it's coming from your partner in the middle of an argument in front of all three children.

"You have to be worthy of being earned."

After a major blow out back in November I asked him to please date me, make me feel feminine, wanted, loved. Take me back to when we were first together. Please. Please make me feel wanted. Earn me. Please earn me back, because my heart was on autopilot, because I'm at my heaviest... because I feel the least sexy I've ever felt in my life... because I only feel wanted by my children out of necessity. My nerves are like sandpaper, my heart is a stone sinking deeper into my chest, I cry until I feel like I have nothing left... that I'm dehydrated from all the fluid leaking from my face.

I tell all this to my therapist, the psychiatrist, and it still doesn't feel right. I skate on thin ice afraid to speak up, afraid to make it worse, only begging for it to change, to please God make this right again. I'll do anything to make it right. Please God, we're both at fault and we both need help.

I wake up. I take my meds. I toss back two cups of coffee. I get kids out the door, nurse the baby, dress myself and sob at the reflection. The sour, sad, broken woman inside this shell is trying to make herself apparent physically. My pock marks seem bigger, my stomach saggier, my shirt sleeves tighter around my arms.

I don't want to be angry and bitter. I don't want to keep waiting either. I don't want my heart to hurt like this anymore.

The only glimmer of hope I can see is that I'm still taking my medication. That I'm still being proactive about my mental health. That maybe, just maybe, this is normal for heartbreak. That maybe, JUST maybe, this is how normal people cope with taking their relationship from best friends to just friends until the two can make themselves better inside. But, to me, I feel like I've lost a limb. I feel like my best friend sees the spinach in my teeth and is too revolted to fill me in.

"You have to be worthy of being earned."

Each day my brain picks, picks, picks at the scab.

Each day my brain analyzes every move I make, every word said, makes sure I don't make this worse. Sometimes I don't say anything at all. It's easier to pretend it's all ok, that those words don't sting me all day every day, that we're still friends and we're both going to put makeup on that bruise and move on.
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