Thursday, January 31, 2008

The beginning. Again.

Part of me wishes that I could say, “And they all lived happily ever after” and end the story right here.

The reality is? I can’t.

Honestly, at the time, if my husband would have wanted me back? I would have taken him back. I was so desperate. I was so alone. I was so overwhelmed and scared and…everything. I was one hot mess and I absolutely saw no way out.

Because everything leading up to the birth and then the actual birth itself? Was nothing compared to the feeling of ice in your soul when a doctor tells you your child may not continue to be alive. Nothing compared to having to watch your child suffer to breathe, struggle to eat. Nothing compared to having to show your drivers license and put on the equivalent of a Tyvek suit to see your own child. Nothing on this earth that takes your breath away like seeing your child with an IV in his head, because he didn’t have any other veins strong enough to support a huge needle. Nothing that hurts quite like seeing your child getting his blood drawn once again and seeing him, so resigned to the pain in his life, that he couldn’t even cry anymore.

Wondering why on earth you were chosen to have two babies at once, at age 22. Wondering if you would even be alive in five years to continue to be their mom, because apparently you have big-ass tumors that are prone to grow inside your womb and all over your ovaries. Nothing like wondering if it was ever, ever going to get better and even if it didn’t get better, if you would just have enough money tomorrow, to buy diapers.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider suicide.

Even now, almost ten years later, it makes me very uncomfortable for people to give me praise for being strong. I wasn’t strong. I did what I had to do to survive and at times I really, seriously thought about giving up.

It is really, really hard for me to admit that. But it is what it is.

I’ve never believed that I was a person destined for anything great or special. I do think, however, that something really special and amazing was given to me. I don’t think I was special for living through what I did and making a better life. I do think there are a lot of women, many of whom have sent me wonderful, heartfelt emails in the past few days, who have lived through something similar.

I do believe in unanswered prayers.

I started writing this in hopes that I would deal with a lot of things in my life that I’ve never dealt with. It was never, ever about my ex-husband. When I say that I don’t remember what he looks like? I honestly mean that. It was never about him.

It was never about anyone feeling sorry for me. I never want anyone to feel sorry for me. Because my life? Freaking rocks. And while not all of it rocks (for example, my job which both sucks and blows), I’m working towards making it rock. And the parts of my life that suck don’t really matter as much when I get to come home every night to Jason and Boy Child and Girl Child and Ginger.

I don't know if I think my life rocks because I am deliriously grateful for everything about it or because it actually, really rocks. Either way, I don't care. I think it rocks.

So what I intended for this story didn’t happen. But what did happen, clarified a lot of things for me. I feel stronger now than I have in many, many years. I’ve made a lot of decisions about my life. Powerful decisions.

It feels good.

A lot of people said things to me like, “I’m so glad you have Jason!” and you know? Thank you. I’m so glad I have him too. He is my best friend and I am his. We have a really good life together. Not perfect, but really good. The kind of life I always wanted and always hoped I would have with my husband and children.

And have you seen him? He’s really freaking hot!

But I guess what I wanted to make clear was, yes, I have Jason and I am unbelievably thankful that I do, but if I didn’t? I’d be okay.

Because I have myself.

And when this story took place ten years ago? I didn’t.

Since I was a little child I’ve always loved to read and write. I would read everything I could get my hands on and I while I always loved stories, they also made me horribly sad. Because there was always an ending.

This story has no ending. Not yet.

So much of it we haven’t even written yet.

And I am so profoundly thankful that there are so many people who want to read about it. Because that? Is some of the most amazing stuff of all.


Ry said...

I can't get enough of your stories!

Allie said...

I really enjoyed your story, you are a strong woman whether you believe it or not. You're an excellent writer, you made each and every one of us readers feel something in our hearts. I'm so glad that J told me I had to read your blog that day because you change the way I look at the world. You're that good and you're right, you could do this without Jason but you would never want to.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

you're just wonderful. I'm glad you have you too! And I'm glad I know you!

Priscilla said...

I heard that alot while going through chemo. 'You're so strong' 'You are such an inspiration' yada yada yada.

I wasn't strong. I was whinny. I was sick and bald and felt terrible all the time. I just kept going, every day, one step in front of the other. And I'm now on the other side. Eternally grateful for every breath I get to take.

That's what you did. You got through it, one day, one step at a time. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it doing what needs to be done in spite of that fear.

And life is so much better on the other side. You can't really appreciate light until you've lived through the darkness. It's good to remember where we were. It makes today and all it's problems worth it.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, perfect strangers. Our hearts are with you.

Anonymous said...

When I said you were amazing I meant it and I still do. I understand that you feel like you didn't get through it with strength and that you nearly broke. What makes you amazing is that you went through fire and you were forged into the person you are now. You wouldn't be who you are now if your life hadn't happened the way it happened. You went through a horrible ordeal and over time eventually came out of it stronger and happier.

That is amazing. Because there are plenty of people who do give up and commit suicide. My dad may or may not be one of those people--I'll never know for sure if he drove that truck into the lake on purpose or not--the point is. You didn't. You lived. You got stronger. YOU? are amazing.

Sarcasta-Mom said...

You're story is so moving, and I know a lot of us can relate on many levels. You're a powerful writer, and a beautiful person.

Just becasue you considered giving up doesn't make you weak. Sometimes true strength is getting to the eand of the day. And then the end of another. And another. And next thing you know it's been a week, a month a year. And now 10 years.

Don't ever discount your strength. You are amazing!

Mrs. Booms said...

After we lost our son, my husband emailed something that I keep on my desk, in front of me, to read daily... It said:

Tough times don't last, but tough people do.

I don't know how strong I am, much like you... but what I've had to be is tough.

You are a rare and great thing, lady.

Mikey said...

I like that

Tough times don't last, but tough people do.

Chick, you are one tough mother!!

(you need a shirt that says that)

AndreAnna said...

I was waiting until all the entries were over because then I would have something profound and wise to say.

And now? Notsomuch. I've got nada. Nothing that can sound good enough to post to such an awesome story.

But thank you for sharing your story and letting us into your life.

It is inspiring.

Edie said...

I'm glad this story has no ending. I'm glad because that means that there will be many more stories to tell. I truly hope that what you have discussed over the past few days were the most difficult times that you will ever endure. But the good news is that you have grown from it. I think you will be there for your childrend during the times like the ones that no one was there for you. You will always be there for them because no one deserves to have to go through all that you have gone through. I'm so thankful that you are ok and that you have found yourself now and that your life rocks. Because? You deserve it!!

Edie said...

I'm glad this story has no ending. I'm glad because that means that there will be many more stories to tell. I truly hope that what you have discussed over the past few days were the most difficult times that you will ever endure. But the good news is that you have grown from it. I think you will be there for your childrend during the times like the ones that no one was there for you. You will always be there for them because no one deserves to have to go through all that you have gone through. I'm so thankful that you are ok and that you have found yourself now and that your life rocks. Because? You deserve it!!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Being strong can be defined simply as not giving up when you could have. I've always remembered that when my Aunt lost her nine month old baby boy, people kept praising her for being strong...for not shutting down and giving up. She was kerflummoxed by it. She had two other little boys to care for. For her, giving up just wasn't an option.

But those people offering that praise? Could imagine giving up under similar circumstances. I, personally, could imagine curling up in a little ball and shutting the world out...pretending it didn't exist so I could ignore the hurt, the grief, and the anxiety.

And because I can imagine myself giving up, I can praise you for not.

I'm really glad you found some clarity through this, even if it wasn't necessarily the kind you thought you'd find. And, much as I know it hurt you to write this, I feel the urge to reiterate that it would make a powerful, moving book that would touch and change lives if given the chance.

Seriously. I really believe that.

Dreamer said...

I really enjoyed it and like comments above, I believe that you are strong, even if you don't. :) I'm so glad your life now rocks! :)

Bunny said...

Chick, thank you so much for writing all this. The story of a life. There is so much about your story that so many of us can relate to. And I so admire you for celebrating how far you have come and the wonderful life you have now. Your family DOES rock. Jason and Girl and Boy Child are awesome. And so are you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I can relate to some of your experiences, but what you had to go through? So much worse. You might not feel strong...but the fact that you are still here with your beautiful babies and husband says otherwise.

frannie said...

thank you for the wonderful story.

so inspiring.

Angie said...

Yes, my dear, you do have a hot husband. . . .and you deserve it!

You have awesome kids!
You have a cool dog!

Okay, the job part? You're right, it sucks and blows.

But the rest. . . a pretty darn good life, I should say. I think each of us has times in their lives where we have to be refined. To refine gold -- it has to go through the fire.

You are fine, refined, defined, and not confined, Chick.

Rock on with your bad self!

PaintedPromise said...

aawww, you have me in tears again... at work... geez. but they are "i am so proud of you" kinda tears...

you think your life rocks?

i think YOU rock!!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think your story could give hope to so many who think their situations are hopeless. You're a survivor!

And Jason sounds amazing :) I'm glad there isn't an ending.

Anonymous said...

I totally hear you.

Anonymous said...

Freaking fantastic. You can write a story like nobody's business. I'm serious when I say that these series and the ones with how you met Jason could be books. I think it's some of the best writing in the blogosphere, and I'm not just saying that.

You might not think you were strong at the time, you say that you just survived, that you thought of giving up. But isn't that true of any survivor? Or anyone who's been through a tough time?

The truth is? Those who survive and live to tell the tale are strong. And you, my friend, are one of them, and it's not something that you should doubt or feel odd hearing. You really are an amazing human being, and we're just lucky to live in your world.

Jill said...

you say you aren't strong, but here i am, scared to death of having a child because i'm afraid i wont be able to stomach the diapers and i'm afraid of what world they'll go into and i'm afriad i'll get ppd, and you just did it. it may not have been perfect, but you did it and you have 2 beautiful kids. i envy you, maybe not everything that happened, but i do envy you, you have so much... and right now, that makes me feel pretty poor. rich in spirit, glad for you, but kid poor.. you were blessed, its so amazing..

Stephanie said...

Wow, I found your site last night and really didn't stop reading it until this afternoon. Well I did sleep, but I think I may have neglected my mommy duties, just a little ;) Quite possible my hygiene too :P

You write really well, kept me captivated, and made me cry so much. I am okay with sad stories, as long as I know they have a happy "ending". I know your story hasn't ended, but you seem very happy here and now.

Robyn said...

When I started my blog, it was to write out about how I felt and what happned to a person..when S was born at 25 weeks. All of your emotions about your kids' birth, I FEEL..I KNOW. And it sucks. Having a baby is supposed to be a happy, beautiful occassion. Not so much when you see your child struggling to live. Wishing there was a way to trade places with him. Your writing all this gives me goosebump and makes me remember S's birth very vividly.

The only thing I can say is, yes, you are strong, NICU parent's have to be. Even if we don't want to admit it, even if we think we don't deserve it, we are a different breed of mothers (no better and no worse than others of course) and we have to become stronger to survive,to make sure our children get the best of care, it's instinct.

Huge applause for you, bringing all this out, feeling it all again. It takes super duper strength to revisit a horrible time in your life!!

Jenski said...

You held on. You pulled through, whether it was for you and/or your children. You made your life better. You grew and are a stronger person now. But I still think you were pretty freakin' strong back then when you were having all that shit thrown at you.

BS said...

"I did what I had to do to survive and at times I really, seriously thought about giving up." Those words (which I, too, have said many times) ... say it all - you (we) didn't give up and are here today to tell the story - that is what is most important.

Watching your son struggle to survive ? Been there, done that. At 19, alone and in an unfamiliar hospital ... but only 1 (not twins). Someday, I may have the courage to tell his and my story (he is 31 years old now and I still feel guilty for what he had to go through). I haven't felt sorry for you through this entire story ... it has been major admiration for you, then and now - YOU ARE AWESOME

Anonymous said...

It is times like these in our lives that make us look around and feel so grateful for what we have now...and amazed at how far we have come.

I have had dark times in my life, too. And I know I am in one now. But I feel hope, because if you could survive the X-from-hell, I can get through this too.

Tricia said...

Okay, see, even when you look back you still don't really how strong you were/are. But, Chick, you made it. You did it. See, you are strong.

How scary to watch your child struggle to live. Everyday, does it still amaze you to watch every accomplishment? I feel that way with Emmi. She does the most mundane things, and I get all excited. I am like, "Whooooaaa watch you skip, and they said you wouldn't live!"

And last. I know the feeling about stories ending. I miss the characters I was reading about when I finish a book. It is sad to me.

Alpha Dude said...

Bless you, Chick.

Anonymous said...

I don't think being strong means you don't doubt. It doesn't mean you don't waver. It means you stare at the worst and instead of taking the easy way out (suicide), you fight on and take put on a brave front.

SJINCO said...

Beautiful Chick, just beautiful. I have so much admiration for you it's crazy.


Unknown said...

Chick, I understand a lot of what you are saying from your life not-so-long ago.

I cannot understand (yet), but can imagine, what you are saying about your life now.

It is what it is. But I understand what it is to know being extremely grateful.

Thank you so very much for sharing your story. I hope you won't mind if I take your lead and do the same myself some time soon over on my blog.

Love Bites said...

I understand totally what you are saying in this post, and I do love a happy ending.

HeatherAnn Fragglehead said...

I can't believe all you have gone through. I keep forgetting that you had your kiddos so young. And you had to deal with a deadbeat husband. At 22!

I am amazed that you are not only a "normal", functioning human being, but you're extraordinarily AWESOME! Great mom, great wife, funny, optomistic.


HeatherAnn Fragglehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

It's true. There is so much left for you to write. And that is awesome. I agree that it's completely awful, difficult, and the worst thing on the planet to watch your kiddos go through all of that--the scrubbing, the needles in the head, the alarms, the whole deal that is the NICU. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. I feel your pain.

But I'm also glad that your kiddos are now such beautiful, wonderful human beings, without major issues from all they went through.

I'm doubly glad that you are such a beautiful, wonderful human being, and that you have the ability to write your story how you want it to be from here on out.

And the fact that you can do it all on your own, even though you don't have to right now? Good for you. Me too. :)

dawn224 said...

I once pulled my car into the garage, and before I turned it off, thought about how easy it would be to just close the garage door behind me and go to sleep with the car still running. This business of living can take it all out of you sometimes, but the upswing is gooood.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

You may not think you were strong then, but you were. And, you are even stronger now for turning your life completely around and you are so brave to share you story. Thank you. I feel priviledged to have been able to read this. I wish I had known you then. I would have been there for you like you deserved. I cannot imagine what that was like. But, I am glad that I know you now. That story really touched my heart.

EE said...

Amazing story, Chick!
Looking forward to future installments:)

EE said...

Amazing story, Chick!
Looking forward to future installments:)