Praise the bridge that carried you over. ~George Colman
2 nights ago, I knelt over my 17 month old daughter Emma’s chair as I tied her down and cried. Cried for the fear that I feel about her future, cried for the frustration I feel that she can’t just go down to sleep like normal babies, cried for the overwhelming helplessness that occasionally creeps over me. I am naturally inclined to be optimistic, lemons from lemonade, every cloud has a silver lining person…but sometimes, all the things that are happening day in and day out catch up and get the best of me.
How it must sound that I “tie my daughter down” and duh, I thought this was supposed to be a blog about happiness and being grateful, and it is, but I firmly believe that to know true gratitude one must know true hardship or sadness. I suppose I should give some context here. My two greatest blessings and gifts in life are my twin babies, E and Q. They are remarkbable 17 month old twins who were born at 28 weeks 4 days, 11.5 weeks too soon by all accounts. My husband and partner in this journey and I worked for 2 years to have them, and it was not something that came easy mentally, emotionally or physically. For an extremely Type A, decisive and occasionally annoyingly stubborn (just ask my husband KSP, sorry babe:)) person, this was an extremely difficult time on its own. Intimacy went out the window, as it does when you “decide” to have a baby (ha! like that’s actually something you can control), and you become obsessed with your cycle and the various theories (read thousands of online, literary, and friend “experts”) on fertility on timing and all the things you definitely should/definitely should not do to get pregnant. Every month I was sure I was pregnant, afterall I had stopped drinking caffeine, cut back on wine (most of the time, talk about head games), ate better, went to acupuncture, tried to destress, get more sleep, “relax”, went on vacation (just go on vacation and relax, it will definitely happen then…ugh, not) 10 times!, and of course the many horrifyingly embarrassing positions that you can only talk about with other people who have tried or are trying to get pregnant. Needless to say, that even with all these changes and modern science helping me in the form of doctors visits and ultrasounds, test to rule out obstructions, etc. I still wasn’t getting pregnant. Sadly, none of this was terribly surprising, you see I had been on the for 16 years and off and on for about 6 months before we started “not not trying”, (this is a term that couples now use when describing that they are no longer using protection and means they want it and are ready if it happens, it can also translate into I am starting to become mildly crazy about having a baby) Basically, it makes Type A people like me feel like w are being casual and not Type A.
Additionally, as I was 33 at the time, I knew there might be some concerns about my age, but beyond that, I had had a ruptured appendix 4 years before. I had walked around for 5 days with a ruptured appendix (yes, another reason to be grateful since the surgeon Dr. B, who saw me when I finally went to the ER and waited for 6 hours before the nurses stopped discounting my pain as “just gas”, said, wow, you are lucky to be alive young lady, most people would be dead by now, we are going to operate RIGHT NOW”. It turns out I had a massive infection brewing around my ovaries, but that my organs had collapsed to contain it and it hadn’t spread into my bloodstream but my concern tuned to my ovaries. Would that impact my ability to get pregnant in the future? Dr. B said that he didn’t think so, but I could never shake the nagging feeling that something might be off. Also, because, I have been a person that despite some challenging experiences growing up I have been naturally gifted. I work hard, but know that in some ways I have always had a guardian angel and faith that I was being presented the right opportunities at the right time. However, I also always knew in my heart that this would be something that would challenge me and not come easily.
Unfortunately, I was right and fortunately I was right. More on that later….
Faith, gratitude and love, these elements have been my bridge, and tonight when I put Q down and gave him his teddy from Poppy and tied E into her chair, I felt a surge of love for these blessings and that I have received for putting me exactly where I am supposed to be even when it hurts. I have the capacity and strength to do this for them and for my family.
2 thoughts on “Bridging the gap between pain and being grateful”
Wow, Shannon. Your posts always make me say that. You have incredible strength, faith, and you’re an inspiration.
Thanks so much Nina. Your kind words always mean so much to me.