February, Loss, Memories, Parenting, Uncategorized

My recurring Groundhog Day

Eighteen years ago, my hellish week was coming to its sad, inevitable end. unfortunately, it happened to be on a date that recurs every year, like clockwork.

The week started at my doctor’s appointment to be put on antidepressants. Being a military wife, the only thing that was holding up my prescription was a urinalysis, just to double-check that I wasn’t pregnant. We’d been careful, when we even had the time and energy to get frisky, which wasn’t often. I thought it was a waste of a cup.

I left that appointment with yet another appointment for an orientation back at the naval hospital, news for my husband, and no prescription for antidepressants. I went in and told him that I’d passed my whiz quiz, or something along those lines, trying to make it easier to break the news. I ended up having to explain that the doctor wanted to verify that I wasn’t pregnant, and it turned out I was. Connor was a little less than two months shy of his first birthday; Dacey was a little better than six months away from her third birthday. My estimated due date was September 10, 1999, six days before my twenty-fourth birthday.

Mike’s grandfather got sick around that time, and he put in for emergency leave to go back to Alabama, as the prognosis was not good. He opted not to go to orientation with me at the hospital, afraid that it would impact his chances of getting his leave granted. I went to that appointment, one of the only wives there without her husband. It was hospital and OB protocols first, then labs, then they would schedule our first appointment.

I went into a stall to give them another sample. I left that stall in tears and shaking, clinging to the capped cup as I found one of the nurses and told her about the pink and brown with a bit of red that I had seen moments before. I got to see a doctor that day. He put me on bed rest and said that it was a waiting game. At this stage, it was a 50-50 chance that I was going to lose the baby. The baby that a couple of days prior, I wasn’t even sure I wanted. They drew blood, and wanted me back in a couple of days.

I went home and told Mike. He didn’t tell command, who would have given him a few days off work so I could truly do bed rest. Instead, I told my neighbor, who checked in on me, changed diapers, and made fast food runs so I could rest. Despite having a two-year old and a newborn. Mike came home from the shop that evening and said that he needed to load up the car, as his leave had been approved. I still had my upcoming doctor’s appointment and bed rest, so I gave him the option of taking Dacey and Connor and going to Alabama without me. They were gone within the hour.

Jenn, my neighbor, got me to my doctor’s appointment. I had an ultrasound, and I saw my baby. I also saw that it had a double-digit heart rate; not something that you want to see with a pregnancy. My HcG also was not doubling. The doctor told me it was a waiting game, but the miscarriage was inevitable. I was given a ton of things to be on the look out for, what to do in various situations, and had a follow-up in a week.

Jenn  was great over the next day or two. I slept all day, and then went over to her house when her husband left. Jenn told me I was really pale when I first got there. I say on the couch with her older son and looked at books with him, until I got a phone call over there from Mike, all the way in Alabama. He needed me to call Tricare, as Connor had managed to try to grab a pilot light on one of the heating units and had burned a finger. So, I made the call, returned his, and ran to the bathroom.

The pregnancy was irrevocably over after that little trip. Per the doctor’s instructions, I fished what had passed out of the bowl, called out for a baggy, and cried. Jenn once again got me a ride, this time to the ER, because I was bleeding more than I should have been. I went, carrying my would-have-been baby in a sandwich bag in a plain paper bag.

Amazingly, I was called back rather quickly. Being that it was a military hospital, the doc sorely lacked a very good bedside manner for someone in my shoes. He confirmed that I had lost the baby, and told me what to look out for. Twelve hours later, I was back at the ER, bleeding like a stuck pig.

The doctor I got that trip had a better bedside manner, but he still scared the mess out of me as I put my legs into the stirrups and said to the nurse “She needs help, now”. The rest of that visit was a blur. I just know I left with a prescription that had to be taken every four hours, like clockwork, to get the bleeding to stop. Once again, Jenn to the rescue. She got me into my place, let herself out with my keys, and came back every 4 hours, waking me up with a pill and a glass of water. She also got my mom’s number off my TracPhone and called her. I woke up for the day to Jenn giving me my meds and telling me that my mom was on her way.

Mom came down, and took me to my last OB appointment at the naval hospital. It was confirmed by ultrasound, the baby and all were gone, and the bleeding had finally subsided. I left with a prescription for Iron. Mom took me up to Raleigh and put me on a plane to fly down to my family.

That was as long as you were physically around. I still wonder about you. I still think “what if” because the loss of you set so many wheels in motion. By the end of 1999, your dad and I had separated (he “meet someone” on Yahoo Chat while he was in Alabama and I was bleeding alone in North Carolina). I moved to Durham, to live with your grandma, brother, and sister. Your dad went absent without leave in order to be with the chick from online. I was broken inside, and I stayed that way for a long time.

If you were here, no matter what, you’d be getting ready to turn 18, my guess about a week and a half before I turn 43. I think that you would have been a girl. I’m going to go curl up with your sick little sister, and maybe I will dream of what you could have been.

 

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Memories, Texas State Fair

Finally… a recap of the State Fair of Texas

So, nearly a week ago, after nearly ten years living in Texas, I finally went to the fair. Nicole took the littles and I. Connor declined, and later regretted it, as Pokemon stuffed critters were in 90% of the game booths on the fairway. I convinced Nicole to do the park and ride, so we hopped the train and off we went. Ryli went last year with her class at school, but we decided that it didn’t count; it was during school hours, so no fair food and no rides. Landry was the other rookie in attendance.

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Once we got into the fair, we chose to just dig out a Sharpie and write our cell phone numbers on the kids’ arms, just in case, rather than hunt down the tent to get the bracelets. The kids posed for pictures as a farmer and a cow, then switched roles, and then we were off to the first hall, filled with Jeeps and just what any Transformers six-year-old wants to see, a Camaro. I may have told Landry that Bumblebee switched colors so he couldn’t be identified.

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There was another reason for heading through the hall, and that was a cooler walk from the gate to the food and the fairway games and rides. We also got to see this big guy when we emerged:

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Like most kids, Ryli and Landry are simultaneously scared by and fascinated with Big Tex. I just think, like Rick Astley from the 1980’s, the voice doesn’t match the body.

Nicole explained to the kids which fairway games were best to play, and which ones were a waste of money. She’s still working at Six Flags, so they paid attention and didn’t complain too much. Nicole and I played the fishing game with them, then we had our age and weight guessed respectively. The carney was way off on both, and the kids picked our prizes.

Miss Adrenaline picked the first ride. Landry and I sat it out. Then Nicole took them through the fun house and I sat that one out because of the questionable lay of the land. As we weaved towards the Texas Star, the kiddos went on the little tractor ride. I think Ryli went just to make Landry happy, because she wasn’t really into it. Then, we bumped into one of Ryli’s classmates in line to the haunted house ride.

The fun part was after the haunted house ride… Texas Star. Half of us are afraid of heights to some extent, but like that was going to stop us!

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We were in the first group of cars to get filled; last of the set of four. The wheel turns enough to get the four occupied cars emptied and refilled, then it repeats. Then, there’s a whole revolution, and then you’re done. Ryli looked so bored because the first she knew what was going to happen, as the adrenaline junkie in her screams “Too slow!!” Landry was questioning things in a manner that almost made me feel like he somehow heard about a few years back when there was a malfunction and people got stuck. He also was concerned that I would drop my phone. It was over way too soon. The view was awesome!

From Texas Star, Nicole and the kiddos grabbed sodas and I got a Diet Dew out of my backpack, then we walked across the walkway to the Aquarium. We got to pet stingrays and chocolate chip starfish, not to mention a few anemones. I washed up and went to look at a tank of seahorses, and Landry I knew was close behind. Right away, I saw that a pair of them were having a private moment, center stage in the tank. I hoped in vain that Landry wouldn’t notice. I had no such luck. Within an instant, Landry was pointing, very loudly saying that the seahorses were in love with each other and (even louder) that they were making babies. Good times.

After the aquarium, we slowly meandered back to the main gate. we snacked on fair fare on the way, and got rid of the last of our games card. Then the kids got their prizes that they’d seen on the way in (Bulbasaur for Lan, a squishy peach thing for Ry). We cashed the leftover coupons in on salt water taffy, and headed for home.

Plans have already been started for next year. The only major shake-up will be that we’ll have to go on the middle school fair day, as Dacey will be getting married on the elementary school fair day. That, and we are starting to save money now. Next year, we will go on more rides and eat a lot more food!

And here’s the trip home, with the kids’ answers to the question “Did you have fun?”

 

Challenges, Loss, Memories, Parenting

Eighteen years ago today…

Was the only time I laid eyes on you. I had to take you with me to the naval hospital per doctor’s orders, so I hung onto you until I turned you over to a faceless nurse. Loosing you was hard, and at that point, I had no way of knowing just how much the repercussions would affect your older siblings, your father, or myself.

Within the week, your father would meet the woman he would eventually abandon Dacey, Connor, and I for, in a Yahoo chat room. Within six weeks, he and I separated. By summer, he left us and the Marines to be with her and her kids in Canada.

I think loosing you caused more chaos than even my stroke at 19 did. Loosing you set off a long, slow-moving domino effect that I can finally say I’m finally finishing up the clean up from. You never took a breath on this earth, but you impacted us all. You weren’t planned, just like all the events that came after you left were.

I’ve forgiven your father. He talks to Connor, who relays message between us. He’s Facebook friends with Dacey, too.

I only carried you for about two months physically, but I still wonder what you might have been. What could have been, if you only had stayed. I love you, little one, even now.

Domestic Violence, Health, Memories

This is hard…

I have started and stopped this post more times than I care to count. It isn’t an easy tale to relate. I am still plagued by feeling foolish that I stuck it out as long as I did. Hell, there are other times, when I hear other people’s stories (I say people because it does happen to men as well, as I have gotten to know a few since going to shelter) that I actually find myself grateful because it seriously could have been worse.

I am going to start this with what finally made me see the proverbial light, and then jump back and start way back in May of 2008 when everything first started between X and I. I’m not crazy enough to think that I’ll be able to churn it all out at once. This post is going to be broken into at least two posts, if not more. I’m sorry, but it just has to be. Eight plus years is an awfully long time to rehash. It needs to be done, though. If it helps so much as one person, it will be worth it.

June 17, was the official beginning of the end. I’d finally had enough of all of X’s bullshit to calmly ask him to leave. He argued with me between chugs of beer, but all that did was steel my resolve. I was willing to just let things stay between us. I watched the odds of that dwindle away with every hurled insult, name that I was called, the beer he poured over my head, and all the loogies that he spat into my hair and face. Those came before the pushing, shoving, slapping, and eventual pinning me to the wall, with his hand clamped over my mouth as I screamed for help. All of this in front of Ryli and Landry, who just screamed and screamed, but he didn’t (or wouldn’t) hear. By the time he realized that Landry, a mere three days past his fifth birthday, had slipped out behind him, he was covering my mouth and my nose.

Landry ran to my best friend’s house, where Connor was hanging out for the night. Landry just looked at his big brother and said “Call 911. My daddy hit Mommy and is being mean to her.”

Connor didn’t hesitate. By the time X got out the door to beg Connor not to call the police, the call had already been placed. X cleared out of there as fast as he could stagger. The police arrived, and I made my first report for this round.

June 29, I finally went and met with the detective assigned to the case. I also sent X the last scrap of communication I was ever going to share with him, telling him to leave me alone, stop contacting me, and we were going to resume following every letter of every court order we had, namely the protective order and the custody order. Over the course of the next several weeks, I received seven e-mails, over four hundred text messages, and at least fifty voice mails. All went unanswered, whether they were apologetic or accusatory. I made several calls for violation of the protective order.

I went to the District Attorney’s office to find out about applying for a new protective order and was informed that I’d need to come back in the first business day after the current one expired. The protective order was to expire on a Friday. The next business day was the first day of school. The woman that I spoke with said that I could always go to Family Court, so I did.

On August 18, a friend drove me to the family court building and I went and filed for and got an Ex Parte (temporary) restraining order until the hearing date on August 25. By the afternoon, I was getting voice mails that he knew I’d applied for a new protective order; he was just waiting to be served. What he didn’t know was that I had informed the constable of the warrants that were out for him for what happened June 17 and pretty much every day since. He was booked into jail before noon on the 17th. 

August 25 found me, representing me, in court for the two-year protective order. I got it, and I didn’t even have to see him. Things calmed down for a bit after that. I’ll write out the rest of it tomorrow, at least up to the present. Then I’ll take you to how all of this came to be.

Health, Memories

Twenty-one year anniversary

Twenty one years since my life took a rather unexpected detour. A day filled with aimless long drives from point A to point B when that day would be the last day where I had the ability to zip down the highway in that cute little cracker box of a 5-speed  Chevy Sprint. Running errands for everyone… voluntarily. When I was uncharacteristically spacey and then topped it all off with asking my parents if my 19 year old self could sleep on the floor in their room; an old habit from rough times in my childhood.

I went to take a bath. As the tub filled with hot water, I thumbed through an issue of Rolling Stone with some gorgeous grunge rocker on the cover. My feet were propped up on the still running faucet as the tub filled up.

I almost had the water level where I wanted for a nice, long soak. As I started reading an article, my right hand and leg simultaneously dropped like stones. I tried to put them back in their rightful places, but they wouldn’t budge.

I started to panic at that point. I tried to yell for my mom, but no sound came from my moving lips, so I tried again with no result. I turned the faucet off with my foot and tried to get myself out of the tub. Luckily, I made enough noise that my mom came to investigate.

She popped the lock and went into RN mode. She hollered at my brother to help get me out of the tub, and yelled for my dad to call 911, saying that I was having a stroke.

From there it was a blur. But now, it’s that time of year when as much time has passed, the magnitude of it all gets to me. Every time I take a bath, I feel as if it’s an act of defiance instead of something social preferred to do. I can’t help but be taken back in time to that night when everything changed.

I get pretty down in February. I’m still mourning the loss of a fully functioning body, even after all these years. If the stroke were a baby, I’d be able to legally drink with it. I have lived longer with the after effects of the stroke than I lived as a fully functioning human being.

Oddly enough, I bounce back every year. I remember everything I have to be thankful for. When I had the stroke, and in the days, weeks, and months that rolled in behind it, I never thought that I’d have kids or drive or any of the things I took for granted that they would come along.

So, tonight, I’ll go to bed and cuddle with the kiddos and just be glad those twenty one years later, I’m still here.