Happy New Year.

I’ve been avoiding this for the past week. I’ve been going back and fourth between writing it down or letting the memory fade over time. I’ve told the story what feels like a million times over the past 3 weeks, and I can’t get through the first few sentences without crying. I figured I’m an emotional person, but I had hoped I’d be a bit better by now. And to a certain extent, I am. But reliving everything that happened on December 5th still causes me to cry just as hard as I did that day. I guess thinking about it, 3 weeks and 5 days really isn’t that long to “get over it”. I guess I’m hoping that by writing it down, it’ll help me let some of it go. Writing has always brought some sort of healing, right? So here it is, every detail I can remember of baby Jacks birth and NICU stay.

DECEMBER 5, 2017
I woke up with cramps that morning. I remember not knowing if it was the real thing or a false alarm because I had been cramping on and off for the past week or so and I wasn’t technically due for another week. The cramps felt consistent so I began timing them. By the end of the hour, they had gone from 5 minutes apart to 2 and a half minutes apart so Brandon and I excitedly grabbed the car seat and hospital bag and got in the car. It was so cool to think that wed be coming home the next day with our new baby, learning a new way of doing things as a family of 3. I remember thinking contractions felt different than I had thought they’d feel. It was bearable and I was feeling pretty confident. We got to the hospital and checked in and they brought us to our room and had me change into a gown. While I was changing my water broke, which was the weirdest thing I’ve ever felt. From there things got much more intense. Things started getting kinda blurry. I remember them having a hard time keeping track of Jacks heart rate. I remember them saying something about me having a fever and they gave me oxygen. I remember them trying to monitor Jacks heart rate internally (before an epidural, that was probably the most painful thing I’ve ever felt coupled with contractions). At that point I wanted an epidural and the anesthesiologist came in the room what felt like a year later to give it to me. I remember the nurses were trying so hard to get ahold of my doctor because with every contraction, Jacks heart rate would drop and they didn’t know why. They had me lay on my right side to try and track his little heart down but they couldn’t find it, so they had me lay on my left side (which wasn’t really going numb) and at that point another doctor came in the room. I could tell she was trying hard not to freak me out but she was telling me because of how Jack was handling the contractions, and I was only 6 centimeters dilated, they wanted to take him out via c-section because they didn’t think he’d make it if we waited til I was the full 10. Exhausted and just wanting Jack to be okay, I agreed and that’s when it got really scary. I always saw panicked doctors on tv shows and whatnot, but I never thought I’d see it in real life. There must have been 6 or 7 people rushing me to the O.R. In what felt like 2 minutes they had pumped me full of numbing drugs and had the sheet up. Brandon came in and sat by me, thank God too because I don’t know how I would have handled it otherwise. I didn’t realize when they said “you’ll feel a lot of pressure” that they meant “this is gonna hurt pretty bad” because wow. I’ve never felt pressure like that before. I remember hearing Jack cry for a second but then it went quiet. A bunch more doctors came flooding into the room and I saw them passing a limp, slightly blue baby to the back of the room and started giving him oxygen. Doctors were blocking him for the most part so I was relying on Brandon to tell me what was happening. He told me Jack was okay, but I could tell he was lying to make me feel better because he looked just as scared.
They put Jack in an incubator and rushed him out and over to CHOC (the children’s hospital next door to the hospital I was in) after letting me have a quick look. Brandon went with him while they stitched me up and took me to the recovery room. That was hard because I couldn’t move my body at all and I could hear moms on the other side of the curtain with their babies and I was alone, not knowing what had just happened or if Jack was okay or anything. Brandon came not too long after and told me he was alive and they had him on oxygen and antibiotics and nutrients and that I could go see him once I was able to walk. After a couple hours in recovery, once I could move my legs, they took me to the Mother-baby unit where I would spend the next 4 days. Jack had to stay at CHOC though. So once again I could hear all the babies crying and new moms looking all exhausted and happy and it was just me and Brandon trying to process everything. Brandon brought me pictures that night of Jack and I was so glad he was alive and I was angry because so many people got to see him and touch his sweet little toes and I couldn’t get out of bed yet. I’ve never felt sadness like I felt that night.
My doctor doesn’t even know what happened or what infection Jack had. The whole situation was so overwhelming and confusing and I was so tired. We slept on and off that night. Nurses kept telling me to make sure I was pumping so that my milk would come in and it felt so wrong. I just wanted my baby with me.

DECEMBER 6-8, 2017

The next few days were incredibly difficult. I was able to walk enough the next day to get to see Jack. They plopped me in a wheelchair and wheeled me over CHOC. My first time seeing him broke my heart and mended it at the same time. Seeing your baby with tubes all over, not being able to cry or eat or anything is devastating. But seeing your baby alive is also the most exhilarating. I wanted to hold him and kiss him. I wanted to take him home like we had planned, I wanted to hear him cry and change his diaper and stay up all night feeding him and making sure he was okay. But I couldn’t. I’ve never cried so many times as I did in those few days. Every time I had to leave him to go back to my hospital, I felt horrible. Like, I should be there with him. People kept telling me to rest and sleep, but how can you rest in a situation like that? I felt like I had something stolen from me. People kept congratulating me and asking to come visit and telling me how happy they were for me, but I didn’t understand. Because nothing felt okay. Nothing was right. I felt so alone.
I have to say though, Brandon was amazing during this whole time. He let me cry when I needed to cry, he went back and fourth between hospitals so many times, I don’t remember seeing him sit down much. He was my stability when everything else felt like quick sand. He made sure I ate and drank enough water. He took me on walks around the hospital and bought me new slippers and he bought Jack and stuffed teddy bear. I appreciated him so much and I’m so thankful to have had support like that.

DECEMBER 9, 2017

I got discharged on this day. We had planned to go home to shower and pack some stuff and go stay at the NICU with jack for the rest of his time there. Healing from a c-section sucks. Healing from one trying to sleep on a hospital couch and constantly moving around sucks so so much. I mean, I’d do it all over again, but still. I remember that day I was such a mess. Driving away for the first time without the baby wrecked me. Walking into our apartment without our baby was the worst thing I’ve felt. I was trying to rest a bit before going to the hospital to be with him but I couldn’t stop crying so we went back pretty quickly. This was pretty much a daily occurrence, going home to nap and shower and waking up feeling totally sick because he wasn’t home with us. But being at the hospital and feeling sick because no one would tell us when we would be able to talk him home. Trying to breastfeed a baby hooked up to machines and trying to change his diaper without setting off one of the heart rate alarms proved to be just as challenging. I just remember wondering why all this had to happen.

DECEMBER 10-15, 2017

Slowly but surely tubes were taken out of our baby and we were informed he was responding extremely well to the antibiotics. He was considered a “normal baby” and was to be treated as such. We stayed the remainder of the ten days and ended up coming home late on December 15th. I’m obviously leaving out details, like how difficult it was mentally and physically that week.

I’ve never actually felt my faith in God being challenged. I’ve always been pretty good at leaning on God blindly and just trusting. Knowing He has His reasons for things and it isn’t my responsibility to understand it all. But this past month has brought new difficulty to my faith I’ve never experienced. On top of everything, I ended up catching the flu a week after coming home which set my healing back because of all the coughing. I had finally been able to walk around and even drove once, but after catching the flu, I regressed so much and that is so frustrating. Not being able to walk without hunching over in pain has caused me to feel so claustrophobic at times, all I can do it cry and cry and for the first time, I’ve gotten so angry at God. I know He didn’t cause any of this but He didn’t stop it either. And that at times feels like He’s abandoned us totally.
I don’t know what the new year is going to bring. I’m holding my breath for outstanding hospital bills and lack of childcare for my return to work. I’m trying to stay calm and just let things play out. At the end of the day, Jack is healthy as can be and my husband is so incredibly helpful and emotionally supportive and our friends and family have been so amazing all I can say to that is I am blessed beyond what I seem to let myself focus on. I’m thankful the worst is over. And I look forward to watching God work out the details of what next year may bring.

I’ve been trying not to feel.
It seems to be safer that way.
You tell me I snap too quick,
or that I judge too harsh,
or that I stress about too much…
I don’t know how to function with the weight of it on my shoulders.
Ive found myself alone in a wasteland filled with humans.
there are too many to feel safe.
there is no nest to be found.
no comfort in blood.
no empathy from those who claim love.

ive never seen this depth of black before.
even the mirror holds a stranger.

I never thought I’d regret leaving.

When you first introduced yourself, I didn’t see anything special.
You were just another place,
another climate,
and I had always longed to run free.
When you first shook my hand,
your palms were sweaty,
and I was only used to the cold.
Everything about you was foreign
and I only wanted familiarity.
I didn’t want you.
You left me feeling lonely.
But this is what life had handed me
and you turned me into a lifeless body.
You turned my eyes black
and my skin lost blood flow.
But how was I to know?

I never thought I would miss who we were before we lost it all

IMG_1782.

My name.

August 8, 2015.

You wrote my name once.
it feels like it was such a long time ago.
the way you twisted all the letters seemed to paint a picture of something ive never seen before.

i wonder if ill ever see it again.

i wanted to feel you tonight.
selfishly, i wanted to feel what i felt that first time you wrote my name.
that first time you held my hand
i swear it was a dream, but we invented our own neverland.
you wanted to fly,
and i wanted to die,
but by nothing short of a miracle,
you and me became “I”.

you built me my own carriage
to whisk me away from my angry parents;
i never wanted a castle.
just you rewriting my name.

you presented me my own glass shoe
i wear it every day as tribute
to the Valley of the Angels
where you traveled into dangers
because your greatest fear was to never make a difference.

oh i remember the tears that poured,
reading each and every beautiful letter that came to my door.
and my God, how my heart did soar
when i caught that first glimpse of your return.

you took me as your own.
we made love on the living room floor
and you rewrote to me my name
and reminded me what id waited so long for.

and now. years and years later…
i seem to have forgotten my name.
please spell it out to me once again.
or have i destroyed whatever it is i touch?
have i given you back so little, that youve distanced this much?
all i can say is please forgive me..
i never wanted you to be like me.

Honesty.

I’m not asking for help.

Anxiety is ugly.
It’s messy and mean.
It pushes me to push you away because my skin is crawling and I can’t let you touch me.

Anxiety is a wall, it’s a fortress, it’s a dungeon and my god I’ve been locked inside for so long now.
I catch glimpses of the sunshine flowing in through the barred window every now and again, but just as soon as I think I’ve seen it it’s gone.

Anxiety is killing me.
But not fast enough.

On Trauma.

It’s hard to grow up.

Childhood is a lie, and at a certain point I sort of realized it;
I’ll never feel grown up. I’ll never feel how I thought I would once I reached 24.

24.

Seems like such a mile stone,
Like I finally made it,
Finally passed the line between child and adult.
You always expected so much of me.  I always assumed I’d attain the goals you had for me.
But I swear, I’m still only 15.
I’m still just wandering.
Still just spinning.

I didn’t think I’d still be crying over this beast.
Didn’t think it’d still bother me.
But you betray me consistently
And I can’t stop these tears from falling.

I hope anger fades.
And I hope alcohol stops burning us up.

I hope we can kill whatever it is that’s still haunting us.

On Loss.

Things like this are never easy to write. I feel like there’s a fine line between sharing information and complaining. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference so it’s easier to just not talk at all. But I know people get curious and I’d rather explain in one long post than have to explain a bunch of individual times.
So far, this month has been one of the scariest to deal with, and it’s only been 6 days. Yesterday we had to make the awful decision to have our cat put down, and we got the news that my husbands truck needs a new engine (which we feel isn’t worth it, but then leaves us with only one car.).

We’ve been having to make BIG decisions with BIG after shocks and I’m praying we’re making the right calls.
I’ll explain what happened with Maybelle real quick so I can be done with it. We believe she sustained a head injury 5 months ago but we’re not positive because we couldn’t afford to do any kind of scans. All we know is we spent hundreds doing tests and different medications and special diet changes and no one could tell us what was wrong with her. Her aggression went from hissing and hiding to hissing and cornering us. We couldn’t move certain ways, couldn’t walk into the closet, couldn’t look at her, couldn’t have our friends or family over. She took over our lives and that is no way to live.

If anyone knows me, they know I’m a cat person and how much I LOVE my cat. She was my baby. But we were watching her slowly deteriorate and there wasn’t anything we could do about it.
So we made the choice. And it was the hardest choice we’ve made so far in our married life.
If any of you reading this pray, I beg you to pray for us. Life keeps throwing shit at us and we are so drained. Mentally, emotionally, financially. We need a break, but we also need to know why these things keep being thrown at us. I mean, I know life is hard but over the past year, it’s been especially difficult. We feel God moving, we just have no idea what He’s doing and that’s scary.
Anyway. That’s our life right now. I am SO thankful for my family and our friends and how much love and support they’ve been giving to us. It helps so much even if it’s just a hug and “we love you”. So thank you to anyone who’s reached out. We love you all.

On carnivals.

I wrote this early 2012. A lot has changed since then, but this is one of my favorite poems because little did I know that a few months later, my future husband and I would fall in love at a carnival 100 miles away from where I wrote this poem. Funny how life works sometimes.

 

___________________________________

I saw bright lights up ahead.

colorful, spinning, I wanted them to be mine.

The car veered slightly as I turned to look. I rolled my window down to feel the wind.
I neared the lights and heard children laughing and saw parents chattering among each other.
I wondered if they were taking the moment in. I wonder if they knew I was taking their moment in.
I wanted their moment to be mine.
I almost forgot you were next to me, but you shifted in your seat and I heard you take another bite of ice cream.
Mine sat next to me in the center console and I had never felt so sick.
I wanted to park the car and make a run for the carnival. I wanted to leave everything behind.

How long could we pretend? My mind was a ticking time bomb waiting until the worst perfect moment to erupt.

But we passed the lights and the music and the children and drove toward East End.
I don’t know what made me take that route, ironic to the name it held.
I couldn’t find the answers.

I parked on the street and prayed you would say something, anything to stop my mind from racing.
I don’t think God heard me because you just reclined your seat.
I asked what time you wanted to leave.
You didn’t answer, so i turned to face you and you were gone.

I looked for you in my back seat, but you weren’t there either.
I got out of the car and sat on the pavement.
He asked me what was wrong with my porch, I smiled to cover tears and said,
‘I like the sidewalk better tonight.’
Stupid answer looking back on it, but sometimes I just don’t know what to say.

I wondered where you went. I don’t think there’s enough nicotine in the world to take away my cravings. But I still
puffed away and my last cigarette and I cried.
I cried for exactly 3 minutes.
Thats when I remembered I wasn’t supposed to cry. It makes me too similar to her. So I stood up instead.
I stood up and bought another pack..
another 20 reasons as to why I can’t quit.
But i’d never admit that.

I don’t remember going inside, but I think I did at some point.
I checked my phone to see if maybe I had missed a call from you.
Maybe you told me where you went and I didn’t know.
you didn’t though.
So I threw my phone away and counted the number of times my lungs made my stomach move.

I wish you would speak to me.
But I guess I’ve learned by now that I can’t always get what I wish for.

On Reflecting.

A couple of years ago, I compiled a lot of my poems into one little notebook. I put it on the shelf and forgot about it. I’ve had writers block now for well over 2 years (with the exception of a poem here and there) and I just found said notebook. I read a couple poems from 2014 and 2013 and didn’t realize how much shit I push down on a daily basis. I never remind myself why i have such severe anxiety and that it’s okay to take life slow sometimes. I’m still healing. I forget that a lot. My scar tissue is still raw and if hiding out in my apartment for a few days is what I need, then so be it. The world is a dangerous place and no one should be able to make me feel guilty for living how I need to live – even if that means going off the grid for days at a time. any way, here’s a poem from February 2014. It doesn’t have a name.

 

 

I made the mature decision to finally let you go.
I know that I’ll stop shivering once I get use to this cold.
The wind blows silently rattling all my bones,
and my heart has frozen over from the constant winter storm.
So where did you go?
Seems you found comfort in the snow,
building igloos here and there
sharing with strangers to fill the holes.

My dear, you were never on your own
Until you pushed my far away
and claimed this house no longer home.

I know. Life gets hard.
and this time in your life feels like you’ll never get too far.
Building castles in the sand will not stand
and will leave you with too many scars.
I wish you had listened before you had taken this too far.

And now..I’m the one who’s wrong.
I’m the one who won’t forgive
and who’s keeping us apart,
I just don’t trust who you are,
or rather who you pretend to be
I don’t understand what went wrong
or what made you want to leave.
But I’m doing this for me.
I’ve drained myself trying to protect you from
your own insanity.
I just hope you can understand that I wish I could believe.
But eggshells hurt my feet
and the rope has burnt my hands,
and my legs are shaking violently as I try to take the stand.

I guess this is the end
Blood is forever, but you watered it down
So my wounds won’t seem to mend.
Just know I’ll miss you being my best friend.
I’ll miss talking into late night.
I’ll miss encouraging words, and talks of God, and being your ally.
I hope your igloo keeps you alright.
Keep the fire burning bright.
And when times get rough remember when
we were on each others side.