Sunday, January 17, 2010

A story of life changes.

It is amazing how one small period in time can change your life.

Here's my story....

It was about this time 2005 when I realized that what I was doing just wasn't working for me anymore. I told you I was busy....I have ALWAYS kept busy...

Back then, I was working 3 jobs.

I woke up at about 6:30 and went to the school 3 miles away and was something like a teacher's aid (I am certified, but it is hard to find a teaching position in this part of Pennsylvania). I would be there until 3:45. Then, I might have a few minutes to go home, before I left to watch the kids that I watch now. If there was no school, or sometimes on Saturdays, I would go to help a friend of my mom's with her son's business.

At one point, I tried to keep track of the number of hours I was actually working in a week. I found that it fell somewhere between 60-70 hours! I was always excited for pay day, but pretty much hated my life.

So, February came, and I decided come hell or high water, I was going to find a teaching job. I talked to my fiancee and we decided to map off a area that would be within a 6-8 hour drive from where both of our families were in Pennsylvania. Ultimately, by April, I had found a position in Shenandoah, Virginia. Which is only about four hours away from our families. It seemed mostly perfect. The downside was that my fiancee still had a semester of school left at Pitt and he was going to have to continue to live with his parents until he finished. I was going to be on my own from July until early December.

I had taken a job teaching English as a Second Language. It was stressful. I had to work at four different schools. One, was about 15 miles from the other three. I didn't have a sense of belonging with any of the staff and it was difficult to make friends since I was always missing stuff, because I had to be at another school.

I did, however, manage to get to know two wonderful first grade teachers at one school. They not only took me under their wings, but also offered me a place to go on Friday nights to unwind. We would get together from time to time and have these little wine parties. We'd drink a glass or two and just chat. I always LOVED going to these little gatherings.

I guess it was one such gathering where the topic of needing first grade teachers for the following year came up. They suggested that I apply for the position. I thought about it, but just didn't know that I wanted to make a change. EVEN with as stressful as it was to not belong anywhere, I LOVED my ESL job! The kids and families were fantastic! I've never met such well behaved kids in my life!!! I think it was about as close as I could get to learning about the places that they were from without actually going. I LOVED it...and my students looked up to and adored me.

Eventually, I realized that there was going to be a lot of shakeup over the summer and I should probably get myself into a classroom. I applied, and was accepted to teach first grade! I got started on my room right away!

That year was also the one where my husband's back problems started to peak. He was in pain almost all of the time. He had started sleeping on the living room floor and had a hard time getting up to do anything.

That summer, July 2007, was when my husband and I were married. It was a beautiful day. While other people have issues with DJs, weather, or someone not showing, my day was the best ever. Sadly, my husband wasn't having the best day of his life. He was taking a cocktail of medicine to help keep his back in order so that he didn't have to stand with his upper half shifted to the left and his bottom half shifted to the right. When I watch the wedding video that my cousin took for us, there is a part where he is getting onto our bus to leave and he is so crooked, but he kept on smiling and acting just as jolly as ever.

When we got to the reception, I remember thinking that it was the best day EVER and that I was so lucky that everything was more prefect than I had ever imagined! My happiness faded when my husband leaned into me and said, "I'm done, I just can't stand up anymore." I was left to finish some small tasks visit with all the guests at the table....and keep the dancing going....and toss candy to the kiddos during the 'Lollipop' song. Honestly, I didn't want to see him in pain, but I felt really stupid doing some of things by myself. I felt like people just assumed that I was such a control freak that my husband didn't even know anything about what I was I planned all of that stuff without him. I didn't though....that's just how things turned out.

The worst was later that night when my husband was in tears on the floor because it hurt so bad. We had this fancy, expense room at the Marriott and just couldn't sleep in the bed no matter what. He took to the floor and said that I should stay in the bed and enjoy the king-sized bed all myself. I wanted to....really really bad, but my brain or heart or something just kept telling me that I needed to lay down on the floor with him and stay by his side like a good wife. So, I did. At least until he fell asleep and I didn't know what to do with myself. I ended up spending the night at the bar with my family. We had some good laughs, but that is certainly not how I imagined my wedding night! I NEVER thought my mom and dad would be a part of it! :)

Well now, that was July. We were supposed to take our Disney honeymoon in August, but my husband's back doctor told us that we should cancel. So, instead, we just decided to have all the unprotected sex we could handle! Truthfully, we'd been together for eight years at that point and we spent a lot of time trying not to get pregnant....and never did. We actually thought that there might be some kind of issue and discussed adoption a lot!

It was September 2nd when I told my husband that if my period didn't start by the end of that day I was going to get a test. I honestly never beleived in a million years that I could really be pregnant. I guess a part of me just thought I could get a rise out of him and I liked that. He was working at Walmart at the time. I decided, later that day, to pay him a visit AND seriously consider getting a test. I picked up the test and went over to where he worked, AGAIN....never thinking in a million years that I could really be pregnant. It was cool to see him freak out just a little.

When I got back from Walmart, I thought about taking the test, but ended up finding the slightest tint of blood in my urine and thought "WE'RE SAVED!!!" I told Scott that all was well and I didn't need to test. Oh, the relief!

But then another day past....and nothing else was coming. That night, we very nonchalantly, took the test out of the package, read the directions....and talked about it very nervously. I STILL didn't think there was any possible way that I could be pregnant. Yet at the same time, I knew.

I remember taking the test. We ended up with one very dark pink line and one VERY light pink line. I remember each of us going to a computer to find images of other pregnancy tests to see what their results looked like. I remember being frantic! I just kept thinking that I was so not ready to be anyone's mom. Scott's back was in horrible shape. Worse than ever before! I was only making $2200 a month and Scott was making little more than $800 a month. We had a tiny apartment that wouldn't even allow us to stow away our boxes properly. I had no family to help me! I didn't even have a DR in this one-horse town!

I remember crying a lot, because I didn't know what to do next. I had always wanted to have children, as long as I didn't have to actually give birth to them (that seemed like a pain that I could never recover from!). I had just always imagined that Scott and I would be a little more stable. He would have a good job, we would have put away a nice stash of money, we would own a house with a yard, and we'd have all the time in the world to put together the perfect baby nursery together. We'd take the birthing classes together and everything would be like the movies! LIFE CHECK...NOTHING IS LIKE THE MOVIES!!!

That weekend, we were both still feeling down. We ended up driving to the mall and walked through the baby aisles at Kohls. Scott picked up these little baby Halloween PJs. They were so tiny and so cute. We had to buy them. Scott hugged me and we both realized that this was something we could handle. We just needed to stop paniking, and talk about it.

We ended up waiting a few weeks to tell our parents. We wanted to tell them in person, so we waited until the beginning of October when we had to come up two weekends in a row for weddings. That first weekend, was my mom's birthday. We set it up so that it seemed like we were taking them out for her birthday. Boy, was my family surprised to find out that Scott's family was coming. I'm sure they were confused when they walked in and way about 4 extra chairs at the table.

We told them all that night and the hugs and kisses were plentiful.

We spent the next few weeks going to appointment after appointment. I have VERY high blood pressure. When I did see a doctor to confirm that I was pregnant, I had stopped taking my regular medication weeks before (because I was careless) and my blood pressure in the office that day was 220/120! I spent most of my pregnant time going to different doctors to get on the right medication and also the right dosage. That was a pain in the neck! Thankfully, most of my doctor visits were in Woodstock, which was just about five minutes down the road from my house. It is a small hospital, but everyone that grew up in that area was pretty much either born or gave birth there. It is quiet, safe, and the people are friendly.

I remember driving up to the mall (which was at least a 45 minute drive) to buy maternity clothes. The first thing that I bought was THE best pair of overalls OVER! I would still wear them if I could! I LOVED them! I remember going into the dressing room and putting the fake belly on and wondering if it would really get THAT big.

The week before Christmas was what we had been waiting for! We were going to find out the sex of the baby. Hubby and I were really hoping for a girl. We have all girls in the family and my husband was comfortable with girls. For me, I just wanted to be able to be the Girl Scout Leader, the Mother of the Bride, and all of the other things that Mothers and Daughters get to do together. No such luck. We were having a boy. We both cried when we found out. Probably for different reasons, although I never asked hubby why that made him cry.

We were so excited to tell everyone that we were having a boy and even more excited when the boy clothes started coming in as Christmas gifts. I can remember watching our neices open gifts that year. Hubby and I were sitting on the couch and he hugged me. I'm pretty sure that we were both thinking the same thing.....our little one is going to be down there next year! Christmas will NEVER be the same! This Christmas ranked up there with the one a few years ago where hubby proposed on Christmas Eve, but we knew that the next year would be even more magical.

Christmas was over and it was time to get back to reality. Hubby was still having lot of back problems. We talked a lot about how sad it was going to be that he couldn't lift up his son. That really made him sad. He was on the living room floor nearly every night now and requiring better pain medication, because he just hurt so bad. I was just starting to get out of the phase where I fell asleep every night at 6pm and then woke up to watch 'Friends' until four in the morning. I was headed to my monthly visit with the baby doctor specialist, which I wasn't too excited about. She was kinda rude....granted, I'd been warned.

Mid-January, I went in for that appointment. I remember that THEY thought this was going to be the first time that I was going to find out about the sex of the baby. RIGHT! Anyway, I ended up waiting for HOURS to see someone for the ultrasound. By the time that I got in there, everyone was gone from the waiting room, TVs were turned off, even the secretary had left. I didn't care. I just sat there and worked on stuff for school.

When it was finally my turn, I was just thinking about how much I LOVED being on the "special list", which ultimately gets me two ultrasounds a month! That's lots of seeing my baby. Things started out well. Then I remember the tech saying "I'm going to get the doctor now". As it turned out, there were problems. The baby was not doing very well. There were problems in the sac that were causing the fluid to be low and the placenta to fall apart. I didn't know what to do! No one was with me. I started to cry uncontrollably! The doctor was talking to me about what needed to happen and I just didn't hear a word she said. My worst fear had come true. My baby was sick and I was going to be on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. I was 21 weeks. The doctor told me that if I could make it to 24 weeks, she could deliver the baby. After I was able to pick myself up, I was like the engine that could! Things weren't that bad. I could power threw 3 more weeks! I would just stay in bed as much as I could and watch a lot of movies and stuff.

My mom came down that weekend. She brought me everything should could think of to keep me busy and off my feet. Plants, books, even a foot massage bath. I was just glad to have her there. Although, I remember her acting like she was holding back all of her feelings of concern. I kept staying positive and making comments that in probably made it seem like I was in denial that anything could really happen. She just looked like she wanted to believe it, but having the life experience to know that everything isn't always cookies and candy, knew that things were grim.

On the following Tuesday, I went to see the baby doctors that I had been with in Woodstock. They were supposed to close up my care there and send me to be totally treated at the other doctor.

There was a medical student there that day. I had been with her before and she was sweet and a little unsure of herself. The doctor did some measurements and stuff and then was called out of the room. She kind of put the med student on "busy work", telling her to take the baby's heartbeat and stuff. No biggie. She had out the heartbeat microphone thing and couldn't get a heartbeat. She tried in a few different places. I wasn't worried, hell, she was only a med STUDENT. I didn't know everything when I was a student teacher and even the things I did know could get messed up if I was stressed or something. She kept trying and I kept thinking...whatever...let's just get the doctor back in here for an ultrasound or something. The heartbeat monitor isn't that interesting anymore.

The doctor came back in the room and also tried to find the heartbeat. She couldn't, but said, I'm sure everything is fine, let's just take a walk down the hall and do an ultrasound to be sure.

I got all strapped up and she put on the ultrasound stick-thing. A few seconds later she said, "This is a baby that is no longer living". I just remember looking at her and saying "What?" I remember feeling upset, angry, scared, and relieved. Until we had to start talking about what would happen next.

I still had to deliver the baby.

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