Tag Archives: recovery period

Slap Wore Out, Part 947.

Nothing breaks my heart more than staring at $5000 in medical bills and not having a baby to show for it. Miscarriage: killing me slowly since the Spring of 2013. Miscarriage: can suck it. And what’s up with the hundred-million pregnant people this summer? Is everybody giving birth in the fall except for me?

That’s it for my wallowing today. I attribute my exhaustion and moody behavior to late-night softball games and early-morning vacation bible school. It’s all been a lot of fun, but my kids are plum tired. I actually sent them to their beds for a nap about 10 minutes ago…and it’s quiet back there. They just might be sleeping.

Temperatures have officially reached the triple-digits, just as it does every year at some point during the summer. I’m thankful that it’s taken this long–here we are at the tail end of June and we’re just now experiencing this kind of heat? Thank you God, for the lovely 6 weeks of mild weather that we didn’t get last year, or the year before that. (I say “mild weather” like we didn’t have 500 tornados or anything.)

I sold the painting of the Emerald City in a field of poppies:

I call it, "The Emerald City In A Field Of Poppies".

I call it, “The Emerald City In A Field Of Poppies”.

 

Contrary to what I assumed would happen, this puppy is hanging in someone else’s dining room, rather than on the bubble-gum pink wall above some 4-year-old little girl’s bed. Either way, I’m thrilled; and I’m always shocked that people like my art enough to buy it at all.

Our church is looking at throwing a community/church-wide art show in August. Already, Mia and I have been tossing around ideas. Okay, well, Mia has actually finished her contribution:

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Mia’s “City of Angels”, before the final touches.

Nothing is cooler than having a kid who shares my enthusiasm for cityscapes.

Tomorrow, me and my husband, and my bff and her husband, are going to see World War Z. I’ve read the book and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the movie based on the previews of sprinting zombies (THEY’RE DEAD! HOW FAST CAN THEY POSSIBLY BE?!!) but I’m all for checking it out, because A) I’m a sucker for apocalyptic scenarios, and B) there’s a good to excellent chance I’m gonna get some dinner nachos out of this.

And as it turns out, the kids are not quite asleep. And I care not. Because I’m cutting out to go take my own nap. Have a great weekend, computer people!

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Overwhelmed.

I’m having a little trouble processing–not only what happened at the hospital today–but the sheer uplifting kindness we have received from people who we now consider to be straight-up family. I’m going to brag on my church peeps right now: Caleb can send a simple 2-worded text to a single person, and within 60 seconds, our immediate needs are met by about 25 people, right along with 100 other needs we didn’t even know we had.

No words of gratitude can express how we feel:

  • for the e-mails, texts, messages, phone calls, visits, and prayers.
  • for the cookies (oh the glorious cookies!) and the Shari’s Berries (oh the glorious Shari’s Berries!) and the Easter dinner and the lasagna and Texas Toast and pie and Cafe’ Du Monde Coffee.
  • for the books, music, jewelry, flowers…and picture text of a grown man (who shall remain anonymous) hamming it up in some poor little kid’s ex-pajamas.
  • Wow.
  • I needed that laugh like you wouldn’t believe.
  • for the offers of meals, of babysitting, of kid picking-up/dropping-off; for the offers to clean our house (you know not what you say), to take us out to breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee/shopping/walking/ridiculous you people, just ridiculous.
  • And perhaps most touchingly of all, for the offer of a dear, dear friend to come out and plant something for me–flowers, a tree–whatever I’d like–in my yard. This beautiful wonderful woman can at times barely walk without assistance. I would be so lucky if I ever learned a smidge of anything at all from her.

I’ve left out about 3 million people who God has surely used to help heal our broken hearts, mainly because it’s 10:00 p.m. and I’m highly doped up.

But I thank you all, so so much.

I will spare the long dramatic version of today and instead tell you what I know. Our baby died at 13 weeks. We found out last Thursday. We scheduled a D&C so that my body wouldn’t go all chainsaw-massacre at home in front of my kids. It’s supposed to be a simple procedure and we expected to be in and out of there before 10 a.m., settling into our weekend early with a day or two of little-to-no light spotting.

Call me Bad Luck Brian.

Or we could legitimately go with "Tough Sh#! Toni". Clearly. Word to your mother.

Or we could clearly go with “Tough Sh#! Toni”. Clearly. Word to your mother.

We came. We saw. We got IV’d. And truthfully I spent the next 8 hours sleeping and/or feeling sloppy drunk (and loving it). Caleb? Not so much.

According to my poor traumatized husband, I bled, and bled and bled. And then I bled some more. And I had a fever. And this was apparently cause for great concern. And I didn’t even realize that something might be wrong until a wicked nurse came in and shot me square in the thigh with a needle the size of friggin’ Saskatchewan, which I did not like one single bit.

And I got admitted to the hospital for real, and I got a bigger room with a comfy bed, and a cable tv which was not too shabby for Toni.

And then I dreamed that a bunch of old men in clackety shoes were praying for me–loudly, and all at the same time. And then my husband left my side for a minute to go find food for the first time since yesterday afternoon. And I made one loopy phone call to my mom to tell her everything went fine.

And then suddenly, everything was fine.

And I got home at 5:30, took some drugs, and ate some cookies.

And that is my version of how it went.

But you guys: my husband is shell-shocked, bless his heart. His eyes tonight looked so tired that I wanted him to lay down and go to sleep, so I could just rescue him by handling everything else. I still don’t know all the details and that’s probably for the best. But the most important thing I know is this: we were so loved, and cared for, and watched over.

People ask me how I can be so calm; they are saying things like “I would lose it, I would fall apart; I hate that you are going through this, it must be awful”. And yeah–it’s awful. All I can say is that when you are walking with God, you don’t have to wait for the light at the end of the tunnel to appear. God is your light, all the way through the longest and darkest of tunnels. This has never been truer for me and I hope for my husband and children as well.

Please continue to pray for us as we rest up this weekend. Though I am feeling super-awesome physically in comparison to the last week, I now know better than to assume there’s nothing else that could possibly come up. Plus, it might just be time to consider that certain body parts are on the fritz; Well done, good and faithful uterus! You have served me well:

Yay.

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Champ

 
I honestly can’t believe it.
 
It’s been one whole year since Merrick’s skull was hacked to pieces, and we’ve managed not to knock/bump/bang/jab/stab his exposed brain since then.
 
Don’t get me wrong–Merrick is a wild man. His forehead’s taken a beating; his nose has cushioned many a fall. But the rest of his perfect little head is not our doing–only by the grace of God has he survived in our house, on our tile floors, around our sharp corners, our pushy dogs, and my clumsiness. Without a helmet. Or a padded cage.
 
2008 was super-eventful for our family. Looking back, I know there were worse things that could’ve happened. I have friends who have gone through so much more with their own sweet babies. But at that point, I felt like life was bitch-slapping us left and right. Our old golden retriever died. Caleb got laid off one month before Merrick was due, and then, of course, Merrick came–and then, there was something off with his head. Our pediatrician noticed it only a few hours after his birth–“Hmm. We’ll just keep an eye on that head shape”–but I blew it off, thinking that the good doctor must’ve been smoking crack since the kid was still crunched from, oh, BEING BORN.
 
Note: turns out, doctors sometimes know what they’re talking about.
 
When we first found out Merrick had craniosynostosis, my family was visiting–and thank God for that, too. Although we waited for the results of x-rays and ultrasounds and CAT scans to come back before we let ourselves believe it, Caleb and I suspected. Every night I’d sit and rock him and stroke his hair, and I’d run my fingers over and over the little bumpy ridgeline that ran right down the middle of his head. I’d look at his forehead as I fed him and I’d notice how it protruded so much more than the girls’ had, and I knew. But it was still a blow.
 
Craniosynostosis is a big word for a woman with 1 newborn, 2 other kids, 3 dogs, and a husband who’d just been laid off. It’s not something I could easily wrap my head around (Get it? Head? As in skull? Head–you know, because…um, nevermind.) Merrick’s skull was closed. Where a normal infant would have a nice soft spot, Merrick had none. And as his brain grew, the parts of his skull that were open would be pushed in all kinds of wrong directions, and his head shape took on the look of an…I don’t even know what. Maybe a hammer, or a boat. It was long. He looked angry all the time. There had to have been a great deal of pressure on his brain, because he threw up constantly–literally, constantly. I was either feeding him or changing his clothes, or my clothes. My parents, my friends, specialists, doctors, nurses–they all said he’d be fine, that we’d get through the appointments and the tests and the surgery, and within a year’s time, it would seem like a dream. But I felt like the world was coming to an end.
 
I’d never had to worry about anything so serious in my life. I’d never had to make the really tough decisions–although, in this case, there was no decision to make. Merrick had to have surgery. There was no question.
 
At 4 months old, on a Wednesday morning in late September, Merrick had his craniosynostosis surgery at OU Children’s Hospital. Despite needing a blood transfusion in recovery (and despite getting Caleb’s jacked-up blood) he came through it extremely well. It was so hard to see him all bandaged and wired up…and bruised and swollen. It was hard seeing him lying in a hospital bed, period, and knowing that I couldn’t pick him up, even if he cried. Every little beep from the machines he was hooked up to freaked me out, every squirm he made had me calling for a nurse.
 
And yet, as terrible as I thought he looked, he was far from helpless. He was stronger than I was. “Pain? What pain? I’m just pissed because you won’t take this stupid velcro bootie off my foot. What the hell, Mom?”
 
We were outta there by Friday afternoon.
 
Things since then have gone great. Merrick was a trooper, I tell you. The biggest complication we had in the weeks after sugery? An ear-infection, brought on by a runny nose which came with the cold he must’ve picked up in the uber-sanitary place that is the hospital. Once he was over that, we tore up the town. I got some dirty looks just about everywhere I went with him–that scar was gruesome, and while the stitches were in, there was to be no covering it. A few people would ask questions–I’m sure most people thought we had either dropped him accidentally or beat him on purpose. Ah, good times.
 
You’d never know just by looking at him today that in his very young life, Merrick was as courageous–well, mostly oblivious, but I like to think he was courageous–as he was. He’s got a gorgeous (perfectly shaped) head of silky blond hair, a smooth forehead, and, most of the time, a happy, happy look on his face. He walked at 9 months. He’s running, climbing, talking, laughing, and getting into everything he’s not supposed to. Children in general can change your life, and that’s been true of all mine–but Merrick in particular has taught me–and my husband–more about strength and gratitude than we ever imagined possible.
 

Hell Week

 
Oh yeah.
 
Nevermind just recovering from having his head hacked into; that was sooooo 7 days ago. Right now, Merrick’s battling an ear infection, a wicked bad runny nose, and a nasty cough. Plus, he’s teething. He hasn’t gone two waking minutes without screaming–and he hasn’t slept unless he’s safe in our arms, which has lead to some seriously sleepless nights (and days) for me and Caleb.
 
Caleb has that freak fever Mia got a week ago. He’s been running between 101 and 103 all day long. What the hell?
 
Our house is so messy that professionals need to be called, lest our kids get taken away from us. We’ve eaten left-over pasta and PBJ sandwiches until we’re blue in the face. And we’re all getting on each other’s last nerve.
 
My favorite movie is "Signs". What’s not to love? A man struggling with his faith, 2 kids who are too smart for their own good, aliens in a corn field, and Joaquin Phoenix. I bet none of the people in that movie could see the light at the end of that tunnel–but God had a plan for them. Twisted as it was, God had a plan.
 
I’m trying to say little prayers of thanks and think happy thoughts whenever the urge strikes me to sit in a closed garage with my car running. It could be worse. Sniffles fade and fevers break. And we’re nowhere near a cornfield. 7 days from now, we’ll all look back on this and laugh…

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