As many of you have noticed, my last post was January 31st.
Today is April 16th. It's been 2.5 months since I posted. I am officially a terrible, no-good blogger, and if you haven't already dropped me from your subscriptions, it's no doubt only because you forgot ALLLLLLLL about me.
I had a reason to step away.
Hang on, this is going to be a long and bumpy ride. Also, there will be many mentions of throwing up. Turn away if such things bother you.
You see, even back on January 31st, I had a little secret that I was clutching gleefully to my heart.
Behold my January 27th photo of the day:
And with that one little test, the course of our lives would be forever changed.
It had already seemed like a long winter. I was already tired and cranky and blaming it on the evil known as January. I had delayed taking down the Christmas tree until I got some more pep and was upset that--no matter how many vitamins I popped--that pep just wasn't coming. I was bracing for February and wondering if I should talk to a doctor after all. It hadn't occurred to me until my "Auntie Flo" failed to arrive on time that there was a reason for my blahs OTHER than the fact that it was January.
We had a plan for 2010, a grand and glorious plan, and it was already falling off the tracks. The plan involved big dreams for me to launch a small photography business, and January was supposed to be the month where I researched and set up books and a website and all that important BUSINESS stuff. Then, since everyone knows that winter in Canada is a slow season for photographers, I was going to take the time to research and plan the deck we were going to build together this summer and then research and plan our PEI vacation. In the middle of all of THAT, this was the year I was going to get fit and trim! But I was sooooooo tired, and by the end of January I was nowhere near ready to launch anything, my fitness plan was to do more tomorrow, and my research consisted of lots of bookmarks for sites to read LATER. And then Auntie Flo failed to put in an appearance, and I got a sneaky suspicion. A sneaky, wonderful suspicion....
People asked if it was planned, this little surprise of ours, and we had to tell them...yes and no. We had talked about maybe having one more. We had gone back and forth about it. Let's face it, our "baby" is 5 and would be 6 before a baby would be born. It would be like starting all over again. But I deeply wanted another baby. The kids all wanted another baby. And my little boy's birthday wish for a baby brother rang loudly in my heart. I had prayed about it with no answer, and when Hubby quietly put away the birth control, it was a sort of unspoken agreement to let the answer come as a showing rather than a telling.
Planned? Maybe not. Prayed for, hope for, dreamed of?
I was in a happy, happy place. Yes, yes, this was going to DESTROY our grand 2010 plans, but I didn't mind in the least. Yes, yes, this was going to put an incredible strain on our finances, but we would find a way. It was impossible to contain my glee. I was so excited that I couldn't even wait for Hubby to get home. I let the Princess read the stick and then explained what she was looking at and swore her to secrecy--just her and me and Hubby.
SHE was so excited that she told Hubby before I had a chance to.
And then February hit.
You guys know how I feel about February by now. February and I are sworn enemies. And February led with a punch.
On February 1st, my "morning sickness" hit with a vengeance. I had already been nauseated off and on, but had avoided outright sickness (even though I knew it was coming--I have done this 3 other times). It seemed it was saving up. On that Monday I had thrown up FIVE times by the afternoon--when I was counting down the minutes until Hubby called me for the weekly grocery list and finally came home to relieve me and listen to me whine.
But he didn't call.
He didn't call, and he didn't call, and he didn't call.
There was a small war going on between whether I was worried or annoyed. Mostly I swung back and forth between the two. That and the vomiting. (My total for that day came to 8. You totally didn't want to know that, but I needed to say it.)
Finally, shortly after 6 PM, the phone rang.
He led with "I'm at the hospital, but I'm ok."
Conversations that start like that never end well.
It turns out he had fallen on the ice and broken his hand. When he tried to call to tell me what was happening, the cell phone battery chose that exact moment to die. Eventually, knowing I'd be worrying, he borrowed a cell phone from another patient in the ER and called to tell me what had happened. He finally arrived home late that night--splinted, in pain, exhausted and with an appointment to see the plastic surgeon in a couple of days.
We were quite the duo, let me tell you! Him with his broken hand and orders not to use it AT ALL or (once the fancy cast went on) get it wet. Me with increasingly debilitating "morning sickness". At the first major snowfall, the first requiring much shoveling, we stood at the window together in frustration and despair. Now what? He certainly couldn't go out and shovel. I probably could, but I'd be sick through it, and what about the risks? Lucky for us, our neighbour took to coming over with his tractor and plowing us out. He did not know what we were going through, he just started doing it. Seeing him that day was like an answer to a prayer we hadn't even had time to utter. We were so blessed! It seemed we wouldn't be given more than we could endure after all.
February dragged on and on and seemed to get worse and worse. I was throwing up several times every single day and doing everything I could just to survive. I started sleeping on the couch; close to the powder room where I could dash in the middle of the night without waking anyone and equally close to the kitchen, where I could eat at 4 or 5 in the morning as became my habit (mornings were tolerable, nights were excruciating). By the end of the month my days and nights were an endless cycle of eating, vomiting and sleeping. I couldn't read or I would vomit. I could stand about 5-10 minutes on the computer and then I would vomit.
I entertained myself with the Olympics, dreams about this baby growing quietly inside of me, and composing THIS post in my head, to be written when I could actually sit at the computer for any stretch of time without being sick. Maybe by then we could all have a good laugh about it. (I also spent lots of mental energy composing a "surviving morning sickness" post. I may still have to write that one!)
On top of all of that our water started acting up again, just like last year. It was increasingly filthy and cleaning became an issue. Even the kids complained about their muddy showers.
I have to give a big shout out to my kids through this. I was able to get up and get them breakfasts and make their lunches in the mornings, but by suppertime I was completely useless to anyone. Sometimes Hubby or I would manage to throw something in the oven, but a lot of nights it was sandwiches and fruit. They all showed a great ability not only to make their own supper but to help each other out and do so with a minimum of arguing. Even more impressive was their ability to eat and ignore their mom throwing up in the next room...they'd even talk to me while I hurled. They also did a great job of entertaining themselves and often even their sick mom. I would give them each an Olympic medal of Morning Sickness Survival if I could. Besides, hearing almost all of their imaginary play include this toy and that creature throwing up....well, it was kind of funny.
Finally February was over and it was March--and March Break. And how did we celebrate?
Quietly, until Wednesday, when the Boy joined in on Mom's new habit by throwing up all night long, requiring both parents to be involved in clean-up and comfort (one armed Dad and sympathetic barfer Mom---that day? I reached a record 11 major throw ups. Awesome. The Boy, being an amateur, only managed to get sick 5 times.) The next day he was covered in a fine rash. A rush to the ER and he had a diagnosis of Scarlet Fever. Because that is EXACTLY what we needed. And then he had an allergic reaction to his antibiotics.
I'm sure we'll all be remembering THIS March Break for a long time to come.
Still, having survived February and the challenge of March Break, we found March to be better and better each day. I started throwing up less and less (a few times a day became a couple times a day and eventually only once or twice every other day or so), the water started clearing up, Hubby was doing physical therapy for his hand, the kids were mostly healthy...even the weather was co-operating, warming early and giving us a taste of spring.
By April things were good. We had a very quiet and subdued Easter, but the bunny managed to come and a ham dinner even managed to get baked. The weather was a gift, and I started feeling well enough that I thought I could maybe even get this post out soon and get back to blogging and my favourite scrapbooking forum. We had been derailed in a major way as a family. We had survived trial and tribulation and we were FINALLY getting back on track.
And that should have been the end of this post and the beginning of a new journey to a fresh and exciting destination.
Except that on Monday I went in for my 16 week check up. And the Doctor couldn't find our baby's heartbeat. I was sent immediately to the hospital for an ultrasound to figure out what was going on. The Doctor was reassuring: "You've probably mixed up your dates, maybe you're not as far along as we thought."
I wanted to believe her, but I knew I hadn't mixed up anything, and I had been so sick and down that there definitely wasn't any baby making going on in our household beyond early January. My dates were solid.
And my ultrasound...it was silent.
And I was derailed all over again.
I think that's long enough for any one post, and it's draining enough for me for today. I'll give you the rest of the story sometime in the next few days (not weeks or months, I promise). For those of you who don't already know the ending, I'll warn you that it doesn't end happily, and just tell you that this has been the hardest week of our little family's lives so far. I'm going to close comments for now and you can comment when you have the whole story, ok? Thanks for sticking around.