Blast From the Past

A few weeks back my blogging pal CJ (Hi CJ!) posted about her youngest daughter’s birth, describing the trials and tribulations of her pregnancy.  Not for the faint of heart but well worth reading.  Ultimately there was a happy ending!

CJ’s post reminded me of my youngest daughter’s arrival on the planet and inspired me to share.  So blame CJ if you don’t like this post.  Kidding!  I take full responsibility (she says with her fingers crossed behind her back).

A long time ago (oh alright, 1984 wasn’t all that long ago), in a galaxy far, far away…um…in…uh…California…I discovered I was with child.  Since this was my third pregnancy this shouldn’t have been a big deal, right?  Ha!  Stay tuned.

By 1983, my first husband and I had three daughters:  his daughter from his first marriage and the two we’d had together.  Because we struggled financially even with both of us working, we decided it would be wise to stop at three.  So in early December of that year I had a laparoscopic procedure known as a tubal ligation.  Briefly, the surgeon seals the fallopian tubes to keep the eggs from being fertilized.  If you want more information, you’ll find a LOT more at the link. 

The procedure itself wasn’t a big deal except for the gas and the general anesthesia.  (If you were here when I was preparing for my knee surgery you know GA and I don’t get along!)  As for the gas – I do not recommend it.  Since they go in via tiny incisions they have to pump in gas to elevate the organs which hide the tubes.  Unfortunately, the gas doesn’t dissipate quickly.  It lingers.  Painfully

There were multiple pre-surgery meetings with the doctor to discuss what we were doing.  They wanted me to be absolutely certain I had made the right decision.  One of the questions I was asked was something along the lines of, “What would you do if you lost one of your children?”  I wanted to channel Homer Simpson:  “Doh!”  So Homer wasn’t around in 1983.  What’s your point?  I’m sure I was going to want to run right out and get pregnant to replace that child!  Puhleeze.  But I guess they had to be extremely careful in covering their hindquarters.  The surgery is considered permanent after all; or it was in 1983 anyway.  Googling “reversing a tubal ligation” these days results in 30,000-ish hits! 

So…back to the surgery.  When I checked in and they had called me back, they did a pregnancy test.  General anesthesia can damage a baby or abort the pregnancy.  With a negative result in hand, we proceeded.  Like I said earlier, the surgery itself was a piece of cake; heck I slept through the whole thing (see what I did there ;)).  GA kicked my ass in recovery though.  I was so sick I laid there for hours unable to move without getting the dry heaves.  The recovery room filled and emptied several times before I was able to get up and go home.

After recovering for a few days, I was back to work and life went on.  I ended up really sick in January; some kind of bug that required antibiotics and all kinds of cold medicine.  Time passed.  The only real problem was that it seemed like everywhere I looked there were pregnant women.  And I lost my mind.  Don’t want to forget that part.

One of the things the doctor gave me to read while I was preparing for the surgery mentioned that a percentage of women regretted their decision afterward.  There were documented cases of unhappy women who believed they were pregnant, even to the point they gained weight and claimed to feel baby movement.

When I began to feel the butterfly tickles I knew I was going crazy.  And hell, I’m the first one to stick my head in the sand so I ignored it.  But it didn’t stop.  I hadn’t thought I regretted my decision; it had been so freeing to take control that way.  So why was my imagination going wild?

Then it occurred to me that my Aunt Flo had not visited recently.  Mentally, I counted back trying to remember when I’d last had a visit.  And I pulled out the calendar because that just couldn’t be right!  When Auntie didn’t visit in December, I attributed it to the trauma of the surgery and recovery, not unusual.  In January I was so ill I just assumed the illness and medication were messing with my cycle.  Ditto for February, you know, the lingering after effects of the illness and medication – any excuse to obscure the obvious.  By March I was so enjoying not having Auntie visit, I just plain forgot.  No really!  What woman actually enjoys that time of the month?  I didn’t miss it!

With my brain completely scrambled, I finally told my husband what was going on and I had him try to feel what I was feeling.  With his hand pressed to my belly, he looked up at me and grinned as the butterfly tickled again.  I was so relieved!  I wasn’t going nuts!  To be certain, I used a home pregnancy test with positive results. 

We presumed the tubal ligation had been unsuccessful.  How else could I be pregnant?  But at our first OB appointment when we tried to figure out how far along I was, it seemed that based on the baby’s size I was somewhere between five and six months.  Counting back that put conception right around the time of the surgery.  But they’d done a pregnancy test then!  Turns out, in the very early stages of a pregnancy, false negatives are common.  Go figure.  (I’d heard that but who in their right mind thinks they’re going to be a statistic?)

So there I am, almost six months pregnant having had no prenatal care to that point.  Not to mention that I’d been on heavy meds in the first trimester.  The doctor didn’t say it outright but it was implied that the baby could have problems.  That is, if I didn’t miscarry down the line.  At first I was terrified and felt so guilty.  I should have known!  How can a mother not know she’s pregnant? 

Eventually, knowing the fear and worry wouldn’t change whatever was going to happen, I made peace with myself, and I trusted God to care for my unborn child.  Twenty-nine years ago today I delivered my beautiful daughter K, who had all her toes and fingers, and was as healthy as could be.  Hallelujah! 

Happy Birthday my lovely!  You totally rock!

 

Fare thee well

I survived the trifecta of family time!  (For those of you who missed the earlier post, we had family obligations three weekends running, the third or which ended Sunday.)  Phew!

Family drama aside, I got some sad news today.  Well, not “death of a loved one” sad.  Or “world tragedy” sad.  But sad all the same.

The news itself arrived yesterday by office email and unfortunately the meeting today confirmed there’s nothing to be done.

The firm, in its questionable wisdom, has decided to do away with local word processing staff.  All “document services” tasks will now be centralized in an east coast office.  Effective Monday we will no longer be able to walk down the hall and chat with the wonderful people who save our collective butts regularly.  😦

Of course it wasn’t just our office; others with their own local WP people will lose them too.  But ours were the best, damn it!  And they were our friends.

In an effort to channel some of the frustration and anger this announcement raised, I started a reply to the Office Administrator, who sent the email.  Then I got a brainstorm and emailed all the secretaries in our office and asked whether they wanted to add to the email.  In the end, the email was about two pages long and included excellent comments from several secretaries.  I knew others had already called and spoken to or left messages for the OA as well.

While I was still compiling the emailed comments into a reply, the OA sent another email inviting all the secretaries to join her and the managing partner for a meeting today to discuss the change.

Today’s meeting was instructive, helpful and ultimately disappointing.  This is how it will be.  MP stated if he could change it, he would.  But since he can’t, we all need to figure out how to make the new system work for us.

There was much back and forth among the participants; a lot of grousing; some positive feedback too.  In my opinion, the worst part of the meeting was the secretary in the row in front of me who kept interrupting and/or talking over other people!  I came away from the meeting feeling not necessarily better about it, but resigned – this is how it’s going to be.  As I explained in a subsequent email, they’d given me something to think about, and while I’m still unhappy about losing friends, I will try to adopt a positive attitude toward the change (which is not at all in my character!).

It should be interesting to see how this develops.

My daughter…

… is a better person than I am.  And the migraine I suffered with yesterday was probably my payback.  Sigh.

Sunday was the family birthday party for our youngest granddaughter who turns 1 tomorrow.  Of course The Ex would be there; I knew that.  It wasn’t that difficult to deal.  I just kept my distance from her and visited with other guests.

The woman is in bad shape so there’s a voice in my head telling me to cut her some slack.  The Ex has some sort of brain seizure condition and has had for at least five years.  As far as I know the doctors weren’t able to find a reason.  When we first heard about this there was some chatter about her having fallen from a horse and hitting her head.  That seems logical right?  But I don’t know whether the doctors were able to confirm it as the cause.  We hear tidbits now and then but we’ve never been interested enough to ask for more information.

On the other hand, another voice in my head tells me to bitch slap her.  Especially after what I saw Sunday.  😦

The birthday girl was sitting in Mommy’s lap, “opening gifts” with Mommy’s and Big Brother’s help.  One of the guests, who is a regular in the kids’ new home, brought his daughter A.  She looks about eight or maybe nine years old and she and Big Brother play together whenever she visits.  At first, A was sitting on the floor beside my daughter K who was taking photos as the baby’s gifts were opened and held up.  The Ex was seated on the steps up to the dining area collecting the used wrapping paper, etc.

Over a few minutes, A made her way in front of K and over beside where Big Brother was helping unwrap gifts.  This was nearer to where The Ex was sitting.  I’m not sure what exactly happened next to trigger The Ex’s response.  Maybe A and Big Brother were disagreeing over how to rip tissue paper out of a gift bag – as kids will.  Maybe A was just too close to the action.  Let me stress, I have no idea.  But The Ex’s response was OVER. THE. TOP.

She told A to go sit on the other steps (the ones at the other end of the living room, leading to the foyer and guest bathroom).  The girl’s face dropped.  But she got up.  I think she misunderstood which stairs because she went up the two steps to the foyer, crossed it and sat on the bottom of the stairway to the second floor.  I felt so awful for her.  She had to feel hurt and embarassed.  Not to mention now she was so far away she couldn’t see anything.

Later, when the cake was being served Birthday Girl’s mom looked around for her and asked if anyone knew where A was.  Her husband said that her dad was with her in the den having a “parenting moment.”  BG’s mom jumped to the conclusion that A was in trouble.  I knew better.  And when A did come out to the table to have cake I could see I was right.  It was obvious she’d been crying.  No, not crying.  Weeping!  Sobbing her heart out.  I wanted to take a hunk of birthday cake and smash it into The Ex’s face!

When we were making our exit later I didn’t acknowledge The Ex (I usually do if only to be polite).  But when I poked my head back in to check on our daughter K’s progress to the door, she was standing with The Ex and speaking with her – like a real person!  You know, smiling and nodding like she was interested in what she had to say, not just good manners.

So…my daughter is a better person than I am.  But then, don’t we hope to raise our kids to be better than ourselves?  I think this counts as a win!  Right?

Right?

Days 2 through 4

Day one kicked my ass, so Days two through four were spent recuperating.  I guess the personal trainer at the Y was a little optimistic and so was I.  I’d have gone back today but I had to bring a birthday cake in to the office.  A cake that requires refrigeration.  With all of the Y’s amenities you’d think they’d offer a fridge, but no.  So I’ll get back on the horse come Monday.

Probably.

Have a fabulous weekend peeps!

Sending good baby birthing vibes to Guam!!