Monday, February 12, 2018

8 years and a lifetime

I can't believe that 8 years ago today, our first baby entered this world.  It was a snowy day and a LONG day.  We finally met that miracle we'd been praying for at 9:16 PM.  It was somewhat of a blur, but, also one of those days that I remember so *crystal clear* - which, I've learned in the past 14 years of marriage, that, my memory isn't exactly the same as Robbie's :).  I'm sure there are things that I think happened that maybe didn't....But, I know for sure that I remember being wheeled down that hallway, pressing the button that plays a lullaby (that notifies everyone else of that sweet miracle you just brought into this world), and, wanting to cry at every bump of change in flooring - because, I'd had a C-section and I have no tolerance for pain.  That stuff hurt, though, people.  I do agree with Rob, though, after 16 years together, that I have a very low tolerance for pain.  I think we'd both agree, too, that no one in our family of 5 is/was cut out to be a nurse.  Case in point, my recent bout with the flu....but, I'm not holding any grudges :).
At this point, I think we can all agree that this blog is no longer just a diary of my's all about Momma...and, I can admit that.  Writing is counseling, therapy, a memory book, all of those things to me.  Just want to put that out there!
We celebrated Molly all weekend with a party where everyone "adopted" a Beanie Boo pet, went out to dinner with us and her BFF, Nanna and Pop the next night, and Annie and T on her actual birthday, today.  I think she feels appropriately celebrated :).  She had a great weekend and a great day (off from school!!) - Nanna took them to Catch Air while I worked a few hours, and, then we watched the clock until 9:16 PM so she could officially turn 8 before she went to sleep! 
Man, I love that girl.  She is strong willed, opinionated, full of energy, a morning much of what I am not...but, she is the answer to my prayers.  I drive her crazy with my hatred for mornings, and, she drives me equally crazy with her inability to sit still.  I wouldn't trade her for the world.  I know that God has big things planned for you, my sweet Molly. I cannot wait to continue to see what God has in store for you.

What feels like a lifetime ago happened a month and four days ago.  Not to overshadow Moo's birthday, but, it's there.  There's a grey cloud ever present, and, we've had such a sweet, loving support system.  I said before, and, I'll say it again - because I'm a terrible thank you card writer - the sweet cards, the food, the flowers, the hugs, the phone calls, the texts...every prayer.  They have all been felt and appreciated so much.  I don't know that I will ever be the same, but, maybe being forever changed is okay, too.  I think that everyone is more resilient than the Mother in situations where you lose the life your were expecting.  The kids were playing house about two weeks ago, and, Madeline was the "baby".  She proclaimed her name the name we'd picked for the baby.  I sat in the den, pretending to work on my laptop, and, trying my best not to sob.  Molly asked me today if she could have a puppy for her birthday - I laughed.  She said, "Well, we lost Calloway, then we lost Sidda and, then, we lost the Baby.  Can't we get a puppy, mom?"  OMG.  I wanted to pull the car off the road and lay down in the grass and cry and scream.  She was just so matter of fact.  It's so black and white for kids.  I'll never get there, I know, but, it's interesting to see how their brains and hearts work.
I don't want to throw my china against the granite most days, anymore.  I do occasionally wait for Rob to go to bed so that I can cry, though (like today).  My worst days since my last post were when I went for my "follow up" appointment....which, unless you are still having physical issues, I'd urge you just to phone that one in.  I was hoping for any kind of answer or closure...and, I basically, got nothing but a prescription for valium.  Don't get me wrong, that may come in handy.  But, I've been with my DR for almost 20 years....and, he knows me...and, he knows my longing for answers.  Science was unable to provide them...and, he was only able to provide a broken heart along side mine, nothing more.  The second worst day was one of the first days I went back to, work has been a refuge.  No one asks me for anything there except my work - no one needs chocolate milk, snacks, their bottoms wiped, nothing!  It's amazing!  But, I'd faced the first day, and it was HARD.  It must have been the 3rd or 4th day that Bob, the man who started our firm, was there.  I was in the mail room and he came in.  I don't know what had come over me, but, I was just thinking I was me and not the heartbroken me.  He is the SWEETEST MAN.  I mean, he is almost as sweet as my Daddy.  And, he was so sincere and looked at me and said, "I'm so sorry about your baby, Tara".  And, he hugged me.  And, I just cried and cried.  I hope I didn't make him feel weird because I wrapped him in a two arm hug and didn't let go for quite a while.  I didn't recover from that conversation - or sentence, as it was - for a couple of days - honestly, it was one of the sweetest moments of my life.  So honest and sincere.  You don't get that every day in your life.
Maybe I was supposed to learn from this that people in this life really do care about me.  Maybe, this was to bring friends back into my life that had been absent for a few years.  Maybe, it was to make me learn to appreciate what I had been taking for granted.  I don't know.  I do know that I'm trying so hard to re-image our very near and our far off future without that baby girl.  And it sucks.  It is not fun.  It's crazy how quickly your future plans can change and how quickly those dreams can shatter.  It's such a deep sadness, that, I know others have experienced.  My aunt who is mourning her husband of 50+ years, my friend who lost her sister, the many people I know who've lost their parents.  It's a different loss than I've ever known.  I do know this...those three sleeping babies upstairs are enough.  They are more than I ever hoped and dreamed for...and, they fill my heart to bursting.  There was more than enough room for another, and, I'm learning to live with God's plan for us.  I'm thankful that more than my dreams for my life have been fulfilled, and, thanking my lucky stars that we even got to imagine the thought of that sweet baby.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Life is Brutal

It feels like I don't post anything on this tiny speck of the internet anymore, unless, it's heartbreaking.  Oh, well.  If you know me well, then, you know that writing is way more therapeutic for me than actual counseling...and, a helluva lot less expensive.  And, maybe, just maybe, someone in similar shoes will read it and not feel so alone.
On October 27th, in the biggest surprise twist of our lives, I peed on a stick and got a "Pregnant".  You see, if you know me, then you know that my children are all IVF.  And, it was a long journey to get there.  It's not uncommon, I know that.  But, when you are in the depths of hell and depression, it's a tough row to hoe.  Infertility, very bad.  I can now say that they were all well worth the wait...and, I mean that with my whole heart.  However, when we were living it, it didn't seem like it would ever end, and, certainly not the way I was hoping.  I met some amazing women on that journey, and, Rob and I managed to come out stronger than when we started.  Never did we expect to have a surprise pregnancy.  We were shocked (one of us a little more than the other - ha), thrilled, terrified, over the moon.  The emotions ran the gamut.  I was a bit less shocked than anyone, because it was my body and I had been in that place before...I'd had a few days to panic and wonder and worry (but, the sleep - oh, it was sooo good).  I knew for sure on Thursday, October 26th - that if anything in the world was wrong with me, that I was either dying of exhaustion or pregnant.  I prayed for as long as I could that night before drifting into dreamland, that I was the latter (I only lasted a few minutes, but, the prayers were fervent).
I'm 100% positive that I called Rob first (I didn't with Molly - OOPS!!!), and 99.9% sure that he called me back before I called my friend, Katherine.  The doctor's office was 2nd, Momma was third - this is all assuming I called Katherine after them - ha!  I had told her on Sunday that my boobs were sore - she was the only person I uttered a word to about it.  I wasn't brave enough to say anything to anyone else.
Anyway, to say that anyone we told was shocked is an understatement.  For real, if you knew our story, you'd have been shocked, as well.
So, this was a Friday.  I went to the DR on Monday and everything measured and looked good.  Test results showed low progesterone and maybe a slower heartbeat than normal.  We started progesterone and waited with baited breath a week before another visit with the doc.  At that point, everything was normal.  I felt OK - tired, terrible sinuses, but, not sick like I had with the others, just super tired.  Granted, it's been 6 years since I did this before - I'm a few years older now.  Everything seemed fine, measured fine, looked fine.   At my 12 week appointment, my doctor, who we've been with for 18 years, told me "I never tell anyone they won't miscarry - but, this baby...THIS baby - is awesome.  I can't wait to meet her in June.  Take a breath, Momma.  Yall are good."
Over New Year's weekend, I couldn't sleep one night.  I laid awake and just prayed.  Prayed that she would be healthy, whole, "normal".  Genetic testing told us that this baby was a girl and that everything was "normal" - whatever that is these days.  But, on December 30th, I couldn't sleep and all I could do was worry.  We don't know for sure when it happened, but, if I were to bet, I'd bet on December 30th.  I started spotting on the evening of January 7th.
On January 8th at 8:00 AM, we met with a doctor here in we were planning to make the move from Atlanta Piedmont to Athens Piedmont.  It's an awful way to meet someone, to have them put an ultrasound on your pregnant belly and to look at the screen and know she was gone.  As a mother, it's been the worst experience I've faced.  The doctor didn't want to say it, so, I did.  "There is no heartbeat.  She is gone."
I'd lie and say that the past two weeks have been somewhat normal.  But, honestly, we're just surviving.  The kids - LUCKILY - have rebounded quickly.  The girls had more questions that Marlin.  He is his fathers child, though.  Internalizes and doesn't talk.  Which, sometimes, I feel like is a blessing.  The girls both had questions and lots of anxiety about my health.  If she wasn't healthy, then, did that mean I wasn't healthy.  If she couldn't/wouldn't/didn't survive, would I be able to be healthy?  Those were hard conversations.  Brutal.  And, I'm so sad that they had to face those thoughts in their little hearts, but, thankful they were brave enough to have the conversation with me about their fears.
I've been trying to re-enter society this past week.  It's nice to go to work or errands and feel normal.  But, everything I do, I think of her.  Every time we get in the car, I think about how we were encouraging the kids to sit in the third row to have room for a car seat.  The grocery store, target, etc. with all of the baby gear.  The sweet babe losing it today at Sam's.  The church service telling me that God loves me and doesn't want to harm me.  The same service telling me about the marriage bed.  Isn't that what got me into this??  I want to scream and ask where my loving God is when he ripped my child from my womb.  The baby who never breathed a breath of fresh air.  The one who I could never hold.  The baby sister my kids would never see.
My girlfriend keeps telling me how strong I am.  What she doesn't and can't see is my rage.  I'm so mad.  I feel like the mom in Steel Magnolias where she screams "I'm so mad, I just want to hit something."  I want to throw glass to hear it shatter.  I want to shoot a target to hear the blast.  I want to hit something just to feel the blow.
We've had such an outpouring of love and support.  I'm so thankful to have people in my life who truly care about us.  We come home to gifts on the porch, flowers delivered, cards in the mail, food on the table.  I'm so very thankful for the help, support, prayers.  I know one day I'll look back at this, and, though the pain will always be there, I'll be able to have a conversation with friends without sobbing, speak to neighbors without the awkward "How are you?" and my stark, honest and pissed off response "I'm breathing."  The sun is still rising everyday.  I'm forcing myself to, as well.
I can say that I'm thankful that if I had to lose her, I lost her before I met her or heard her cry.  Before my babies were able to hold her and claim her as their own, before Robbie could fall in love and promise her the world.  It is better now than a lifetime - long or short - of pain or no quality of life.  Knowing that in my head does not help my heart at the moment.  One day it might...I sure hope it will.
Someone said on facebook that I was brave for sharing our journey.  Others may think I've been foolish to share at all.   Others may think I need/want attention.  Still others, know that it's just who I am.  When all signs point to a miracle blessing, why not shout it from the rooftops?
Know this, baby girl.  You were loved.  You are loved.  You will forever be missed.  And, one day, maybe Momma can think of you and not feel like her heart is being ripped out of her body.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sidda Dooley....

Tomorrow, it will be 4 weeks since we said goodbye to our first baby and very best friend, Sidda.  It's been probably 10 weeks that we learned one of her tumors was cancerous...and 16 weeks since we said goodbye to her brother, my sister's family dog, Baxter.  To love a dog, and have her love you, is truly a gift from God.  To love her, and watch her grow up with her brother, and to love him, too, is truly a major blessing.

We had been engaged for two months when I found Sidda in an AJC ad - there was a picture of these Lab puppies around a baby pool drinking water.  I saw her - she was the Fox Red lab - and, I promised myself - if I called and they didn't return my call with a half hour, if the red lab wasn't female, or, if she was sold, then, I wouldn't tell Rob that I'd even called.  I called.  Left a message.  They called back in 15 minutes.  It was a girl.  She was available.  We bought a lab that day.

My sister and brother in law were in Charleston.  They said we were *%&ging crazy and didn't need a dog.  They came home Saturday.  Stopped through North Georgia...and, almost brought the final two home.  They ended up just bringing one home...the Omega male.  They worried he was a dud.  We met at Mom and Dad's on Sunday.  He was most definitely not the Omega once he saw Sidda.  They went nuts - ran circles around the couch, pushed it off the wall.  We laughed until we cried.  Baxter was a Houdini - ALWAYS busting out of the kennel with no physical evidence of how he actually got out...but, he never really broke other rules unless Sid was there to convince him.  For example, Mandie and Brian bought a house with a koi pond....Baxter never got it in it alone.  However, if Sidda was there...homegirl would sail right in and he'd totally follow her.  Poor Koi.  Mandie and Brian eventually got rid of the fish and filled in the pond.  Totally for the girls to have a playground, promise. Not because my dog taught their's how to jump in and chase fish, I'm sure :)

Sidda was a loyal, loving friend.  She only ate a handful of my favorite shoes :).  She had ears made of velvet.  She was a great sand digger on the beach, and, always got us hollered at for pooping in the ocean.  She loved car rides, peanut butter sandwiches, tolerated all of our children climbing on her and riding her like a horse (nieces included), loved swimming in the lake, jumping off the dock, sleeping in our bed, and, when that got too tough, sleeping next to me.  She despaired with me and mourned with us the loss of pregnancies and infertility.  She followed me for 38 weeks straight, twice.  She loved our babies and was the very best nanny to them - I know she'd have figured out how to fly with them if Peter Pan ever showed up.

Rob and I were with her until the very end.  I held her until after she met my Grandfather in Heaven (on his birthday) and her brother, Baxter.  I am certain they shared cake and tennis balls and love.

She was and is so loved.  She is so missed.  Rest easy, my Sweet Sidda.  We will miss you until we meet again.

(Picture overload, and in no particular order)

My 30th - Rob sent me on a scavenger hunt, and, it ended with the dogs and a ring.

Favorite Halloween Costumes - these started before babies and were an annual favorite with the kiddos, too.

Painting Molly's nursery!

Meeting Molly!

Molly's First Easter.

Playing with Baxter at our condo in Atlanta.

Rob thought it was funny to put the dogs in my panties :)

Love from Emma.

First snow in Athens.

One of Molly's weekly photo shoots :)

Sprinkler time with Madeline.

I think this was riding in the car???

Molly's first snow!

This.  A boy and his dog.

One of our Christmas cards before kiddos.  Still one of my favorite pictures.

Likely, Sidda's first trip to St. Augustine.  We have so many precious pictures of her from this trip.

Buffett's first night at home.  Boy, was Sidda thrilled :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I tried to blog from my phone on my birthday, but, I'm 38 and I just don't do that kind of technology

HA!  I love my title. 

Honestly, I did try to blog from my phone on my birthday.  It's not because I'm 38 that the technology didn't might've been the wine, more likely, it was that you can't really type a blog post from your phone.  I'll just leave that right there.

We have finally (KNOCK ON WOOD - QUICK) recovered from our illnesses that have plagued us since the week before Halloween.  If it wasn't strep or a cold or sinus was something else.  I've about had it with antibiotics and treatments.  I love LOVE LOVE our pediatrician, so, I could go see her everyday, just to convince myself that she is my friend...hahahaha.  No, seriously.  She's amazing.  Her friends are so lucky to have her. 

We have survived the major birthday season of our year (Nov. 15, 30, Dec 4 and 4 - Molly is our outlier in February (LUCKY GIRL!)).  We are about ready for Christmas.  School is out on Friday.  It's busy, busy around here.  It's wonderful.  The kids are so much more "in" to the holidays this year - helping decorate (albeit driving me crazy until I cave and let them put 37,000 ornaments in the same square foot of the tree), helping with making birthday goodie bags, helping stuff Christmas cards, label them, and stamp them.  It's definitely fun to see the magic through their eyes - the help is the cherry on top!

We went to Disney World over the Thanksgiving break - it was AMAZING and EXHAUSTING and EPCOT is not for our family - hahahah!!!  We also learned that Mommy and the kids cannot stay at Magic Kingdom until midnight and then go to Epcot the next morning.  Nope.  Maybe we will go when they are 21 and we can do the drink around the world thing.  It was not our finest day at Disney :(.  We did thoroughly enjoy Magic Kingdom (OF COURSE!), Animal Kingdom, and we all LOVED Hollywood Studios (well, except that one Star Tours ride that made me and Rob so motion sick we thought we'd puke for the next hour).

Here's to a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!  So very thankful that unto us a child was born!  God is so good.  May he bless you all.