Incredibly Blessed

Here we are, almost 2 weeks after my interview…the one I didn’t think I’d get…and well, I got the job. And I’m done at the grocery store. Wow. I never thought the end would come; I thought they had me wrung in there for life with all the unfulfilled promises, etc. I’ll never know what it means to travel up and down California from LA to Hollywood through Orange County to train and spearhead a whole new product line… and I couldn’t care less.

It’s a beautiful thing to finally let go of career and know I want this little family more. My achievements may someday matter again, but probably not until my little ones are grown up enough to be more independent. Such an odd thought. I never thought I’d be a mother let alone be able to let go of ambition. That’s just it, though, even though I let go of a promise of a hotshot job and instead picked the steady, predictable life at a desk, I know I’ll have plenty of areas to shine- in my new career and in my art on my website. I’ve still yet to get even the tip of the iceberg up online. The world hasn’t seen my portfolio and hasn’t even seen what I can do when I apply myself. I’m afraid of it because a lot of my art is barely refined- the criticism could come crashing in…and when it comes to my art, I am completely vulnerable to it. But, I have the confidence from several instructors over the years chiming in my head that my art is beautiful and powerful and dripping with talent. I’m terrified. It will indeed be a life-long project getting it out there, but I also know that’s what’s held me back on finishing any tattoo design I’ve been asked to do. That lingering question- what if they don’t really like it?

It’s odd feeling that way about one subject when I’m confident in all other areas. I’ve been successful at everything I’ve put my mind to- except singing and horseback riding, lol. Oh, and swimming. I’m really not good at any of those, but at least I know how to blend in a choir and enjoy singing so much that it really doesn’t matter how off key I am when I’m happy…besides there’s hardly ever anyone around when that happens.

I don’t know, I’m just finding this whole process of needing to rearrange my whole life due to my new, unique health needs and this new baby extremely freeing. If I didn’t get sick, I would still be working at Paymode in snowy Maine. I can’t imagine still being a prisoner to SAD now that I’ve tasted what it’s like to be free. I can’t imagine anything else talking me into the necessity to live 2000 miles away from my friends and family except if we were missionaries. And I don’t at all feel ready to serve people the way missionaries do although I know it is a dream Jake and I shared at the beginning of our marriage.

For me, that’s a really tricky area still. I grew up thinking I was going to be a missionary, so I always assumed I’d live really far away from anyone and with that in mind I hardly built relationships with anyone. I wish I had, but it was nice waking up to that deficit after college and being able to rebuild. The friends I made after college are still around. My love for God isn’t the same, though.

It’s tricky. I’ve waned in and out of love with God for so long, but this is the longest spell I’ve gone through where I just feel nothing when it comes to Christianity. Well, not really nothing, just complex emotions of all the things that Christians do wrong. That’s never hung me up before because I used to believe that was all just up to the individual to be right before God- between them and God, you know? But now, I find it a much bigger offense. Why would someone, who still loves God and claims to love people, shake a sign of a chopped up, bloody baby in front of any woman entering a building where an abortion clinic is a tenant? Christians like that called me plenty of names and did such things not knowing I worked at a different company in that same building and had nothing to do with the clinic’s offenses towards their beliefs. At 16 I remember a friend of mine and I talking about protesting outside a clinic…I’m so glad we never did.

I was going through blighted ovum at 9 weeks gestation with my third pregnancy when that happened. Assholes.

So it’s safe to say that I’m trying to understand God and accept Him back as a daily part of my life again, but I can’t stop being angry with Him. I try not to let my anger with Him seep into my interactions with other people, especially my husband. And it’s getting better with time. By the time I miscarried our 4th baby I was already kinda numb. No living children yet at 31, been trying since 27. I somehow suspected I’d have fertility problems given half of the women’s medical history in my family, but it’s a totally other thing altogether while going through it. Each loss impacts you differently, you know? Especially since the last one was my fault. I opted to have a radiology procedure during that 2-week window where it was too early to test for pregnancy. I shouldn’t have. I should have waited.

The others, we’ll simply never know since all tests came back normal.

But now, I’m 10 weeks pregnant today. The baby’s heartbeat is strong. We never got to hear our other babies’ heartbeats. We already crossed an incredible threshold we’ve never been through together 3 weeks ago- our baby is alive and growing!

Joy, anticipation, nerves… I have all of it, all the time. And while my complicated body fights through the need for double antibiotics and modified bed rest for the subchorionic hematoma, fibromyalgia and scoliosis pain.. pregnancy is difficult for me. However, this kid is already beating the odds and growing stronger. I think s/he gets it from their father, who still hardly misses Cross Fit classes and has been doing dishes, killing bugs in our apartment, taking care of the trash and cat box and bathroom, doing the grocery shopping… everything, even the laundry.

And he brought home Oreos and orange juice for me today and showered with me to make sure I wouldn’t slip and fall. There are flowers from a few days ago drying in the vase. I can’t believe the love of this man! I thank God for him every day. This man may be the key to softening my heart against all the anger I have about our infertility. I’m sure someday I’ll see or even say it was worth the journey, maybe in a cliche moment when I’m holding our new son or daughter, but it’s a challenge to see that right now. But I do thank God for my husband and that He would bless me with such an unselfish, loving man. I hope our baby continues to grow stronger, but for now, I’m going to relish the joy, anticipation, nerves..all while trying to keep from keeling over or losing those Oreos.

Moments

I’m 7 weeks, 6 days pregnant today. It’s already been quite eventful. When I first found out, I excitedly told everyone at work. Then the nausea hit hardcore, but in the most odd way possible- it left me extremely dizzy and suddenly fatigued. Then the cramping would start and some light bleeding.

My ob-gyn told me to lie low for a while, take it easy, and asked me to stay at home for a week from work. It was almost Christmas and since work was, well, complicated, with these new symptoms that came with a backpack full of new emotions that would emerge at any moment (I cried when I came back from a lunch I couldn’t eat and someone asked if I was ok). I was relieved to the core when I was given medical reason to relax during what was possibly the most stressful week of my career with a promotion around the corner and corporate coming in that very afternoon to look at my department’s work. I lasted to just the end of my shift that day before going to see my doctor. And when corporate had come, they passed through our department like it wasn’t there, but don’t get me wrong, I was severely relieved because no news is good news in this business. I heard, right before leaving at the end of my shift, that we got solid A’s for the entire day.

Pushing myself that hard that day cost me a lot. It nearly cost me the life of our child. I had a emotional conversation with my supervisor about it- what was I going to choose? Putting 110% in for this promotion or putting 110% into having a family. I’m so very thankful I saw my ob-gyn quickly after that conversation and that I listened to her advice- take it easy!

I’ve gone through a couple of really interesting careers since graduating college with an English Lit degree. God, I don’t think I could name more than ten authors with their published titles right now and we are still paying a pretty penny for that degree! Every career I’ve had I’ve cared an awful lot about while I was there. I tend to always put 110% into everything, something my parents pushed me hard on as they would lecture quite passionately each time I’d come home with a B+ instead of an A- (94 vs. 95 at my high school). I would feel their disappointment and would chastise myself for getting comfortable. Achievement hurts. It takes away your social life and the joy of learning, or at least that’s how I felt 90% of the time. That other 10% thoroughly enjoyed reading and discovering new things. And 100% of the time I enjoyed the beautiful bi-product of a job well done. That’s the high I strive for everyday now- to be able to step back and have a moment of quiet pride in what has been put together. ..AND…this is critical… knowing I did it on my own. And that it is because of my diligence that something stood out above the curve. Perfection isn’t necessary per say. That high is necessary. Because once that high is achieved, very little criticism can take it away.

That’s another thing I learned along the way- criticism sucks. If you’re not putting 110% into something and making it into what you desire it to be, that criticism can suck all the life out of your achievements. This is why I’d get really hard on myself when my parents would lecture me over that one point growing up. It’s because I know somewhere along the way I got comfortable and/or didn’t care about the final product. Somewhere on the journey that semester or quarter I decided to not put in the sweat and tears. That complacency is what made the difference between a perfect straight A report card or not. Thankfully, my school did numerical averages and I graduated with a 97.6 average. That’s an easy 4.0 at any school. And that’s a lot of sweat and tears. If I put in the work and got that 95 and my parents, or anyone for that matter, would ask me how come not a 97 I would rarely feel crushed by those words. I put in the hard work and got rewarded with that high already.

One area it would matter, though, is if I put in that work on a resume or term paper and my mom would notice a comma splice or misspelling somewhere. Yeah, that still gets me. There is always an exception to the rule.

So, I had that week off from work around Christmastime. The bleeding slowed and everything looked so much better that I went back to work the Thursday before New Years. I lasted only 4 hours before the bleeding, cramping, dizziness, and nausea got the best of me again. Another visit with the doctor was set up and another leave of absence given, three weeks now. While dropping off the paperwork at work, my manager tells me my promotion went through and now that I’m out of work, “We’ll see” if it’ll still happen.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Something had to give. I’ve been living this cycle all my life, push push push until my body gives out and I have no choice but to rest. I don’t know how to get just 94’s in something.

This time, however, it has to do with more than just me.

We heard the baby’s little heartbeat at 6 weeks and again at 7 weeks, only 6 days ago. I cried out of joy and disbelief. One thing my body has not proven to be good at is keeping babies alive. We had never reached this milestone before and this is my 5th pregnancy.

So naturally, being out of work I’ve been worried about money. Especially when our new group of friends here asked if we’d like to join them for dinner during restaurant week. The extra $40-120 right now is really hard to come by when our combined student debts and credit cards equal what we pay in rent. Not only that, I’m worried about my ability to do anything. I know I’ve been here several times in our marriage. Since my husband and I married in 2011, I’ve worked maybe only 3 1/2 years out of the 5 (totally guessing). I’ve had a few surgeries and have dealt with a lot. In fact, my health is why we find ourselves on the other side of the country at the turn of our 5th year together. Better weather has meant better health, so perhaps I forgot what it feels like to rely on someone?

The stress is crazy sometimes. I dove into my website turning it into a project hoping it would replace my income. Although I tend to think it’s gorgeous and everything I hoped it to be, it’s only cost money. I’ve lost all heart to try the dozens of work at home ideas I saved to Pinterest. I put in two job applications to carefully selected jobs and called them yesterday after hearing nothing for a few weeks- no calls back. Although I

Mid-sentence, the phone rang. One of those jobs called back and I have an interview tomorrow. Wow. Talk about the least expected…

Moments.

The title of this post is moments. What drove me to write today was the fact that my husband walked over to me this morning just to give me a kiss. The look in his eyes and his smile melted me. All that stress and pressure I put on myself to hold up this tiny household melted. The same thing happened in a totally different way a few days ago. Work was hectic, as it always is, and the sun was shining just perfectly in the crisp afternoon of another 70 degree day. The mountains were pristine in the distance that the traffic lights hardly mattered.

Moments.

Moments make it all worth it. Moments when a little heartbeat thumps on a monitor for the first time. Moments when the love of your life is still in love with you. Moments when the area you live in make all the sacrifices worth while. Moments when one single phone call gives you a surge of hope- instead of wondering if I’ll be able to return to one job that’s physically impossible for me right now, I can return to a new job that makes so much more possible for us right now- all three of us.

Moments.

I choose to live life in the moments.