While juggling life with a full time career, a sassy little toddler, a household and my marriage there are many unknowns. But there are a few things I can always count on…My life will never be lacking in love or chaos!
There are more aspects of motherhood that take my breath away and overwhelm my heart with emotions than I can count. I knew I would love being a mother, ever since I was a little girl. I wanted to grow up and be a mom, and travel the world to take photos. In my head motherhood was going to be easy because watching my mother care for seven of us, flawlessly, how hard could it be? Right? *Haha
Three years ago today we went to the hospital for a D&C to help my body heal after our miscarriage. I was risking going into sepsis if we didn’t do surgery as soon as possible. It had been weeks since we confirmed loss of life, but any child of mine, no matter how little they were, are stubborn to their core. Our tiny nugget was refusing to leave. A large part of me was clinging to thin air praying the reason the baby hadn’t passed was because the doctors were wrong, and the baby was still growing. I was naive. I was in denial. I was facing the deepest depression I have ever known. And I didn’t want to admit what was happening.
Here we were, driving to the hospital, because if we didn’t act fast I could be at risk as well. How was this happening? How did my body fail me? Why was this happening? What could I have done to prevent this? Did I kill our baby because I was scared of things changing? What did I do wrong? If this was so common, why does nobody talk about it? 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss? What the f? Why was I now a part of that group? I didn’t put my name on that sign up sheet. This is bullshit.
We drove to the hospital in silence. Michael had his hand in mine on my lap the entire way there. We said nothing. Tears poured down my face. I didn’t want to be crying. I didn’t want to be scared. I didn’t want to feel broken. But I cried anyway. I couldn’t help it. The tears were overflowing. I felt like I was drowning in the passenger seat. This couldn’t be happening. I will wake up any moment. This had to be a nightmare.
We pulled into the patient parking lot, parked, and sat for a moment more in silence while I tried to gather an ounce of strength to say something, to move, to feel anything other than complete and utter brokenness. Eventually, Michael broke the silence and asked me if I was ready. You could hear the weight of brokenness in his voice. Though it was masked better than mine, he was staying strong for me. It was my turn to be broken, he would take his turn later.
We grabbed our hospital bag, and walked, fingers laced together and his arm around me. We walked through the doors, down the hallway, paid an astronomical amount of money at billing, registered, then continued on to pre-op. Michael waited in the lobby for a moment so they could verify my husband was not abusive. I know this moment in time may be the only moment a beaten women could honestly answer that question and seek safety. But this question threw me off. I have never been asked that before, and here I sit, completely destroyed by why I am in even here in the first place…terrified of what is about to happen, and all I want in the world is him sitting next to me telling me it’s going to be okay and they need to first verify if I am one of the lucky ones who are not in fact being beaten by their spouse. Ouch. I cannot imagine.
Once I got through the paper work verifying who I was, and why I was there they went and brought Michael back to my pre-op room. I got changed into a gown, and then my IV was placed. I felt my heart rate climbing with every next step that the nurses were checking off down their list. This was routine for them. This was another surgery on the board. This was a “quick” one. This was just another day. To them. To me, this was hell. This was the worst day. This was what despair looked like. This was depression come to life in our little hospital room. This was something I would never recover from. I would recover physically. Not mentally. Not emotionally.
A chaplin came in to pray with us because this was a loss of life surgery. The kind older man asked if he could pray with us, and he held my hand as he talked to God on our behalf. He was sweet. He was kind. He had soft eyes. You need those requirements to be a chaplin don’t you? Kind, loving, loving grandfather looking? We prayed, I felt numb. I felt like a shell of an existence. We prayed for the little soul that was with us for a few weeks, but has forever changed my world. The chaplin left, and more nurses came. Then I met my doctor that would be doing the surgery. -She ended up being one of the main OB doctors we saw for the duration of my second pregnancy, with Zoe. I will forever remember the look of compassion, and sympathy on her face when she walked into our room. She, to me, looked like the most calm human being on the planet. Thank God for that, because one of us in that room needed to be, and it was sure as hell not me. The first time I saw her for my pregnancy with Zoe she remembered me from this day. She told me she never forgets the faces of her patients on the worst days of their lives. THAT, is a doctor you want on your team. I was lucky to have her on mine.- She explained to Michael and I what was about to unfold and what we should expect over the next few hours. Then she left.
Next was my anesthesiologist. He was tall and skinny. Oddly, I have no other memory of him in our pre-op room. Just that he asked me if I was ready, I kissed Michael as tears ran down my face, and told him yes. He gave me some meds through the IV that would, in his words, feel like a couple margaritas. Then my husband laughed. HE LAUGHED. He told the man that I was a lightweight and a couple margaritas would hit me hard. Then I laughed and the anesthesiologist laughed. He responded with something like, well I am about to have a pretty nice nap and we would be back in a little bit. Then my team rolled my bed out of the room. Michael walked with me until we hit the doors like what you see on Grey’s when you have to leave your loved one, Michael kissed my forehead and told me he loved me. At this point I was feeling those margs.
I don’t remember much more than that. I remember the giant OR lights that were terrifying and so damn bright. I remember the team moving me to the OR table. I remember the anesthesiologist cradling my head in his hands as he did something else. I couldn’t tell you what, but I felt safe. He was holding my head, and looked into my eyes and told me these words that will again, forever be burned into my memory. “I’ve got you”. In that moment, where I was drowning in an raging ocean of fear, his greyish blue eyes looking into mine, I felt safe. I believed him, and I was calm. At one point I started choking on something. (Some medical device I don’t know the name of, and won’t guess for fear of being wrong. ) They had to remove it and use a child’s size one. In my groggy state I asked the team in the OR if that meant I got a discount for using a children’s size. I may have been living through the worst day of my life, but I had my sense of humor intact. (I later verified this story with some of my team, because I thought I had dreamed it. I indeed choke, and ask for a discount on medical supplies in the OR.)
The surgery took only a few minutes. Michael was informed that I was out of surgery in recovery, but would be sleeping for a while and they’d come get him when I was awake.
I woke up a few hours later in a big room with other groggy and confused humans trying to figure out what century it was.
A large man was laying in a bed on the other side of the room and was angry that his male nurse was not sexy enough. He was still pretty groggy.
My doctor came in to check on me. She asked how I was feeling and apparently I responded with “I am hungry”. Good! My epetite was back and that meant I could stop on our way home and get something to eat! The doctor asked me what I wanted to eat. That was a weird question, because obviously I wanted Tomato soup and French Toast. What? I told her tomato soup and french toast? yeah…I did. Those are my comfort foods. But damn, not together.
I was working my way through the post-op check list of things I needed to do in order to go home. At ever accomplishment I asked for Michael. I asked for him before I was even aware I was asking for him. I needed my person to be by my side. I need him now. Eventually I got to the point where they were getting my discharge papers which means they got to go get Michael for me. One of my post-op nurses asked me what he looked like so when she went into the waiting room she would easily find him. . . In this moment. . . my HONEST-TO-GOD opinion of what my husband looked like was this. . . “He is my sexy asian!” The nurse giggled, and asked me to repeat myself. “What does he look like?” I was so confused. Did she not hear me? The meds must be messing with my words. I looked at her and said it again. “He is wearing a green shirt, and he is my sexy asian.” She giggled and said she’d go find him.
As it turns out, he was the only person waiting in the waiting room so he was not hard to find. But nonetheless she told Michael the story of how I described him, and he smiled. Because in that moment he knew that at least my soul was not taken when they took the baby. No matter how dark the next few days, weeks and months were, he knew that I was still in there. Even if it meant spending a lot of time and energy to heal, and go find her.
On the way home we stopped at iHop, so that I could get my french toast. I decided to skip on the tomato soup for the time being. When we got home, it seemed different. It was empty. Though nothing physically had changed. It felt weird. The neighbors were going on with life as usual. Time was not standing still for anyone else. It was missing the little human we had for the 11 weeks before now. Though that Tiny Nugget never made a physical appearance in our home, they left a forever impression on our hearts.
I have weird days now. Anniversaries of tragedy and heartache right next to anniversaries of celebration and overwhelming joy. Today is a weird day. I don’t want to forget where I was three years ago, because what we lived through three years ago has forever changed my outlook on life, parenting, pregnancy, children, temper tantrums, positive pregnancy tests, doctors appointments, (especially ultrasounds) and life. This day three years ago I wasn’t sure I would survive. I wasn’t sure I would be able to smile again, let alone laugh or figure out how to climb out of the ocean deep crevasse of depression I was wedged in. Three years ago I was afraid that my pregnancy ending in loss meant I would never have a child. I believed that this meant I was not worthy of being a mother. And I believed that for a long time. It took months of counseling and therapy to help my heart slowly beat again. It took months of my living through triggers, meltdowns, public panic attacks, crippling fear and depression for me to get to the other side of it. The side where you stand up. The side where you refuse to sink. The side where you fight for yourself again. The side where you realize this is not the end of your story, it’s just a dark detour. The side of tragedy where you see the rainbow coming as the storm begins to pass.
This day is weird. But I am forever grateful for the 11 weeks I had with our first child. I am thankful for the lessons he taught me in the short lifetime he had on earth. I am thankful for the person our baby helped me become. If it wasn’t for our loss, we would not have Zoe. Though I would do anything to get our first child back, or to know them, or to hear their giggle, I cannot imagine life without our Rainbow. She is our rainbow after the darkest storm I have ever faced.
If you have gone through a similar trauma. If you are apart of the shitty group that is 1 in 4, If you have lost…know that it is okay to talk about it. It is okay to say your baby’s name. It is okay to feel ALL. OF. THE. FEELINGS you have. It is okay to be in that dark place, as long as you get yourself out of it eventually. Don’t set up a permanent residence there. There is life after the storm. If you need help to get out of that depression, find help. Ask someone. Even if you don’t know where to go, ask someone close to you that you trust to help. Know that you are worthy of the family you are longing for. Know that YOU ARE STRONGER than these circumstances. Know that there is more after this part of your story. Sweetie, your story doesn’t end here. Your storm will pass, and that rainbow on the other side is beautiful. Immeasurably More Than you can Imagine.
Do you remember way back when 2019 was ending and we had the biggest dreams and aspirations for our 2020 year to come? Then we started our year and it took just a few weeks into the year to realize that when you wrote down your goals you had for yourself and your family, in reality it sorta feels like you just pissed off and challenged mother nature and mankind as a whole? Remember when you prayed for God to help strengthen your marriage, somehow help guide you to find more time to be with your daughter, and to help focus your heart and soul on the things that matter and to better you as a person? – Yeah that was me, I prayed for those things, and naivety had me thinking change would come easy. Oh silly me. –
So it’s now June 2020. Half of this year has quickly, and ever so slowly passed and is now behind me. But have I spent these last months wisely? Have I aggressively still gone after my goals and focused my heart on God and my family? In spite of a global pandemic, weeks of illness, challenges upon challenges far greater than I anticipated rising, have I let this year be my downfall? Or have I allowed the trials of this year to make me stronger? Have allowed my circumstances to change my perspective for the better? Have I taken advantage of the extra time with my daughter to be a better mom? Have I made the most of the time with my husband and worked on our marriage even though I didn’t think we needed work? Have I taken this time working from home to double down and put in as much effort as possible to be a good employee? Have I taken my extra time that I am no longer spending on my commute to cook more, start a blog, and exercise more instead of being lazy and binge watch The Office for an eleventh time?
Here is my perspective of the last 6 months, and how I have changed – For what I truly believe is for the better –
I Prayed For More Time With My Daughter
Do you know how you pray for things like Patience without realizing the way to get more patient is to be challenged with circumstances in which to practice patience? Yeah… Well at the beginning of the year I prayed for more time with my daughter. I have a full time job as an associate producer for a little production company that I love more than any other job in any other field I have ever worked. I found my dream job, by accident. (That will be a blog post one day. The story of my now boss who said “No way, I am not hiring her” to his wife and now I have worked for him for 4 years and he and his wife are seriously some of my closest friends.) Right, my daughter…more time….I wanted more time with her. Somehow. I felt guilty for working. I still do sometimes, but that feeling quickly fades into pride about what I am accomplishing as a working mom, and what I am teaching her about going after your dreams.
When we were first told by our state governor to stay home for two weeks, a part of me was terrified, but a little spark was ignited because that meant I GET two weeks of around the clock time with my mini me! I got what I was praying for, in the weirdest round about way I would never have imagined. That was months ago. I am still getting around the clock time with her and I am so thankful for every moment of it. Figuring out how to work from home while she is with me has been a little bit of a challenge. Michael works upstairs at his desk, that is in Zoe’s room, and I work downstairs at the kitchen table. Zoe takes turns going upstairs to play in her room, and coming downstairs watching movies, and playing with her toys down here.
Don’t get me wrong. This has been challenging to say the least. I am often walking away from my desk and computer to tend to her needs. Getting more snacks, reading stories, filling her water cup, getting her more snacks, turning frozen 2 on for the seventh time, etc. So working 8 hour days can take 12-16 hours some days. But I have been oddly given the gift of more time with her, that I would NOT trade for anything. She has grown and changed so much in the last six months and I have been given a front row seat to a lot of the things I would have missed if I was not home with her.
Allow yourself to grow
We are creatures of habit. We like routine. Even if your routine is messed up and a little wacky, we like them, and get a little frazzled when they are changed. Especially if the reason is, oh I don’t know, a global pandemic. I don’t thrive in stressful situations, but I am not the one running around screaming frantically. I have a tendency to look at stressful situations in a weird way, that I am learning is a survival skill brought on by trauma. When shit gets hard and life becomes suffocating I look back on my life and sorta compare my current trial to past ones. Because I have been through worse, I have survived, I have lived through trauma, unspeakable pain and loss, and fear, In a weird way I have trained for this. Not exactly Covid-19, but I have trained for the worst case scenario. When life gets hard, you have the opportunity to grow. To become stronger. To be more bad-ass than you already are mama! Don’t hide from the challenges that you are facing today, no matter how severe they are, because you were made for more than your fears to consume you.
I am not suggesting that you run into danger in the name of growth. I am challenging you to accept the trials that come into your life because they are opportunities to make you a better person. A stronger person. A person with experience that you can later share with someone who has not yet faced similar trials. Allow yourself to be knocked down, but only to evaluate how you want to pick yourself back up. Don’t live in the pit that life can throw you into. Get back up and grow!
Am I being the best employee I could be?
This one has been a question that just hovers in my head daily. Am I failing my boss, my team, our company, our audience? Is my job of being a mother screwing up my career? (I know how crazy that sounds, but that’s my head sometimes.) How can I make sure I am putting in my hours that are productive and beneficial to my to do list? How do I let my boss and his partner know that I am struggling, but also doing my very best at the same time without them thinking I don’t care?
I work around the clock. Haha. No, not glued to my computer, and no not with undivided attention, but I am doing my very best to make sure my list of things are getting done, that I am encouraging to my team with the things they are getting done, and now driving out to the studio once a week to shoot the shows I cannot shoot from my living room. We are making it work. I am getting my job done and adapting to the weird hours of working from home.
While working from home we started a new show that I wrote, shot and produced solo from my living room, then sent all of the footage to our editor. That is something I never thought I could do. I never thought I had the skills and patience to do this without my team in the same room. But, I am. Staring fear and doubt in myself dead in the eye and doing it anyway. I am not confident about being in front of a camera. I have been trained to be the one shooting, not the one being shot with a camera. So it has taken me years to not visibly shake when it’s my turn to read the teleprompter. Face your fears, and grow.
Give your marriage the attention it deserves
I have been married to my best friend, my one and only, for just over six years as of May 2020. We dated for six years before we got married, and I have known him since I was four. We only ever dated each other, and for a few years before we started dating, he was my actual best friend. We talked every single day. When we were not yet allowed to date, we would drag my little sister, and his younger brother with us on “not dates”.
We have been doing this whole marriage thing for six years, and doing it pretty well I thought. But is “pretty well” what I want to really be going for? Or do I want my marriage to be filled with Passion, Forgiveness, Communication, Respect, Fun, Growth, Adventure, and LIFE? Yeah, sign me up for that version please! So that’s what we did. We changed from passively co-existing together to passionately experiencing this journey together. Nothing happened to us that made us go stale. We just got comfortable not actively pursuing each other,and if I am being 100% honest, it was even more so me not pursuing him. Yeah, life gets busy, we both work, we are both raising the world’s sassiest human, we are tired. But those were excuses we were comfortable with using.
So we decided that was enough and we were going back to our dating life, but better! We are actively seeking out one another and focusing more on us and it’s been AMAZING. I had no idea that we had allowed our life to get “boring”? Maybe boring is not the right word, but we got complacent and that is not okay with either of us. I love that he has never given up on me. He has held my hand and carried me through trauma. He has been patient with my mental health, and has encouraged me to chase after my goals while supporting and cheering me on every step of the way. He is kind, patient, loving, caring and strong. He works harder than anyone I know. He is always looking for ways to provide for our family. Yet still takes the time to do the things he crazy wife and wild daughter want to do.
I am so lucky and beyond blessed to have the man he is next to me on life’s journey. There is no one I would ever want to share myself with, than him.
Staying Socially Distant…for my daughter. Everyone else can deal. Sorry, NOT Sorry.
Summer time for us is normally filled with family cookouts, friend trips to the zoo, late night bonfires, driving to a nearby weekend getaways, and vacations. Hah. This summer is not going to look like that for us. I am not sure which side of the scale you rest on when it comes to Covid-19 and socializing, but for us we are aggressively leaning on the side of caution, for not only the sake of others, but for our daughter. She was 4 months old the first time she was hospitalized with RSV. Over Christmas that year we spent several days watching her struggling to breathe. Waving in and out of respiratory distress. at FOUR MONTHS OLD. That was one of the hardest things I have ever lived through. Helpless watching her oxygen levels plunge into scary levels, and her breathing became labored. She couldn’t cry. She couldn’t get enough air to cry.
She couldn’t cry, besides when the had to place her IV in the ER. I held her down in the little crib touching my forehead to hers trying to reassure my baby I was right there, and the nurses were helping her. My tears poured from my eyes and landed on her cheeks as they met up with the trail of her own and fell to the crib sheet. I held her down while she screamed her FIRST audible “mom”. Even the nurse looked at me and said “Did you hear that?” as shocked as I was she asked me if she had ever said that before. No. She hadn’t. The nurse gave me the most empathetic look knowing that forever her first audible “mom” was while I was pinning her down for her own good to fight to get her to breathe.
I vowed in that moment I would do everything and anything to prevent us from ever being back in that place. We were never going back to the respiratory distress that I saw her in for those days in the hospital. My heart couldn’t take another one of those visits.
So when we have been asked to join birthday parties, outdoor family events, hanging out with a larger than 10 group of people, or going out “just to get out” with my daughter, my head goes back to her laying in the ER pleading with me to make them stop. To help her breathe. To make it stop. And my chest gets tight, and my eyes fill with tears. I have to respond with a respectful decline. I know that we may be overly cautious. We may be the crazy ones who don’t come out of the house for the rest of the year to party, or socialize. We may be the weirdos who skip her 2nd birthday party because that’s too many people we can’t control the variables with.
We are the ones who aren’t sending her back to daycare for probably the rest of this year, because I vowed to her and myself we would do EVERYTHING in our power to avoid that type of trauma, ever, again. If she gets covid-19, Yes, there is a chance she is asymptomatic, there is a chance she won’t get it, and there is a chance we are way overacting. BUT. What if we aren’t? What if she does get it? What if her already compromised lungs cannot fight off the virus? What id that couple day visit in the hospital with RSV will seem like a cakewalk compared to what Covid-19 could do to her little body? That is not a risk I am willing to take. I am not gambling with her life to see anyone. I don’t care who gets offended about this, because it’s my daughters life on the line.
Don’t wish this year away
I am thankful for the trials we have faced so far this year. They have already made me stronger, more brave, more direct, assertive, confident, empowered, and determined to keep going. I am personally accomplishing goals I had made for myself years ago. All it took was a pandemic to get y butt in gear. So I am thankful. I started standing up for myself, for my family, and for my mental health. I have pissed off some people, and lost some friendships over it too. Has that sucked? Oh my gosh yes. But am I really going to live my life based off of what someone else wants of me instead of my own goals? Hell no! Have I been empowered to find my worth, know who I am, and who I have been called to be? Yes! Am I going to lose that passion? Not if I can help it! So no, I am not wishing this year to go by faster. I am not wishing for anything bit for this new found fire in my soul to keep raging! I like this version of myself!