Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just Need to Vent

Feel free to skip out on this post if you're not in the mood to hear it. But dang, I've just got to vent a wee bit.

I know I "asked" for all these things in some way or another, and that in the long term I will get over it, but right now is hard. I trust in the Lord's provision and in what He has put in front of us. I still believe that He wants us to be here, and He wants me to be doing this. It's just that right now is really hard. I'm putting it on the blog because I don't want to make a long distance call just to unload all of this on a friend, and because I need your prayers.

Having no friends or support system is way tougher than I had ever imagined. We are actually going to have to hire a stranger to come watch little A when I go into labor. It just feels really wrong. And we really can't afford it. We can't afford much these days.

This move cost us so much money--it's hard to think about. I don't even want to type the number "out loud" even though I know how much it cost us in my head. My husband's company's insurance is the worst health insurance I've ever seen. It is costing us at least double what it cost us to have little A. I'm not sure if he just chose the wrong plan (such as a catastrophic plan) or what--since I wasn't here to discuss it with him when he was signing up--but it is so expensive. You don't even want to know what our deductible or out-of-pocket is. And I won't get my first paycheck until mid September, so everything is reeeeeally tight right now.

It seems like every week something is a little more than minorly stressful, and it's getting to me. Last week was the TDaP situation. Before that my mom was here to visit and we got into a rough argument--one I finally was able to apologize for my part in just last night. Before that it was my husband's parents visit, and that always stresses me out.

And they are coming again this weekend (they invited themselves over for my husband's birthday which means I'm cooking and entertaining for everyone, not just our little family. This only adds to my stress about money and about them visiting in general. They also decided when we are going to celebrate his birthday--not on the actual day--and what we will be doing to celebrate.)

Then, yesterday, I took little A to daily Mass; we've been going probably 3-4 times a week since we arrived here, as it is my only solace for the loneliness of my current friendless situation. (I've realized that in order to truly be happy in my life, I really need some good friends nearby.) Not to mention that I love going to daily Mass in general. Normally, little A has been so well behaved when we go to Mass that I have received numerous compliments on her behavior. Well, I suppose I had it coming.

When we arrived at Mass, I could tell it was going to be one of our rougher days, but I had no way to predict the kind of behavior she displayed. It was like nothing I'd ever seen her do. She was kicking me, pulling my hair, pulling all the cushions off the pew and throwing them, yelling, flopping down in the center aisle, running away from our pew. It was a nightmare. I took her to time out, which usually works really well, but it was like she didn't give a rip how many times we went to time out. Then, I noticed she was pulling the cushion off the pew again, and I turned around really quickly to set her straight, and threw out my back. I had to sit immediately, and I could barely move for the rest of Mass. I was about to just leave Mass right before that point--something I NEVER do--because her behavior was just that bad. But now my back was hurt and I couldn't carry her out. I couldn't even stand up. I had to just sit there and breathe through the pain while little A pulled my hair and yelled at me ("I don't want to see Jesus!") until Mass was over. I could just hear Satan laughing in my face. By the time Mass was over, I was crying from embarrassment, lack of ability to do anything about her behavior, and from pain that the other Mass-goers could not see. Finally, I stood up really slowly, grabbed A's hand, and hobbled out to the car in tears.

Yesterday morning, before Mass, I could feel baby dropping into my pelvis; it was a weird and very distinct feeling. I could visibly see the difference between the day before and yesterday after she began the descent. The shift in weight is probably what caused my back to be really vulnerable.

Thing is, I can't afford a massage or a trip to the chiropractor. I'm 34 weeks pregnant and alone with a near-three-year-old all day while hubby is at work. I don't know anyone to call to come and watch her for a little while, so I can get some rest for my back.

Girls, I'm just overwhelmed and I need some friends. The one real comfort I have is that I can offer up my emotional and physical suffering for you all, and make it worth something. I know we'll get through this, and I am so thankful for the perspective God has given me through this past year. I know that without it, I would probably feel like this was all the end of the world or something equally dramatic.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him
and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, July 25, 2013

TDaP To-Do

I'm not sure if you have ever had the TDaP vaccine before, but I have and it went just fine. That is, until two days ago.

I had one about three years ago when I was pregnant with little A. No problem.

But on Monday, I received the vaccine again, because apparently they want you to have one with every pregnancy even though the recommended booster is supposed to be every ten years. I've got nothing against vaccines, and I have everything against the chance of giving my little one whooping cough, so I complied.

I expected the soreness in my arm. I even expected to feel a little under the weather, even though I hadn't had this reaction with the last one.

What I did not expect was to wake up the next morning feeling like I had the flu and unable to get out of bed. My whole body hurt horribly, and that's saying kind of a lot when you're 33 weeks pregnant. I was shivering with chills, but sweating, and feverish. I had an upset stomach and a headache. It was awful.

Oh yeah, and my hubs was out of town on business, at least four hours away. I have no family or even any friends here, except for my downstairs neighbor, who happens to be out of town as well. So I had no one to call for help with little A.

I prayed for God to get me through the day; poor little A had no idea why I was being so terrible. I was in so much pain all day--and unable to get up--that I was crying off and on. Half from pain and half from guilt because I could barely get up to turn on a movie for little A, let alone play with her or take her to the park like we usually do.

I called the triage nurse-line at my doctor's office, and she said all my symptoms were normal, so I should just take some tyl.enol. Great.

But then, by the Grace of God, my hubby arrived home, hours earlier than expected. He took my temperature, and despite the ty.lenol, my fever had gone up. And suddenly I was having chest pains and tightness in my lungs and upper back. I called the nurse-line again and was directed to go straight to the hospital.

By the time we got to the hospital I was seriously anxious, as the pain in my back and chest had spiked and I was having to breathe through it. They took me up to labor and delivery and started monitoring. My fever went back down, but now I was having contractions every four minutes along with the chest pains. The doctor checked my cervix (it was closed) and baby's heartbeat (it was perfect), so they figured I was contracting due to dehydration. All of my symptoms were a reaction to the vaccine, they confirmed.

So they made me drink a huge jug of water while they kept monitoring and then they sent me home. They never found out why I was having chest pains, but after I was cooled down and hydrated, they did go away.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, since we couldn't leave little A with anyone, my husband was having to entertain her while I was being monitored. She had a little accident in the hallway and had to retrieve some new underwear and pants from the pediatric unit.

Things like this make me realize what a blessing family and friends are. I felt pretty lonely, having no one to call.

Today I'm feeling a lot better, except that my back is really sore from the tightness I was experiencing. I praise the Lord that my hubby was able to come home early. I don't know what I would have done if I'd had to get little A in and out of the car by myself and take her to the hospital with me. I suppose God would have given me the strength to do that too. I offered up my pain and anxiety for you gals--it certainly wasn't the worst of complications, but why miss a chance to pray for you? :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

For You, Tiny One

Language fails to allow an explanation as to how treasured you are. Pure gift. Someone of immeasurable value, given freely to your daddy and me (and to your siblings) by a God who loves so much. I know He delights in you. We do too.

I admit that I'm anxious about your birth, about the adjustment to our family. I'm nervous because with your sister, we were in similar circumstances--I was in school--and it was difficult. It was joyous and indescribably beautiful, but it was hard. It took a lot out of me, though the Lord provided all that I needed. I admit that I've allowed fear of difficulty to make me apprehensive about your birth.

But I know that the Lord will again provide. He will be sure that I have the right care for you in time for school. That those around me will also love you. He will ensure that the fear will disappear from my heart.

If you find this blog someday, you will find me at a time when my heart was broken. When it was grappling. When it was healing. When it was worried, wandering, and apprehensive about much. But there is one thing you should know that I was and am always sure of: my love for you and your siblings is steadfast. And particularly for you, tiny one, even while you are still in my womb, I am so sure.

You have a particular potential for burden, tiny one. And I am so sorry for that. I don't ever want you to feel that. I want you to know about your brother, to ask his intercession, to know how much he means to me. Because the thing is that what he means to me, what you can see of my love for him through my writing here, is what you and your sister mean to me too. I don't want you to feel like you are supposed to be what he was to me or any such thing. God gave me two babies in the amount of time that most women might only have one. You are unique in your person-hood and irreplaceable.

And I love you. Since I had the inkling that you might exist, I have loved you.

Your daddy and I longed for you in our lives, though we miss(ed) your brother. We longed, not for him, but for you to come to us. And the Lord answered our prayers according to His will, because He loves you too.

It is important to me that you know how uniquely I love you, my sweet one. Come to us safely, darling. Though I have already met you--our hearts beat together there; your soul lies even within me--we cannot wait to see your face.

Love, mom.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

One Year

It has been one year. One whole year since Romeo Gerard passed away and entered into the arms of Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Oh my son, how I miss you. How I cherish you. Perhaps, having heaven's eyes, you can see how singularly I love you.

I'm not spending today mourning. Yesterday we had angel food cake to celebrate his day, and we went to Holy Mass to honor him. Today, I'm going to have lunch with a friend and spend some time alone.

To think what the last year has done to my soul. To think that one year ago today my faith was so shallow, and then broken. And the thing is, I would have told you then that my faith was strong.

In a way, it was unshakable. I questioned, I feared, I wallowed. Some nights I would cry so hard my husband had to physically get me out of bed and take me outside to get some air and calm down. One night he had to call my mother--he'd never seen me so upset in eight years of knowing me, and he was very worried. Most nights I would look up at our crucifix through my tears and just beg the Lord to help me. Yet, even through that pain, I did not curse Him, I did not turn from Him. And I thank the Holy Spirit for keeping me from such sin, from despair. What a grace He provided!

Still, my faith has grown ever stronger over this past year. And feeling this baby rolling and kicking reminds me of how vulnerable I've had to be, how trusting I've had to be, how much I've needed simply to rely on Our Lord. He has provided all the Grace I've needed. All of it.

My blog's subtitle says it all: "And I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation."

I still wish, as I wrote in The Story of Romeo Gerard, to be a source of love and hope to other women who have endured this grief. I pray for all of you who have felt this pain. I pray for all my readers, all you beautiful women whose lives are the Lord's, that His will shall reign in your hearts, and His blessings will be upon you "like the dew-fall."

Monday, July 1, 2013

This still, small week

It's still because last year, at this exact time, I was waiting for the day when Romeo Gerard would pass. And time stood still for at least a week.

It's small because, though time was still, it was short. Suddenly it was happening, and it was awful. Nothing could have prepared me for his passing, and that made the time all the shorter.

One week from Sunday is the first anniversary of Romeo Gerard. One year later, I remember everything as if it were yesterday, but more than any other detail I remember the way my heart broke. I remember when I started the process of the cytotec, and my husband didn't wake up to help me. My heart broke.

I remember realizing that I was the only one who could go through with this and even had he been awake, he couldn't really help me. My heart broke.

But, damn. I felt so alone. It was more than my husband sleeping while I had to use that medication by myself, knowing that it would cause my baby--albeit already dead--to come out of the place he belonged. It was more than the feeling that this couldn't really be happening. It was the feeling that God wasn't there, my husband wasn't there, my baby wasn't there anymore, and I felt truly alone. And my heart broke.

One year later, I feel that my heart is like a piece of notebook paper, crumpled into a ball, and then re-opened. My heart is whole; it has been repaired by the love and grace of Jesus. But all the creases and crinkles remain, evidence that I will never be the same. The scars are still laid bare, betraying a year's worth of struggle, rawness, vulnerability, pain, prayer, and healing.


I'm in my new state now, so I cannot visit his grave on Sunday. We will honor him in some other way. I'm not ready to make the day a time of celebration, though that has been the advice I've received. I do think we'll have cake, but to be honest, it will be more because I'll need comfort food than as a celebration of his short life. I think, probably, the best thing I could do to honor him is to go to Mass. I've been so busy moving and settling that I hadn't even thought to call ahead of time and ask that a Mass be said in his honor. I don't even have a parish here yet, so that would probably have to wait anyway.

Oh, Romeo Gerard. In this still small week, I remember you. I love you. I long to see your face in Heaven. Pray for us, sweet boy.