Thank you for visiting my blog; it is an exciting venture for me and I hope this will become a forum for moms and homemakers of all types to share stories, frustrations, and triumphs. There will be recipes, pictures of my latest and greatest soap creations, and anything I think will be interesting to Enthusiastic Homemakers.....

Monday, September 3, 2012

All These Things I've Done...

This time of year, early September, is always such a reflective time for me. In 2002, I had just turned 22 and I spent my days with my little 2 year old Andrew, and our days were very precious. They revolved around Andrew's schedules, and keeping our sweet 2 bedroom apartment spic and span. I loved to decorate it and even though our budget was very limited, I managed to gather bits and pieces along with some things from my childhood that were precious to me, and create a little nest, very similar to what I imagined when I was a little girl, planning my life.

All I had ever wanted my entire life was to be a mom, and in the perfect family I envisioned, the children I had would be exactly three years apart. So it was with this in mind that in the summer of 2002 I planned to become pregnant again. Not surprisingly, this happened exactly on schedule, and our new baby was due in April, 3 years and 3 days after Andrew was born. I thought I "had it all" and with the hubris of the very young, couldn't imagine anything happening that would spoil my plan.

On Labor Day, 2002, my idyllic world came crashing down when I suffered a very traumatic miscarriage. Two days after labor day, I was admitted to the hospital for outpatient surgery, the first time I'd ever been under anesthesia. I remember coming out from the anesthesia and the first words I heard were from the nurse, "You're in St. Luke's recovery room, sweetie. With any luck, you'll never have to be here again".

Beyond grief, I was just so shocked that all my carefully laid plans had gone awry, I literally COULDN'T believe it was happening to me. After a difficult childhood and adolescence, I thought that I would never again experience trauma. I was so mad at the universe, I felt that I should have received some kind of badge for all my troubles and that I had experienced enough pain for a lifetime. How naive I was at that age! Of course there were people suffering all over the world, since the beginning of time, but I didn't have the maturity to count my blessings. I spiraled into a deep depression after that, not sleeping for days, doing nothing but sitting on the couch with the sense that my life was over. This was compounded when after the miscarriage I began having health problems that made me unsure I'd ever be able to have more children. Without that dream to hold onto, I was completely adrift. Because I recognized that I was not being the best mother at the moment, I enrolled Andrew in preschool, where I reasoned that at least he wouldn't be exposed to my fragile emotional state. That decision is one that I will always regret. If I had been a little older, or a little stronger, I could have kept Andrew home with me, and to this day, whenever the similarities in our personalities cause friction, a part of me wonders if we would be closer if I hadn't gone through such a deep depression when he was in his most formative years.

The months after the miscarriage were a blur of doctor's appointments and counseling, and through support from my husband and my wonderful counselor, I finally came back to myself. In my search to figure out the cause of my odd health problems, I had visited three different doctors, and had every test in existence, including hormone panels and thyroid tests. The doctors couldn't figure out why I was having unexplained and continuous bleeding, so I decided to start taking birth control pills, both to give my body and my mind a break from worrying about having more children. I eventually started a new part time job, and by March, I felt like my old self again! Except.....I was experiencing nausea and an odd mid-section weight gain, so I took a pregnancy test as a precaution. It was positive! It was so funny, I finally made peace with never being pregnant again and here I was, unexpectedly pregnant! I visited my doctor, assuming I was about six weeks pregnant. When they reviewed the blood test, my doctor later related that he had nearly fallen out of his chair. My hormone levels were sky-high and so I was rushed in to get an ultrasound. I assumed that an ultrasound meant something was wrong and so with a very heavy heart, James and I went to our appointment. I averted my eyes from the screen. As soon as the technician passed the wand over my belly she said, "How far along are you?". Startled, I removed my hand from in front of my eyes and caught my first glimpse of Bentley Jeffrey, who was a fully formed, five month old fetus. Somehow, against all odds and despite having received multitudes of tests AND a complete physical exam two months before (when I was more than three months pregnant), nobody had been able to detect my pregnancy. I still think Bentley planned it that way, I had skipped the scary first trimester and then some!

My poor doctor at the time was a very respected OB/GYN and was mortified since he was the one who had missed a second trimester pregnancy on exam. He quickly and sheepishly referred me to a new doctor who on hearing my story said, "Someone up there must really like you!". The rest of the pregnancy progressed smoothly and after a very short labor, Bentley Jeffrey was born on July 31, 2003, the culmination of a dream I thought would never come true.

Since Bentley's dramatic beginning, I gave up being a "planner". I no longer try to plan a "perfect" family, I'm grateful for the happenstance family we have. I have become a much more easygoing person, not so insistent on having my own way. I don't schedule major life events anymore, I just let them happen. And I have the maturity and life experience to know that I can handle whatever life throws my way. These ten years have been light years away from what I would have said I expected as a 22 year old in our little apartment. But I wouldn't have it any other way.