Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chances worth Taking

It is hard for us to take chances.  When you've been hurt by something, it's hard to open yourself up to that same sort of hurt again.

I've mentioned before that Larry is my second husband.  The first one was just bad.  He wouldn't work, he'd lie about working for weeks, til I would really push about where the paycheck was.  He was abusive, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  He had me so emotionally dead, that I didn't care about anyone or anything by the time we finally split up.  I had no self esteem, he had convinced me that I was so worthless no one would ever want me.  I had a miserable excuse for a life.  It was bad.  I  wasn't even allowed to wear make-up.

When we split, I hated myself. I hated men.  I hated everything.  Hate was eating me from the inside. 

I swore I'd never let that happen to me again.  It was a lot of work getting past all of that.  A lot of work.  I figured the only way to keep it from happening again, was to never get into any sort of long term commitment again.  That worked well for me for a while.

After a couple of years of that, I realized that I was lonely and unfulfilled. I hadn't stopped wanting to have kids,  not at all.  But, I didn't want the husband to go with it.  But I also didn't want to be a poor single mother.  And, we would have been poor.  I made enough to support myself, but it wouldn't have been any sort of life for a child.  I slowly felt myself becoming more open to a second marriage.  Slowly.  I surely wasn't rushing into anything.

I started dating people I might be serious about.  But for one reason or another, it just didn't work out with any of them.  Til I met my Larry.  Marrying him was the biggest leap of faith I'd ever taken up til that point.  Thank God, things worked out, and I'm so happy with him.  He's NOTHING like the first one, at all. He's so good to me.  We rarely fight.  I live my life to be a good wife for him, and he strives to be a good husband.  I feel  like I'm right where I'm supposed to be.  I'd take every minute of the bad years of my first marriage a hundred times, if I knew he'd be waiting for me on the other side of it. That was most certainly a chance worth taking.

I worked in nursing homes my whole adult life, until right before I had Aidan.  I had worked at one early on in my career, and it was a miserable experience.  Add that into the miserable home life, and all I had of the place was bad memories.  Several years later, I decided I needed a job switch, and the place was hiring, offering the wages I wanted and the hours I preferred.  So, I went and applied, was hired on the spot.  I ended up loving it the second time,  and worked there for nearly 3 years before quitting to become a stay at home mom.  That was another chance worth taking.

Then came Landon.  Nothing in my life has ever hurt me as badly as seeing him so sick, so lifeless, and then watching him die.  I pray daily, several times daily, that I never have to feel THAT kind of hurt again.  He was born dying.  As badly as I wanted him to live, as hard as I pushed doctors and nurses and specialists to make him live, we knew he was dying.  It still hurts.  It will always hurt.

At his funeral Larry's aunt blatantly asked if I was able to have more kids.  She was just the first to ask, it was asked a lot more times, and in different ways over the next year or so. Of course I was able, but how could I ever do that again?  How could I take that chance? How could I give my heart that freely, that completely, again, knowing how things  could end?   

I won't lie.  I WANTED to try again.  I WANTED, craved, needed another baby.  Not to replace Landon, but to complete my family.  I never intended for Aidan to grow up as an only child.  Larry had already decided on the day Landon was born that we would, in fact, try again, as soon as I was ready. He told me that night that he had a strange feeling we would have twins, a boy and a girl.  He was half right.

I was so scared to think of being pregnant again.  The idea of pregnancy, for me, had been soured and tainted by the worst pain of my life.  I know I had Aidan, who was perfect, a perfect pregnancy and delivery,  but it was so hard to think about that when all I could focus on was what happened to Landon.  The doctor who delivered Landon, and the doctor that I saw for all of my OB visits, both were really encouraging in their outlook for me to have another baby.  They both promised me that I'd be watched really closely and would be delivered immediately if any problems were detected.  What killed Landon would have been found by ultrasound or non-stress test.  I really think that late ultrasounds and non-stress tests should be routine in all pregnancies, but that's my soapbox.

So, we were told to wait six months to try, and we did.  By December, the 6 month mark, I was pretty ready.  As ready as I'd ever be.  We found out in January of 2010 that I was pregnant.  I was scared to death.  I wanted to be happy. I think I was happy, briefly. By the time I had fully accepted that I really was pregnant, I was miscarrying.  You'd think that would have made me even more hesitant to try again, two losses in a row.  But, I'll be honset.  I was sad, but not devastated, the way I would have been if I had miscarried without ever losing a full term infant.  That miscarriage pushed me to an almost obsessive determination to have another baby.  After I was cleared to try again, I was like a madwoman.  I spent a small fortune on ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, basal body thermometers.  I would take pregnancy tests every single month, whether I had any symptoms or not.  Month after month of negatives. 

I was starting to get angry. In addition to the sadness.  Landon's first birthday came and went.  The anniversary of his death.  Praying, pleading, for a chance to have another baby of my own.  Scared to death of the pregnancy,but still praying for it nonetheless. 

I was so scared of being pregnant again, but so scared of never being pregnant again.  I felt like I was going crazy.   Also wondered if I was cheating Landon, was my obsession with getting pregnant again overtaking the grief?  A good friend of mine from an online loss group said that her doctor told her, "You're going to grieve whether you're pregnant or not. I see no reason to wait."  And it is true, being pregnant didn't take a thing away from Landon, any more than it took away from Aidan.  There's room in my heart to store love for all my kids, grief for Landon, hope for the future, all of it. 

So, when I finally did get pregnant, I knew something was different.  Figured it was a multiple pregnancy.  Don't know exactly why, but I knew in my heart it was twins before that ultrasound.  For one thing, my bloodwork came back with off-the-charts high numbers.  But even without that, I think I knew it.

When it was confirmed by ultrasound, I was still shocked.  Shocked that the pregnancy was even viable.  And then the fear set in. I was so afraid the entire time I was pregnant.  I don't think I ever fully relaxed.  When I'd talk about the babies, I would say, "If they're born healthy"  or "If they're ok".  It was never "When the twins are born."  Even the night before my c-section, I was full of "if's". 

Then they were born.  And it was amazing.  Hearing each of their first cries, when Landon never made a sound.  Holding them without any tubes or wires attatached.  Being able to nurse them, burp them.  Seeing them poop like they were supposed to.  TAKING THEM HOME.  All of that was so precious to me.  Now, today, they turn five months old.  And they're still amazing me every single day.  They're rolling and laughing so much. So funny.  Their brother is their favorite plaything.  And he loves them so much. 

Definitely a chance worth taking.  I'd do it all over again. No regrets.


Gracie again.  This picture smacked me in the face with how fast they're growing up!

This picture of my sweet Rebekah makes me want to go get her out of bed just to kiss that  mouth.

And, for good measure, here's big brother, in the outfit he picked out for himself, celebrating the end of Summer!

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