Sunday, April 17, 2005

Journey to Fulfillment (Careful, it's a long one. You might need a beverage.)

Funny how on any given day there are 40 katrillion children in my yard or house, depending on the weather. I love it. Every neighborhood's gotta have the house that all the kids go to - I am SO STOKED that I have that house. Talk about a life's goal coming to fruition.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a mommy. As a child, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always, without hesitation or thought, a mommy. In junior high, teachers would talk about what a wonderful teacher I was going to be someday. In high school, the guidance counsellor gently directed me towards college and teaching. I bounced around a lot my senior year, trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I knew it had something to do with children and even though mommy was still high on the list of what I wanted to be, for some reason I felt pushed that staying at home was not an option for me. I was so "gifted", so "smart" and had "so much potential" and I hated the fact that what I wanted to do more than anything in the world was get married, have baby after baby and stay at home to raise them, yet no one would let me.

I still wonder why everyone pushed me so hard to seek a career in education. I mean, don't get me wrong, I know why they did it, but WHY did they do it when they knew dang good and well that I had no desire? I hope I don't sound conceited, but I knew I had the smarts to get any kind of degree I wanted. Okay, well maybe not one in math because I really suck at math. But what I'm saying is - and maybe it's because I've learned through my own mistakes - when someone has no earthly desire to do something why push them towards it?

Oh yeah, I went to college. (Go! Go! NEO!) I enrolled at the end of summer at our small 2-year college with a major in early childhood education. I was going to run a daycare. I didn't really want to run a daycare, but everyone seemed to think that was a good thing for me since I had so horribly disappointed everyone by not wanting to teach. I started out with 18 hours that semester. MISTAKE. The counsellor who enrolled me AND my father who stood there while I enrolled, allowed this. For one thing, I didn't want to go to college. Period. For another thing, my parents had just gotten divorced that summer and I hated everyone, everything and had a really pissy outlook on the world, the universe and life. And these dingbats let me enroll with 18 hours my first semester? HUH?

The semester started, I went to my classes with diligence, I took notes, I studied, I worked hard. I hated every second of it. I loved my English class, loved the teacher, loved everything about it. I hated the Biology class, not because I hated science, no it wasn't that. I just didn't like it. Government was horrible because I have always hated anything like that. I am a horrible citizen, I admit it. So not only was I in a class that I had no interest in, was bored to tears in, but the teacher and I HATED EACH OTHER WITH EVERYTHING IN OUR BEINGS. It wouldn't have mattered if I had said that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, he would've argued it with me. I would leave the class near tears every time. I loved my speech class, but hey I'm a dramatic diva and how could I NOT like speech class where everyone had to look at me, me, me when I spoke? I also had a technical theatre class that rocked. But funny how they wouldn't let me take only English and Speech/Drama classes. So I quit. My mother was disappointed. My father was disappointed. Guidance counsellor, yep. Okay. Who cared. Certainly not me.

So I got a job - IN A DAYCARE. I was the toddler teacher. I was part of the original staff of a new grass roots type center in town, funded by the state, but we had so much free reign. I loved it! I could just hear my uterus screaming every day, I wanted a baby so badly. I looked forward to work. I loved my babies. I loved the girls I worked with. I was engaged to be married. My life was perfect. Uterus was geared up and ready to go, babies would be deposited soon, I was sure of it.

Then suddenly, one fateful night, my uterine dreams came crashing down around me when my fiance said I was smothering him. (I really don't think I was. Here's a clue about his personality: The engagement ring I was wearing had been someone else's, too. Yeah. Can we say "committment fears"?) My best friend from high school was moving to Stillwater (Goooooo Cowboys!) and maybe I should go with? Not for school, just to get away, live on my own, get over a bad breakup. My mom got in touch with a girl who had a relative who got me a job, a really good job, and Cyndi and I moved into an apartment in a big ol' college town, 3 hours from home. I drank a lot. I partied a lot. It was FUN. But my ex-boyfriend from high school lived there as well and he still knew how to manipulate me. He would call me, saying he missed me so I'd go running, thinking I was what he needed, he loved me and we were going to get back together, but all he was doing was making booty calls. How dumb was I? I was incredibly homesick, I hated what he was doing to me, I wanted my mommy.

After one month, I moved home. Left my best friend in Stillwater, headed home to do God knew what and live with my momma once more. She was newly divorced, I was newly single. We were two depressing women, lemme tell ya. I scoured the newspapers every day and one day found a nanny type job. The pay was great, the kids were great, uterine pains subsiding, but still lurking there under the surface. I treated these girls as if they were my own and life was looking good once more.

Enter Paul.

Boom, three months from our first date we were married. I wanted a baby RIGHT THEN, but we were poor, neither of us working steadily so we waited. Then the light of Heaven shone down and rendered unto us jobs. And it was good. Yet no baby was begat. An endometrial biopsy showed that I was not ovulating, but hey, here's a pill that will make that happen. I took my temperature diligently and lo and behold, two lines appeared when my urine was applied to the little plastic test! A baby!

Uterine dreams fulfilled.

I had everything in the world I wanted. Okay, so we were renting still, but hey, I was married, I had something in my uterus finally and who cared if we didn't own an actual house yet.

But something was wrong. The ultrasound showed the baby was at 10 weeks and I knew I was 14 weeks along. I had the temperature charts to prove when I ovulated, I had taken the pills, a day or two might've been off on the date of conception, but not 4 weeks. The doctor didn't have a thing to do with the ultrasound and the tech was acting strange. She left the room to "check in with the doctor", came back and said that we'd just repeat the ultrasound in a few weeks. I left there with a very uneasy feeling and I was nearly hysterical by evening. Something wasn't jiving. So I made an appointment with a friend's OBGYN for two days later. He listened, thumped on my tummy and said since there was a discrepancy in the dates he wanted to do an ultrasound of his own.

I will never forget the feeling of drowning and blackness that overtook me when he patted my leg, put down the transducer and said, "I'm sorry, but your baby isn't alive." No this was not happening to me. My life was perfect. My baby was fine. I was not going to accept this. I passed out. When my eyes opened I saw my precious husband standing over me, tears flowing freely down his face and he looked very very tired. The doctor gave us a few minutes alone to sit and stare blankly at the wall and wonder what we had done wrong. Why? Why?

The baby died at 10 weeks, we found out at 14 weeks and I hadn't miscarried on my own. He blah blah blah'd on about "missed abortion" and my body not having enough hormones to register that the fetal death had occured. He told me to go home and wait, said eventually I would miscarry and that would be that. I was pregnant, yet I wasn't. My body said I was, yet at the same time my body mocked me. 5 weeks later, after not leaving my house for fear that "it" would happen out in public, after crying virtually nonstop 24 hours a day and withdrawing from my husband, who was just as devastated and confused as I was, I called him one day and said "I cannot continue on like this. I need closure. You have to make something happen NOW." I went in for a D&C 2 days later.

After that it became my heartfelt mission to have another baby. Soon. I waited the three months that the doctor considered safe. I started back on the Clomid to make me ovulate because my ovaries were in on the betrayal, right along with my uterus. After three months and no ovulating, he upped my dose to double. I was not only NOT pregnant, but I was now a raving, screaming, demonic lunatic from the pits of hell. No wonder I didn't get pregnant - my husband was scared of me. The doctor told me, after the third month on double doses, that I was simply not going to conceive. We didn't have the money for IVF, that was out. We had used up everything we had just to pay for the seemingly endless doses of Clomid I had taken. No, he said, we couldn't adopt either because we were too young. He told me to enjoy other peoples' children because I wasn't going to have any of my own. He was just a bundle of sunshine, wasn't he? I left in tears, cursing my uterus, cursing myself, cursing period. I went home that night, packed a bag and told my husband that I was leaving him because it wasn't fair to him that he live a childless life when he had the ability to have children. He grabbed me, held on so tight and told me that under no circumstance was he allowing me to leave, he didn't care if I had a cantankerous uterus, I was his - end of discussion.

He steered me towards adoption. We found a wonderful agency out of Tulsa that specialized in sibling groups, minority and hard to place children. We knew it might be hard, we knew we would be challenged, but we didn't care if we ended up with Cantonese quadruplets at that point so we forged ahead. We passed the initial stuff and had an appointment on Tuesday for our face-to-face interview. On Friday, I was nauseous and dizzy feeling. I had been on a round of progesterone to force a period, yet it hadn't happened when it should've. I teased "You know, the way I'm feeling, I'd swear I was pregnant." Hoo boy did we laugh about that one. Paul slapped my leg and said, "Yeah right. Like THAT'S going to happen." Saturday I bought a pregnancy test, but didn't tell him. Sunday morning I woke up at 5am, bladder full of urine and I snuck off to the bathroom. Imagine how I rubbed my eyes when two lines showed up on that test!!! I tapped in on the counter, (why,I dunno, lol) I rubbed my eyes again and sat there on the side of the tub staring in disbelief. When the timer went off after the alotted 2 minute time frame for a result, I ran to the bedroom, nightgown flying behind me. I pounced on top of my snoring husband, risking being punched mind you, and waved the test in his face. I said, "Mr. Hoover, are you ready to be a daddy?" He opened one eye and said, " It is 5 am. No one is ready to be a daddy at 5am." Then, like a shot of electricity coursed through him, he sat bolt upright in the bed, knocking me off and said, "What did you just say?"

It was a very guarded first trimester. The doctor immediately put me on progesterone to sustain the pregnancy. At 9 weeks he did an ultrasound and things looked fine. 10 weeks was excruciating, but another ultrasound showed us a rapidly beating heart. At 14 weeks I cried the entire week. 19 weeks I cried more, but felt like I had accomplished something. 20 weeks and we saw our Abby sucking her thumb and kicking the transducer, ankles crossed and proudly showing her cooter to the world. I was whole. I was complete. I had a real, living, kicking, precious baby in my uterus.

After she was born the doctor said that we should enjoy her because chances are she would be our only. Non-ovulaters like me didn't just "get over it". He said to spoil her rotten and enjoy life.

Okay, so if you were told you would never conceive again, would you be too stringent on the prophylaxis?

We weren't either.

25 months later we had a Sam.

37 months after that we had a Kady.

If I thought I was complete before, you can't imagine how complete I feel now. And when I look out my front door and see those three children playing "adventure" in the yard and I hear the squeals when they chase the ducks and when my princess tells me "I lub you, momma" I know that no college degree could've fulfilled me any more than being a mother does. No high-paying job could ever make me swell with emotion like when I see my oldest daughter's toothless grin and clumsy Olive Oyl walk. No amount of money in the world could ever make me tear up in pure joy like smelling my son's hair when he's been playing outside all day.

I am so blessed. I am so thankful. I am so proud.

I'm a mom.


Shannon said...

OK Kristin! You made me cry! Don't you just love that sweaty hair smell? :) Brady's the only child we have. I had 2 miscarriages, one of them about 3 years ago. Now I am getting too old and don't want to chance it again. We are thinking about adopting hopefully sometime next year. I feel very blessed with our son though!!!He's a sweetie!
Oh, and congratulations on your eventful Sunday morning! :)HA

Anonymous said...

You are SO vying for that Mother of the Year Award, aren't you? Haven't we talked about this? That award goes to me, dang it! For letting Shael eat cereal for supper when I'm too lazy to cook anything and call it "fend-for-yourselves-night" And Sam's hair must smell better than Shael's after a hard day at play. When she comes in from outside she smells like a wet hound dog. Gross.

Irish Divinity said...

Ok, so I am bawling now!!!! I was told at 16 no babies, ever, tipped uterus, endometriosis, toxic shock syndrome, etc. Then at 21 bam here comes katlynn. When we tried for Kiersten it took almost 2 years and now I have been craving baby #3 for over a year. So I guess we'll keep on trying! You're such an inspiration!! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Wow wow wow. You made me cry like a friggin baby. I don't even have any words (and that never happens!

You are amazing.

Anonymous said...

As everyone else has said, I'm bawling too. I fear we may too be in the same situation. But then again, it's probably God saying, a 28 year old baby and a new born baby is something you, my dear Tiffany, cannot handle.
I love you and I miss you more than words can even begin to describe.

Redneck Diva said...

Ladies, thank you all for commenting. I have wanted to write about our first baby and what we went through to have our other children for awhile, but every time I would try, it ended up not writing the way I wanted. I didn't plan on writing it this time, but it just happened. It was very cathartic to write it all down and I think I nearly dehydrated from crying all the way through it.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...