Thursday, May 28, 2009


I promise my pity-party is almost over. I am actually getting a little tired of my own whining. Things suck for everyone sometimes, and I totally get that. I am not the only one having a bad day. Or week. Or month. Or, seven months, if we're being totally honest.


Things started early in December, when my husband was in a horrible car accident. He called me at 5:30AM on a Friday to tell me not to worry, that he was in a "small" accident but that he was okay. Twenty minutes later, when he called me again to tell me this news for what he thought was the first time, I grew concerned. When he called back the third time and I informed him that we had already spoken twice earlier (and he had absolutely no recollection of this), THEN I started to worry.

I raced to the hospital, and seeing him strapped down to the gurney might have been one of the most jarring moments of my life. In the long run, he was fine, both physically and mentally. A few weeks of recovery time and he was good as new.

He did total my truck though. Oh, how I miss that truck, it was my favorite car ever.


A few weeks later, on Christmas Eve, my father-in-law was brought to the hospital and wound up having emergency quadruple bypass surgery. I don't think I have ever seen Anthony so scared in my life. Rather than the annual Christmas Eve party at our house, he spent the night in the hospital and Amanda and I went to church. After carrying Amanda over my right shoulder during the hour (plus) long Mass (standing room only), I was experiencing some pain, but definitely ignored it due to the circumstances going on. My father-in-law came through surgery just fine, and is very thankfully doing great.


Most likely as a combination of the above mentioned December stresses and the typical holiday stresses, carrying Amanda during Christmas Eve Mass did something to my upper back, and I found myself with an excruciating tendinitis in my right shoulder blade; I needed physical therapy for the next two months, and had an excessive amount of pain while trying to properly train for a half-marathon. Fortunately, pain subsided about a week before race time.


The first week in February, my husband called me from Boston to inform me that he had just been laid off. As I freaked out on the inside, I made a joke on the phone with him that the "hits just keep on coming." Fortunately, he found another job rather quickly, which is amazing in this economy. But I would be lying if I said we weren't still recovering from this hiccup.


A week and a half before I left for my race, Amanda started throwing up one day and couldn't stop. She had been throwing up for weeks, off and on, at a moment's notice, for no apparent reason. She would be fine, then she would throw up the entire contents of her stomach, and after about an hour she would be fine again. When we would call the pediatrician, they didn't seem to think there was too much to worry about, "probably a stomach bug." "Every week?" I questioned. Something seemed not quite right.

On this particular day, the vomiting just would not stop, to the point that she was growing listless and completely devoid of all of her energy. The pediatrician's office told me to get her to the emergency room right away. After administering a painful IV to her, they ran several tests and came up with no explanation as to why she was having this recurring problem. She would probably need to see a gastric specialist, we were informed, if this happened again. Oh, goody.


About two weeks after I returned from my race in Florida, I received a phone call on a Sunday afternoon from my mother, informing me that my father had just had a heart attack and was en route to the hospital by ambulance. I met her and drove the two of us to the emergency room, where we waited on pins and needles while he underwent surgery. Fortunately, everything went well, and today he is doing extremely well.


Then came Easter Sunday. About five minutes before we were ready to head to visit Anthony's family for dinner, Amanda turned green and threw up everything she had eaten for breakfast. I sent Anthony on his way, brought Amanda into the guest bedroom and spent the afternoon crying with her by her side. I was worried about her having to see a gastric specialist, as I had been warned it could be invasive and uncomfortable for her. After she dozed off and I calmed myself down, a light bulb went off in my head. Call it maternal instinct; call it a gut feeling (no pun intended), but I suddenly knew what was wrong with my little girl.

A few days later, after Amanda had her blood drawn, my instincts were confirmed: Amanda's one time egg allergy, which "went away" last summer, had come back with a vengeance. She is HIGHLY allergic to eggs, and looking back we could associate each and every vomiting incident with consuming some food containing eggs. Happy to know what was going on, I couldn't help but wonder if last summer's test had been botched, and could we have spared this poor little girl months of pain? We'll never know.


On April 20th, I watched the Boston Marathon on television, and was taken by surprise when I started crying. I've made it a goal of mine to attempt to do this race next year, but at the same time, sitting at home crying real tears because I was only WATCHING the race was not really what one would consider a "normal" reaction. Two days later I would understand my out-of-place tears.


On April 22nd, I was feeling incredibly nauseous, and "for the hell of it" I took a pregnancy test. When the second line appeared, I nearly fainted. Not happy with what the stick was telling me, I immediately took a second test. Result was the same. "Pregnant." I ran to my bedroom, curled up into a ball on my bed, and cried for an hour. Not exactly the reaction one would expect from a woman with my history of infertility. These were NOT tears of joy.

We were certainly not trying to get pregnant, not at all. This was another wonderful "surprise" that our doctors had told us would most likely never happen. This was the second time we were blessed with such a surprise. I wasn't prepared to be pregnant, that was for certain. But more than that, I think the tears were flowing so strongly because I just knew that there would not be an actual "baby" at the end of this story. And I just KNEW I was not prepared to go through another miscarraige. Not again. Not ever, EVER again. (Plus, my hormones were clearly all over the map - thus the Marathon Monday tears).

So I did everything I was supposed to do - all the meds and the vitamins, no more evening glasses of wine, no more caffeine, lots of rest, etc. I took exceptionally good care of myself to at least give the embryo a fighting chance. Reluctant as I was to go through this, I was still going to do it "right."


A couple of weeks later, my uncle died. His wake might have been the saddest wake I have EVER attended. And the funeral was rough, too. The long commute to-and-from both days wasn't working well with my nausea, either.


Last Tuesday, I had my first ultrasound. And, like a cruel joke, I saw a strong flickering heartbeat and for the first time felt a bit of joy over my "circumstance". No matter what the situation, there is something about seeing your baby's heartbeat for the first time on the monitor. As a mother, carrying a child, there is no feeling that can compare to the overwhelming joy of seeing that tiny strobe light. My eyes welled up with tears, but for the first time in THIS pregnancy, they were tears of joy.

A joy that lasted for, maybe, three minutes.

Because I was then informed that the baby was measuring a bit smaller than it should have been. Right then and there, I think I knew. When I miscarried two years ago, it was almost the same situation; there was a heartbeat, but the baby was much smaller than it should have been. And although this time around the baby was ONLY measuring one week too small, I just knew it couldn't possibly be good news.

Tuesday of this week was the repeat ultrasound. The instant the image was on the screen, I could see it. Or should I say, it was what I didn't see. "No heartbeat, right?" I asked the tech. She inhaled slowly, and then said softly "I'm so sorry."

I got dressed, and while I waited for the doctor I picked up Amanda and held her tightly to me, allowing tears to silently stream down my cheek. I didn't want her to know just how much pain I was in.


Lest you think my stories are done, I was informed by my mother last night that our next door neighbor up at the lake house has just been diagnosed with malignant stomach cancer.


So yes, I am going to end my pity-party REALLY soon. This is not the pain olympics, and I don't dare to suggest that I have had it WORSE than anyone else. Things suck right now, for a lot of people.

But I guess what I AM saying is that I hope and pray that the last six months can just be behind us. I mean, I am only speculating, but I would say we've been through enough. Right?

Here's to the next seven months being BETTER. I am not asking for perfect, not by any means. I am just asking for better. Because if you had to ask me right now, 2009 belongs right in the toilet.

But...we're only five months into this year.

And I plan to do whatever I need to do to improve things. Starting with my attitude, which I hope to adjust very soon. Resuming with taking good care of my physical health, as I now HAVE TO TAKE SOME EXTRA WEIGHT OFF AGAIN, DAMMIT!!!! (I can't wait to go for a super-long run, because I think it is just what my brain needs right now!) And lastly, I am going to try to remember all that I have to be thankful for, because there is a lot. My family, my beautiful child, my health, and the fact that between my husband, my father-in-law and my dad, everyone came through their incidents just fine.

Things suck. But things could be worse, I suppose.

They just NEED to get better...

..And I mean that, 2009!