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Tuesday, 08 November 2011 22:07

June 1, 2010

Just to give some background...

On June 1, 2010 (I was 3 months pregnant at the time) as I was getting ready for work in the morning I saw a text message from my Mom asking me to call her as soon as possible.  My parents live directly across the street from my Grandparents (the ones I am really close to because they had a big part in raising me) and both of my Grandparents have had significant health issues that have put them in the hospital for long periods of time and have made us more than a little nervous.  So, my first thought was that something serious had happened to one of them. 

I never expected it to be about my Father. 

Even though he had gone through cancer five years earlier, by the time he was telling me about the diagnosis, he was also able to tell me what the game plan was.  He came through it beautifully - and the key words in that previous sentence were that 'he was telling me'.  There is something so reassuring about hearing about something from the person who is 'not ok' - because when you can hear their voice, you know that they are at least somewhat 'ok'.

This time it wasn't my Dad telling me anything.

My mom was telling me that Dad had experienced an odd sort of bleeding in his brain.  Although the doctors said it wasn't a stroke or an aneurism, the effects were similar.  He was left unable to communicate correctly - he said yes when he meant no and the reverse.  He couldn't wrap his head around long sentences and couldn't 'find' words that to most of us come to our lips without any effort.  He could understand everything as far as we knew - the 'input' was working fine - but the 'output' was completely broken.  Although he could make sounds with his mouth, he had forgotten how to speak, could no longer write, and had to relearn how to do simple tasks like turning on the tv and reading a book. 

Over the next few months we learned very little about Dad's situation.  Doctors did a number of tests and scans and could find no cause of the bleeding.  He also gradually improved until he was almost completely back to normal.  Only those of us who knew him really well would know that he was at all different and that his comprehension was not what it once was, and when he stumbled for words or stuttered that this was a result of his odd 'injury'.  We were so hopeful.

Until it happened again. 

And again.

And again.

Each time he would begin with less ability than the time before, and each time he would recover to almost what he was like before the current bleeding.  It was like he was jumping down a flight of stairs, then taking all but one step up, then jumping down another flight, but each time he was ending up a step below where he had been before. 

On Saturday morning I got a text from my Mom saying that it had happened again.  This time he was in the ICU and they were keeping him in a drug-induced coma because each time they tried to let him wake up he would go into seizures which would only make the damage worse. 

Today they removed his breathing tube.

My Dad is 52 years old, and he will never be the man I used to know.  He has one grandaughter (Clara) who is nearly one, and although she might get to know this new man who acts a bit like a child and loves her dearly - she will never get to know the Dad I had growing up.  This is unbelievably difficult for me.  My Dad was my hero - he refused to let my mother abort me, and when he found out she was about to take off with me - he chose single parenthood over letting me go.  My Dad taught me how to be strong, how to be realistic about myself and my abilities, how to work hard for what I want and how to push myself to achieve anything I want to.  He taught me how to be strong about what I believe, and although he believed very differently than I do, it has been because of him that my faith has been challenged and I have become so much stronger in my faith and relationship with God.  My Dad was a master craftsman who could build anything, even though he didn't really think of himself that way.  He was never very good in school, but he taught me to read when I was 3 and it wasn't until I was much older that I learned that when he spent days and days with his nose in some textbook or other, that it took him three times as long to read it as I would because he was dyslexic and had to really focus to make all of the words stand still.  He bought me a textbook on philosophy when I was 12 and I read it, and we discussed things in detail and debated everything.  It is because of my Dad that I am the geek that I am, and that I have the passion for learning that I do.  I can completely respect a view that is opposite to mine because I always respected his, and he always respected mine. 

I could go on forever about my Dad, and I suppose no one would want to read it.  I think my point has been made, and I hope that my next blog post will have some good news.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 20 October 2011 09:31

Stress and Confusion...

So I've already mentioned how last month was a stressful time for my husband and I, but I didn't outline another 'thing' that was keeping things complicated because I didn't know what was going on...

A few months ago, my husband and I decided that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I became pregnant with another baby.  For a number of reasons, I would like to have my babies close together, and since we had trouble getting pregnant with Celia, I thought I should allow some time to have the same struggle again. 

So about three weeks ago (right in the middle of my husband's joblessness), I started experiencing some symptoms that I thought might be indicative of pregnancy.  I took a home pregnancy test that said nothing.  I still thought there was something going on, though, so I waited another couple of days and took another test.  My husband told me I was imagining it, but I swear that a faint (ok, REALLY faint) positive showed up on that stick.  I tested every morning for the next few days until FINALLY - a pink line that my husband agreed was there! 

I realize this was jumping the gun, but I got pretty excited - I started thinking of our family as though it already had two children and thinking about what to name this new baby.  My husband was pretty excited too. 

Two days later, I took another test that was very clearly (even to me) negative.  I know that many pregnancies end in early miscarriage (what 'they' call a 'chemical pregnancy') - and that it is only because we have such sensitive tests now that we even know about these lost pregnancies.  I was still pretty devastated.  Even two days of thinking I had another baby was enough for me to be quite attached...

But still I waited, and continued to be late.  A week later, I took another test and again - I was sure I saw another faint positive!  Thoroughly confused at this point, and still no obvious signs that I WASN'T pregnant - I went online and learned about things like cancers and ectopic pregnancies that could cause low levels of HCG... ok, I'll admit - this was one time when maybe over-educating myself was not helpful.  Two days later a test was negative... again...

I eventually ended up at my OBGYN's office, and she assured me that although she didn't know why I might be getting a faint positive on a pregnancy test - except for the first one - that I was not pregnant.  So I'm back on Serophene!  Bring on the multiples!

I am still late, and my only answer for this is because of my PCOS and the fact that I am heavier than I have ever been in the past due to the excess baby weight that I still haven't lost.  PCOS (which causes weight gain, and is also made worse by weight) causes irregular periods and infertility, so I suppose I should not have been surprised.

Anyway, wish us luck! Hopefully it will be as easy this time as it was with Celia. 

We don't really want multiples though, by the way...

Published in Blog
Sunday, 16 October 2011 19:10

Life can be stressful...

This past month has been undoubtedly the most stressful period of time that my husband and I have experienced to date in our five and a half year marriage. 

After being led on by his past employers, his job term ended and they chose not to continue his position after all.  Ack!  So he was left jobless with no notice, and spent the next month job hunting with our mortgage, car payments and all of our other bills and debt payments hovering in his consciousness.  I tried to be supportive, but I felt the need to give him advice and pointers on job hunting at every step of the way, and probably drove him completely crazy.  Every time he took a few moments to relax, I felt the need to kick him in the butt, but (usually) I suppressed this urge. 

Last week Tuesday he was interviewed by a man who we discovered knew a lot of our friends, so we were hopeful about the outcome.  Much later that evening, as we were sitting in front of the tv, snacking, as we often do in the evening (bad habits that I suppose we should break before our daughter is old enough to realize what we're doing...), he left the room and came back with a bottle of wine.  He had mentioned a couple of weeks earlier that a bottle of champagne would be his first purchase when he finally got a job and (although he decided on a Reisling afterward, since I don't actually like champagne...) here it was in front of me.  My first thought was that he must have gotten it as a gift from someone, because he had been jobless so long I must not have really expected he would get a good job, but Yay!  The guy who had interviewed him that morning had called later that afternoon to offer him the job, and he was to start on Thursday.  This was SO EXCITING!!!

After a month of stress and nervous waiting, why do I not feel happier?  I actually find myself feeling strangely subdued, and maybe even a bit depressed.  I'm the sort of person who thinks - a lot- about what is going on in my head, and I wonder if I was playing the 'supportive wife' for so long that now that he has a job I feel less needed? Or maybe it is just because we have been so tense for the month that all of the emotion has built up and now I am needing to release it.

Anyway, I know I should be completely happy and overjoyed, but I don't honestly feel that way.  Even Brian has been a bit testy, but maybe that is just because I'm acting hormonal and he's just responding to me.  Either way, what should be a great time in our home has been less than enjoyable. 

I feel like I should end this blog with a 'What I have learned from this is...', but I'm not really there yet, so I won't.  Maybe I never will be. 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 06 October 2011 10:16

The Future is Uncertain

Brian had a frustrating experience earlier this year when his internship was about to end, and his employer gave him the distinct impression that they were going to be creating a job for him to continue working there.  His direct supervisor even told him not to worry about 'cleaning up' his projects, because she was working under the assumption that he would be there indefinitely. 

So, when his internship ended, he had not lined up another position and it wasn't until he had sat at home for almost two weeks - sending many emails and inquiries - that they informed him that they were not going to be opening this position up after all.   Feeling incredibly stupid and a little bit taken advantage of, Brian was forced to jump back into job hunting, but weeks behind schedule and with no source of income for the upcoming month.

Sigh.

As my maternity leave was coming to an end, and I was deliberating over whether or not to return to the work force - after I had lost my spot at the daycare my daughter was going to be attending, but that's another story - I had decided to risk the loss in income and not return to work.  I had been teaching piano at home for four years, and decided to advertise a bit more and increase my student load to try to make up the difference.  So far God seems to have blessed this decision, because after having 10 students on average each year, I had 15 registered by September, and have had a few more added since and a number of interested emails floating in also. 

As my husband's joblessness continues, however, I have begun to second guess my decision to stay home and wonder if I should, in fact, be job hunting myself. 

I have to trust that God has a plan for us, and maybe there is an even better job waiting for Brian than the one he left over a month ago.   I remember a time when I left a job that I loved for no other reason than because I was certain God was asking me to - I know, it sound's crazy, huh? - but there it is.  I loved my boss, the job was challenging and I was getting raises by leaps and bounds based on the work I was doing.  I had a number of great friends in my department, and I was over all, probably as satisfied as I've ever been in a job.  And then I quit.  I took a job that I hated and ended up dropping shortly afterward also, and eventually landed in a job that was completely not challenging and paid dismally.  I found myself frustratingly asking God 'Why?', until I found out what had happened in the job I left.  My boss ended up leaving, and after a significant amount of unrest, there were firings and layoffs and a lot of management shifts that evidently made the department an extremely stressful place to be.  I could not have known this - but God did.

The one downside of my old job - the job I loved - was that the management was extremely strict about productivity to the point where they didn't really care about your personal life.  As in, leaving the office for a family emergency might just get you fired.  Another thing God knew that I didn't was that I was going to be getting pregnant.  And my Dad was going to be experiencing a number of brain bleeds that would have him in and out of the hospital for months.  My new and dismally paying job was absolutely beautiful to me in this respect.  They were totally wonderful and understanding - they gave me all kinds of paid family time off to be with my Dad in the hospital, and there was no question of letting me go when I was calling in sick from pregnancy issues on more days than I was actually coming in to work.  So although some aspects of this job were less than I would have wanted - it was exactly what I needed.

Now when I casually look at job ads, I still get the distinct impression that God wants me to stay home with my daughter, and I give up the search.  As He has before, I need to trust that God will take care of us, and that He has a plan that is much greater than we could have planned for ourselves.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?        Luke 12:22-26

Published in Blog
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