One Day At A Time

Families are funny things.

We grow up believing that they will always be there.  And sometimes they are.

But sometimes – they’re not.

Being the oldest of four, I was always the ‘little mommy’.  I always had extra responsibility.  (And blame.)

It took me until I was well into my 20’s to realize that I needed to start taking care of myself, because no one else was going to do it for me.

The rest of this blog is somewhat difficult to write, and even harder to share.  I won’t go into great detail of the pain & heartbreak, but it shows my raw underbelly and makes me feel seriously vulnerable.  Part of me worries about the reactions I may get, but it’s something I’ve been rolling around in my head and have to get it out…  So, here goes.

When I had just started my freshman year in high school, my mother and father decided to get a divorce.  My mother moved a couple of hours away up to this little mountain community that was BEAUTIFUL and took my 2 younger sisters and younger brother.  I stayed behind because I had already started a school year.

After they moved, my mother and some of her friends took a trip to the beach for her birthday weekend and as the story goes, she was roller skating and the wheels were loose and she fell and broke both arms – wrist on one arm, elbow on the other.

As you can imagine, trying to do ANYTHING with two broken arms is nearly impossible.  So, I packed up and moved to Big Bear with my mother and siblings to help (High School #2).  Little mommy to the rescue.

Cooking, cleaning, helping with homework.  All things I did.  Showering & bathroom trips were on the Top 5 list of “Things I Did But Did NOT Look Forward To”!  Needless to say, my mother and I got pretty close.

There were a lot of things that happened in the following years that forced me to grow up rather quickly.  All of them left memories I’ll never forget – good and bad.

Big Bear is an AMAZING town.  It’s charming and peaceful and enchanting.  It’s a great place for children to grow up.  But there’s a side to it that a lot of people don’t see.  Because there isn’t really much to do, sadly, a lot of people turn to drug use.  And it seems fairly easy to obtain those drugs.  I’m sure that’s the case in most towns, but only more recognizable there because of the size of the town.

I NEVER found drugs as a temptation.  I think after the first or second time someone asked me if I wanted to try them, word quickly spread that my answer was not one that people would willingly put themselves in a position to hear.

Unfortunately, the situation wasn’t the same for my younger sister.

I moved to Florida for my Junior Year (High School #3) and there is still a part of me that wonders if I hadn’t, how different things might have been.

Long story short: my younger sister became involved in a LOT of detrimental activities.  She went from an honor roll student to a high school dropout.  She got pregnant at a young age and straightened out – for a while.

But addiction is powerful.

She became involved in drugs again after having back surgery.  She had a doctor that prescribed pain pills like candy, until she was red-flagged at many pharmacies.  Apparently, the street price of prescription narcotics is MUCH higher than the more deadly drugs and they spun their web tightly.  I had tried to get the family to do an intervention YEARS before when I saw red flags waving strongly.  But for reasons I have never understood, my sister is quite good at convincing people to believe what she wants them to.  She quickly lost her footing on the slippery slope of serious drug use.

A few months after my miscarriage, I learned that she was pregnant.  The baby was born a few weeks before my husband and I would have been due and faced a rough road to get beyond the withdrawals.

A few months ago, I learned that she was trying to get custody of her daughter and I wrote a letter to the courts asking them to carefully consider all the facts.  When I wrote my blog about it,  I specifically said that I knew that what I’d done wouldn’t be received kindly by some.  And I was right.

My mother is the kind of person that is ALWAYS looking to help people.  To some, it could be perceived as a “fix-it” mentality.  She has a soft spot for those that are in a bad way and sometimes even puts herself in rough situations thinking that it will help that person come around.

I learned that my mother had been helping my sister with many things – including moving in with her and helping her try to get her daughter back.  When she found out that I’d written a letter to the courts, she took it pretty badly and I was accused of being bitter and jealous.  A lot of hurtful things were said.

And we haven’t really talked since.

It is so weird to me to have so many great things going on in my husband’s and my life and not be able to share it with her.  I know my mother loves me, but I feel like she’s chosen my sister over me.  And it hurts.

I know how short life is.  I know that not forgiving someone doesn’t hurt the offender.  In fact, it sets the offended free.  So, I’ve done that.

But I have to protect me and my husband and the family that we are trying so desperately to have.  So, I’ve chosen to let go of relationships that can feel unhealthy at times, regardless of how difficult that may be.

I don’t claim to be perfect.  I know I’ve said some hurtful things before.  And I can only hope that they can forgive me for them.

I firmly stand in my belief that tough love is often not only the right way but the BEST way.

So, while it’s difficult and often painful to not be able to pick up the phone and share my excitement over J’s and my new house with someone I used to be so close to, we are going to move on with our lives and thoroughly enjoy every moment.

One Day At a Time.

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“Hurting with Hope”

Not many people know this tidbit of information but my husband is a PK.  Yes, that’s right, a Preacher’s Kid. I’ve heard about the stereotypes for years.  And while there may be some evidence of a slight rebellion, my husband does NOT fit those stereotypes.  I am continually thankful to my Father and Mother in Law for raising my husband into the man he’s become.  To be clear – he has his moments where I’d like to make it a rule that he not be able to pester me for an entire day.  But I have no doubts that he loves me more than he may have ever thought it could be possible (as I’m sure he has the same thoughts about me!).  Last Sunday, as we sat in his father’s congregation, a meditation was given, and one of the phrases stood out so strongly.  The gentleman spoke of how Jesus “hurt with hope” when he was crucified.  Such powerful words.

My mantra these days is “I’m not getting my hopes up.”  So much easier said than done.  After all the hormones I had taken for the IUI that we were unable to have done, I secretly hoped that just MAYBE they’d jiggled something loose and we’d get pregnant naturally.  I woke up on a Sunday morning with a visitor that I DREAD & DESPISE.  I cancelled plans and told friends I wasn’t feeling good.  I remember having the thought “I’m done!  I can’t do this again!  It hurts too bad!”  But we went through the motions.  When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done.

Our Specialist had given the order that if a good sample was given, it was to be cryogenically frozen so that we would have no surprises come time for our next IUI.  In an attempt to save us some money on gas to get to the lab in Cincinnati again,  we called the lab that the first couple analyses had been done at, only to be told that they don’t freeze at their lab – they referred me to the University of Louisville Embryology Lab.  I called there and spoke with a woman who told me that they would indeed freeze it, were it a good sample, but there were quite a few requirements that would need to be met first.  He would need 4 different blood tests ($$), to sign a consent form and have it witnessed ($) and a referral from our Specialist for cryo & banking.  After that, there was a HEFTY fee for simply freezing it($$$$), and then another for storing it($$$).  On top of that, once it came time to get the sample from UofL to the Institute of Reproductive Health (Dr’s office) in Cincinnati, we would be responsible for the fees incurred from a carrier and having to maintain it at a certain temperature during shipping($$$$$).  SO. MUCH.  WORK.  We soon realized, it would be cheaper to simply spend the gas money and drive to the lab.

piggy bank

 

 

Oftentimes I feel bad for the people at IRH.  I ask a lot of questions.  I can’t help it… inquiring minds want to know!  I plied the woman at the counter with multiple questions!  I learned that it would be MUCH cheaper for them to freeze a sample, were they able to.  I learned that it doesn’t, in fact, take 5 days to get the results of an analysis.  I learned that if I called the Lab about 2 hours after we left that they would be able to give us SOME information – while they couldn’t tell us what the results were, they would be able to tell me how many vials they’d frozen.  My next question was “So, if there are none frozen, will they tell me that?”  She told me the person would probably “not feel comfortable” giving those results and would refer me to contact our physician.  So, I called about one hour and 57 minutes later.  After being on hold for a 5-minute eternity, she came back on the line and said that the Lab was able to freeze 2 vials and that they looked “really good.”  FINALLY!!!  The first piece of good news in this whole thing!  She told me to wait a couple days and contact IRH, make sure the Dr had seen the results and find out where to go from there.  I thanked her, hung up and immediately called the Dr’s office.  (Patience is NOT one of my virtues! Plus, I was less than a week away from starting my cycle and I didn’t want to wait a whole month!)  I left a message and the nurse called me back about a half hour later and I explained that I was close to my cycle and didn’t want to miss it and was there someway the Dr could get the results quickly so I could know what to do?  Somewhat irritated she said they’d received the results, but Dr Scheiber hadn’t seen them yet and we could expect a call within the next couple of days.  We actually received a phone call not even an hour later from the same (somewhat sheepish) nurse saying that Dr Scheiber had reviewed the results and wanted me to start the hormone pills again on my next cycle so we didn’t have to wait.  Thank goodness we seemed to be on the same page as far as urgency!

The hormones affected me MUCH stronger this round.  I was woken abruptly at 1am the first night of hormones with a headache that felt like a brass drum section was practicing in my head.  I went to work that day and the hot flashes DRENCHED me.  Eating?  FUGEHDABODIT!  I was so nauseous that even thinking about food just about made me wretch!  About the third day, I got a big dose of the “mood swings”.  I still remember my husband making a comment to me while I was cooking dinner about an insignificant amount we needed to pay on something and I had a complete meltdown.  Throwing pot holders, yelling, tears – Code 5 Meltdown.  His response?  A hug in the middle of the kitchen.  Perfection.

As the days got closer to when I was supposed to go for the ultrasound, my body was telling me that something was INDEED going on in my ovaries.  While I’d had a small amount of cramping with the last dose, I was having significantly more with this and was almost completely sure I was ovulating.  I called IRH on my way to work that morning and left a message.  I was a nervous wreck.  If I was indeed ovulating, there was such a small window of time that the egg stays alive, I didn’t want to miss it!  I called again as soon as I knew they were open and explained to the girl on the phone what was going on and that our appointment wasn’t until 3:45pm.  She told me that the day looked booked solid, but she would transfer me to the nurses and see what they could do.  When the nurse came on the phone she said “We have an opening at 10:45, but it’s not in Florence, you’ll have to come all the way to Cincinnati. Can you be here?”  It was almost 9am and I still hadn’t told my husband or even made it home yet. That could still take almost a half hour in itself.  “We’ll be there!”  Thankfully, the dr was able to confirm that I wasn’t actually ovulating but the 2 follicles I had produced this time were significantly larger than last time and that was where the cramping was coming from.  He instructed us to give the trigger injection that evening and then be back at 9am on Saturday, July 28th for insemination at 10:30am.  The actual insemination hurt more than I was expecting it to!  I cramped for 5 days afterwards.  But during that time I kept reminding myself that if it worked, it would be worth it, while that little voice in my head reminded me that if it didn’t, the discomfort would pale in comparison.

As of today, we are on day 12 of the Two Week Wait.  It has been the longest two weeks of my LIFE.  My mind has played many tricks on me, even convincing my body of some things.  I never realized I was capable of feeling so many emotions all at once – all conflicting.  As the hours tick by, that feeling that a woman gets a couple days before she starts a cycle has grown stronger and the emotions have gotten closer and closer to the surface.  I feel this IUI cycle has failed and it hurts.  It hurts DEEP.  But those words – they keep resonating.  If Jesus can “hurt with hope” than so can we.  We have to……

hurts