When I was a kid, I played UNO with my Mom and Brother. I can remember sitting at our kitchen table and laughing when I skipped her on purpose. I always felt a tad guilty, because I did that to my own mother. She was always a good sport. My older brother would not let me off as easy and I got skipped many many times in a row. As a kid and having nine years in between us, he would really rub it in and I would pout. Like, really pout. I would say, “ It’s not fair you can’t skip me TWICE!!” and again after the third and fourth skips. My brother, being the older brother, would belly laugh. He took great joy in skipping me on purpose. I would regularly say “ I’m not playing with you EVER again…” till the next day or week.
However, I learned early in my life, the cards you get dealt are not always fair.
I lost my mom at 21, four days before my 22nd birthday. She did not die suddenly. I had prepared for it. It’s a part of my life that I wish someone would have laid down a million skip cards. She had cancer and while it literally ate her, it was consuming everyone and everything else around her. Including me. I wish she could have skipped the suffering and lingering part, but it wasn’t in her hand. I was mad at the card that had been laid down. I didn’t know how to play it. I wanted to toss it. I wanted a new hand dealt. I wanted God to deal again and give me my Mom back.
I was 14 the first time I heard and truly understood what the word Cancer meant. I was 14 when I held my mother’s head over the commode after her first chemo treatment. It was October, when I walked into her bathroom and saw chunks of her hair on the bathroom floor. I was 15, when I heard the word, remission. I was 20 when I heard the phrase, it’s back. I was 22 when I buried her. I’m 32 now. I’m still not over it. Some days, I think I’m over it. Some days I think this is okay. Other days, when I look in the mirror I want to scream and call my Mom. When somebody dies, we need a lifeline to them. Like a “oh my gosh, I’m suffocating down here, can you please hold my hand for a little while……”
In June I turned 32. I woke up and thought I’m 32. I AM 32 years old. I have a 3 year old, a wonderful sweet husband, a supporting dad, a mortgage, a cat, a huge support system, lots of good friends, and a really good life, a great life- but I just really wanted my Mom. I know it was because a friend of mine announced her fourth pregnancy. Though, so happy for her and her family, my heart felt hollowed out. I literally held my head over the sink and had one of those ugly cries. One of those cries, where you lie awake all night wondering, is this it….this is my breaking point. Another moment in my life, I’d prefer to just have skipped.
I was 23 when we started to want a baby. We waited to a few years to get a house, better jobs, to be more stable. We started the process. We were excited. We waited again. It took 5 years of needles, doctors appointments, a lot of financial burden, a lot of crying and disappointment to get pregnant. One day at the end of my rope I decided, it was not worth it. I had decided my body and health meant more to me than a baby. I decided at that moment this was it, no more!! I was done playing those “skip” cards of pregnancy. I was quitting this game.
Though, at that same moment a wild card happened. I ended up pregnant. It was Monday, December 18, 2011 when I took the pregnancy test. I took five in that one day, ten the next. I prayed for a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy. I had a healthy baby but not a healthy pregnancy. It took me a solid year to recover from preeclampsia, years of crazy hormones, and a c-section. Even after all that crap, I can not truly explain to the entire world how grateful I am for our little Miss. Sunshine. She is my happy when the clouds are gray. Give me this hand: of a c-section, swollen feet, and 60+pounds of fluid in return for a sweet child. That hand was a full house.
Last August (’15) we tried for another baby. We went back to the fertility doctor. She was confident that I would be pregnant again in no time. That was a year ago. I did one round of treatment and my body reacted the complete opposite. The doctor told me she just didn’t think it was the right time and wanted me to take some time off. When she called, I was at work. She told me she was afraid for my health. The doctor cried with me and said,”This is the hard part in my job. I’m the cloud some days and I’m the sun others. Today I’m the cloud for you and I am so so sorry.” I went to the bathroom at work and I had a ugly cry. The doctor said try natural, sometimes these things just work out. I wanted to skip that moment of disappointment and deep sadness. How had I let myself return to this dark place? I refused to play that dark sad hand again. I announced to my husband that I am not even sitting at the table for this game. I was not repeating the years of 2007-2011 ever again.
In December, my hands went numb and it was thought that I had a pinched nerve in my neck. The fertility doctor contribute it to hormones and treatments and possible nerve damage from long intense treatments. The fertility doctor is convinced my body is still not ready to try treatments and firmly believes that I may never be ready. My hands are not numb now and I’m still not able to try treatments. It’s about nine months later since the hand issue happened. Guess what? My friend is on her fourth pregnancy. Another friend on her second. Another on her third. Wait, another on her fifth. I am so happy for ALL my friends!! Seriously, so happy!! Though with each announcement my heart is a little sad, because I’m still stuck in the battle lines of crazy hormones, natural methods, and negative pregnancy tests. I’m trying like hell to hold it all together. Yet, my heart is drowning from realizing that this IS IT. I’ll never know the feeling of pregnancy again and my little girl will never understand the love for and love given by a sibling.
I desperately do want to give my baby girl a sibling. I have a brother ( half brother) nine years older than me. As adults we are not close. Mostly because what held us together was our mutual bond: our Mother. However, he is my brother forever and always. No matter what, I will be there for him. We are blood. There’s that saying, “ blood is thicker than water”….that’s what it means to love your siblings. Then there is my husband’s siblings. They are incredibly close. So close, they have a group text going ALL the time, in which I must “mute” so I don’t have my phone dinging all day, every day. One time, 175 texts in an hour #truestory. So that’s sibling love, getting 175 texts in one hour or loving them no matter how many times they skip you in a silly card game or how little you actually communicate as adults.
These are the hands or trials that have been dealt in my life. Infertility and missing my Mother. I really understand that my Mom needed to die. She was suffering and nothing could cure the cancer. I actually fought with God on that one, but not like I am over my ability to have babies. As ashamed as I am about it, I have fought with him a lot on these subjects and I find myself still questioning his love and mercy. I’ve tried to follow the quote “rules” from my upbringing, well, mostly. I’m not anywhere close to perfect. I grew up in a fairly religious home, my mother a devout member of the LDS faith and my father making sure I was in church. I did all the things LDS kids do, even marrying in the temple a year later after my civil union. By telling you all this, I honestly realize that following the “rules” does NOT prevent hardship, heartache, or bad life experiences. If anyone realizes this, I do. My mom for example, never smoked but had lung cancer. HUGE TRIAL of FAITH. I understand you have these moments to build you up, but honestly I’m kinda of getting tired of the trials. Which leads into the complaining part. Which, I fully am aware I should not do. Yes, I do it. So what? Not all the time, but I do it. I am a human and what I’ve been through just flat out sucks.
In the LDS faith, it is common for the mother to stay at home and have a large family. There is nothing at all wrong with staying at home, but I enjoy working. It’s something I do because it helps our income and I like it. Sometimes, I do get the “working mom” comment or the “ don’t you want more children??” When that question(s) is posed, I stare at disbelief that people actually think that I’ve chosen to have just one child and that I work full time because I’m selfish or materialistic. Yup, I’ve gotten that comment too. Or that maybe ( gasp) I need to become more righteous. Yes, I’ve actually heard that to my face from a member of my same faith. Another #truestory.
But when I turned 32 this past June, it hit me. The clock is ticking. The time for having babies is passing by and the skip card of a second child is getting dealt every month. I’ve been pouting about it a lot. Complaining silently. I’ve gotten mad. I’ve ugly cried a lot. I’ve been sad. I’ve grieved. I’ve even said “screw it…” and I’ve slowly accepted that our little Miss. Sunshine is going to be the only one for our family.
In the meanwhile, I patiently wait for the cards to be reshuffled. Not reshuffled for another baby, but for more happiness. More happiness as our one and only grows. Yes, I am tired of getting skipped over in the second baby department. Yet, I do know I’ve played my hands the best way I know how and I’ve survived. I may be feeling beaten down and a little sad some days, but mostly I’m happy, because our ride thus far, has been beautiful. I pray every day for strength and guidance, and to find the peace in the” skips” during my child bearing years. It’s not easy and I’m gonna still complain. #sorry #not sorry
I will continue to laugh and enjoy every minute of motherhood and embrace my beautiful ordinary life, but I’ll also be quietly thinking about the babies that I’ll never have.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;”
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-6