Monday, January 14, 2013

2013. We Love You Already

We got some really, really, REALLY great news exactly one week ago today. It was the news we’ve been hoping for, for the past two years.
M has been recommended for retirement with disability. (Yes -- sadly, in our house, disability is good news - or as good as it gets in M’s situation)
Here’s what this means for M and all of us:

This allows M to leave the fire department for good. If he was denied disablilty, he’d be stuck finishing out AT LEAST 2-3 more years until he was fully vested in his pension/retirement fund. Because it would have been financial suicide to leave before being fully vested. He absolutely hates where he is assigned since he cannot work in the firehouse. So while leaving the fire dept. officially is absolute heartbreak, at the very least he won’t be forced to stay in a job he hates that’s still connected to the job he once loved.

With leaving the fire department comes the option to find something completely new. My hope is that M already has ideas of careers/jobs that will make him happy and fulfill him. In reality, he probably doesn’t. Because of denial. It’s hard to truly face that this chapter of his life is over. Up until the day they declare him retired (just over a week from today), he won’t have a “need” for a new job/career. I haven’t even asked him, though he’s mentioned a few ideas. It’s all so overwhelming and he’ll need time to adjust.

Finances. M’s paycheck is set for his payable life. And it’s a nice paycheck. Large. Essentially, we’ve been granted a sort of financial security for the next couple of decades, at least. So of course we’re grateful for that. It’s going to open a lot of doors for him and us and our future and our family. But don’t be mistaken – we’d give it all up in a heartbeat if it meant M could go back to the firehouse. The best part, I believe, is this affords M the time to really find something he loves to do. He’s been given a luxury most people never get to experience -- most of us are forced to find jobs that will pay the bills, or feel the pressure to get into a career based on what we think we’ll love at such an early age in life. M is at a later stage in his life where he knows himself well, and knows how he likes to work. He will have the opportunity to take the time to find something he really loves that isn’t based on what he will earn. His family will be financially stable while he’s out pursuing yet another dream. It’s hard for him to focus on this now, but it’s such a blessing and I hope he realizes this and takes advantage of it. I am going to make him realize and won’t let him settle.

For the time being, M will be home full time. Which is good news for our home renovation. And him. He won’t be sitting at home twiddling his thumbs, but he won’t be going back to the place he was assigned to work within the fire department that he hated so much. It means no more nights alone for me and the Goose. It means no more juggling M’s work schedule and our mothers’ schedules to make a babysitter for the Goose. Not that any of this was really that terrible, but it just feels like a few less things to deal with that we didn’t like dealing with.

Of course it’s all very bittersweet. M never dreamt his firefighting career would be cut so short, and under the shitty circumstances of being forced out. But, looking at the options that we were left with as a result, this of course is the best news we could have gotten.

So far, it looks like 2013 is bringing the good, just as we hoped. Keep it up!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sandy Update

The last "live" post you got from me was exactly two months ago, on 10/30. We were still staying with friends. While we're not there anymore, I'm sad to say we're not yet home. We've since stayed with grandparents, parents, and traveled to fill in the gap. We're now renting a house. It hasn't been easy but we're still so lucky. Our house took on a basement-full of water, destroying all of our utilities, washer/dryer, freezer, some personal stuff, our main floor floors, and most damaging -- our foundation. We moved into this rental space two weeks ago today. Sadly, it's in better shape than our preSandy house, though smaller. Our house will take a couple more months to fix, and on top of that, we decided to take advantage of being displaced and doing renovations so were doing a lot of our own renovations (can you say staircase, FINALLY). So you can tack on at least another couple months to that. Thus the reason we decided to rent a house.

I'm not gonna lie- it's sucked. The Goose asks everyday to "go now". Every.Day. Do you know how heartbreaking that is? No? Okay, now imagine you're a stranger and he begins in on his sob story of "our house broken. Daddy fix it. We at new house". Now is your heart broken? Yes? That's what I thought. But seriously, while he's noticed the difference and I know he senses we're not "home", he has transitioned well overall. Sleep took minimal adjustment, and the kid's got a bigger room (and bc of Christmas, more toys). We're settled in mostly okay, though it's a little difficult having half of your stuff in storage and the other half squished into an even smaller house that came furnished (which means we're paying a ridiculous amount in storage bc we needed to put more furniture than we wanted there instead of here). But, again, we're so lucky. We're not sleeping on air beds or putting people out of their rooms so we can crash. We truly are lucky.

And here are some of the things that help us remember that:
We had comparatively little damage compared to so many of our friends and neighbors.
One family friend had their entire home flood and lost everything they own. Their insurance is only covering the minimum. Complete Flood insurance is just not possible to get in our zone, so their story is the same as everyone else. Added to that is that their new location has the wife commuting 2.5 hrs in and out each day (that's 5 hrs total).
Another good friend had her basement and some of the first floor flood. Her parents' master suite is in the basement and they did clear out most of the important stuff before the storm. But what they forgot about was that they had kept some of their son's mementos down there. Their son who died on 9/11. I literally cried when my friend told me that. I can't even explain what heartache this must have caused them.
My best friend's home is built on the water, on stilts. Her house will be knocked down shortly. She is 30 years old and owns a two story home on her own... impressive. And now she doesn't know how she'll pay for what her insurance won't cover. My heart is breaking.
Two family friends, mother and daughter/son in law lost everything. Their homes are gutted floor to roof. FEMA has denied them and insurance will not cover so much of what needs to be done.
Everyone has lost at least one car, usually more, including ourselves.
My hometown is so unrecognizable. It brings me to tears every time I'm there. People are still without power. The boardwalk is gone. Homes, buildings, businesses are all gone. And it's the same here and everywhere hit.
It is literally unbelievable. It's devastating. It's heartbreaking. It's just...horrible.

I'm sorry to be doing this so much lately, but that's all I've got right now. I promise, there is also so much good going on. SO MUCH. And I can't wait to tell those stories. Because they're what really matters in all of this. The good is triumphing and you'll hear all about it...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Still here

I wrote the below post on 10/25. I never finished and then Sandy came. I'll be writing up a post on all things going on with us and how we're making out, but for now, this needed to be put out there. It's still unfinished, but I couldn't dare pretend to be back in that place. I just want to remember it.

Yes, it's been a while, but I'm still alive (physically, at least). From where we left off, it's been a bit of hell. Part of me thought of writing everything down, documenting. Because it was others' stories about their experience that helped me. But I didn't. I couldn't. Maybe I will someday. I just know I don't really want to go back there.

Here's the short story:
We waited for things to happen naturally.
They didn't.
I took Cytotec, in which I met my darkest hour as a human being yet. Physical torments combined with the emotional. Yes, my own personal hell.
Went along for two weeks thinking all was fine.
Checkup still showed "tissue".
After a month and a half of darkness and trying to avoid it, I ended up having a D&C.

It's like my body wanted me to experience all three ways of ending a miscarriage so that the rawness of this really stung down to my bones. I never, EVER want to go through it again. EVER. Do you hear me God?

It's amazing how many people experience this. I knew the numbers were high. But after having to tell some people (for work and other reasons), it really just makes a small part of my barely-alive heart die to hear how many times this happens. A distant friend of mine had 5 miscarriages. FIVE. Thank God she's currently pregnant, but not without it's own complications - she lost one of the two miracles she was supposed to be meeting.

I just don't know how I even feel about it all now. I'm obviously happy that the whole physical part of it is over. But how do I move forward? I will never, ever forget that there was once a little soul living within me. But that ache for another child; a sibling, to be pregnant again, it grows even impossibly stronger Stronger than the fear that something could happen again. And, call me stupid, but I just feel in my heart that our next time will work out. I know that whatever happens is our story -- meant to be. But I'm just torn about how much it feels like this will one day be a forgotten memory. I mean, I know it won't. But I can't help but feel like, now that all the raw pain has faded somewhat, will this be "no big deal" the way it was before any of this happened? Will I always feel like I lost a child, and not just an early pregnancy? Because that's how it felt - that I had lost a child. But I honestly can say that a lot of the initial stinging-loss is gone. Is it simply because we're already moving forward? I just don't want to feel like this was all just another "1 in 4". I want to know that I'll always keep this experience, and little one, close to my heart.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012 Can Suck It

Posting from our Hurricane Sandy retreat. We were so lucky that a friend of ours opened their home to us in our time of need. Because we almost didn't leave. We didn't want to and literally turned the car around, changing our minds and deciding to stay. But "something" was telling us to go. So we turned around again and rerouted back onto our evacuation journey. And thank every little star and all that is holy that we listened to that "something".
Our town resembles a war zone. Too, too many friends and family have lost everything. My hometown where I grew up and the town I now call home are both beyond devastation. They don't resemble anything I know. Homes are burnt to the ground. People are homeless. People are missing. People are forever changed.
And yet there is this inspirational spirit that lives in our community. All of us somehow, feeling blessed. That we have each other. Because we don't let each other down. Our blood runs thick with strength and seawater, and we use them both to carry each other through any of the hard times that come our way. Churches are gone and yet were all thanking God. Because we're alive. And have each other. It's truly the most amazing thing to be apart of. I couldn't be any prouder.
Stay strong Rockaway, Long Beach, Breezy Point and Roxbury. We'll all make it through. Because we have each other.

Not that I'm here often anyway, but I'll definitely be out of touch. We are lucky enough to have a home, but it's going to take some work to make it liveable. We don't know where we'll live for a while, but we know we'll be okay. Please send your prayers and positive thoughts to us beach people. We could surely use it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Nightmare

My nightmares never prepared me for this.

If you were thinking the silence wasn't good news, then you were right. Our little one just couldn't fight anymore. To say that we're heartbroken - it doesn't even begin to fully capture the grief. I always feared having a miscarriage, of losing a baby that I'd never get to meet. But I never, EVER, fully grasped how painful it would be. I know people who have had miscarriages. I know people who have lost late-term babies. I know people who lost their babies only hours after being born. I never imagined how severe the heartbreak would be with a miscarriage. I know how deep the grief is for a couple who loses a baby farther along, or even after he/she arrives. But I never knew the depth of pain you feel with a miscarriage. I'd always thought it was painful, but, I suppose, because there's less time of attachment, that it would be something you could recover from. I'm sure that the different situations I'm talking about here  are not comparable, but for me, this is what I personally know now. And I know it hurts. I didn't think it would hurt this bad.

I think that it's all of the thoughts that having a miscarriage involves. About how it took us 8 months to even concieve - is it going to take that long, or longer, again? About how I had already starting picturing the Goose, at 2 1/2 years, as a big brother - now how old will he be? And 2 1/2 years apart - just like me and my brother, how great. About how I (and my father - the 100% accurate baby predictor) was convinced it was a little girl - was that our only chance for a girl (I'd be happy with any baby, of course, but I've always hoped to have a daughter)? About how I planned to tell everyone else at a family party - now I'll just be sad and drunk, and not pregnant.
About everything that was going to change...

I think somewhere, somehow, I knew something wasn't right. Just little how the first few pregnancy sticks were never as dark as with the Goose, and how I stopped myself from using all the pregnancy sticks "in case" I thought something was going wrong down the line. About how we couldn't think of a cute knickname, but the Goose was "Little Squishy" from the very beginning. About how easily I put being pregnant out of my mind to keep my excitement hidden for the first trimester. About how it just never felt like it did with the Goose.
But I blew it off as "2nd baby syndrome" - telling myself that everything was less "exciting" because it was the 2nd time around. That it was all less exciting so that we could keep it a secret.

Don't get me wrong, I was crazy excited. But you know that feeling, when you just sort of...know? I'm sure I'm crazy, but I think I always had that feeling. When we went for that first sonogram last Tuesday, I feel like I knew exactly what they were going to tell me. And it came true. I wasn't "butterflies in the stomach" excited. I was "let's get this over with but I'm hoping for the best" excited.

I can't explain it. Somehow, on some twisted level, everything felt "right" when we got bad news. As though I would have been blown out of the water if we had gotten good news. I'm sure that doesn't make sense, and actually sounds horrible - but it's what I feel.

To make this whole shitty situation even worse...there's more bad news - x2.
One: it's not over. While we know our little one's heart has stopped beating, he/she's still in there. Nothing "physical" has happened yet. We're just waiting for this horrible, terrible thing to happen. I think that's when I'll really be a mess. Up till now I've been outwardly okay. I've been at work, I've been mostly fine around others, I've been able to do almost everything like normal. Once this is totally, completely over - it's going to really kill me. And knowing that this is going to happen, but not knowing when - it's the worst.
Second: (and this is just simple cruel fate) my SIL found out she was pregnant and due only about a week behind me. I thought that this was going to be the hardest months of my life - to see my SIL pregnant and having a baby all while I should have had the same. Well, if you didn't guess by my use of past tense, she miscarried too. She went through the physical motions before even getting to her first appointment. How could fate be this cruel to give a family two expected babies, but take them both away before they ever made it into our arms (not to mention that my other SIL lost her son just after birth 3 years back)? I just cannot believe that this has happened. I thought watching my SIL go through her pregnancy was going to be hard. Life just proved to me that watching her go through this with me has been even harder. No good news for any of us to share.

I realize this has turned into a sad babbling mess. But I'm not sorry. Because I need to get this out. None of my friends or coworkers, and most family don't know And I can't find the strength to call them up and talk about it. Not because I think they won't be sensitive or anything like that (well, that is a thought, but not what's stopping me). Because I simply cannot say the words out loud. I don't want to fall apart. I don't want to talk about it. Someday I will, but not right now. I think I need to process this all, by myself. I just can't say the words out loud. I haven't had to, except once with the second round of nurses and ultrasound techs at our second sonogram. Anyone else who's had to have it explained to them, M has told.

Which reminds me, I absolutely couldn't do this without him. He has been everything I need while going through this. He's the only one I feel comfortable to be sad with, and cry with openly (not to say it hasn't happened with anyone else). And he lets me. And he's stepped in where I've fallen apart. All while going through this himself. He's absolutely heartbroken. I'm sure he's just about the most sensitive manly man I've ever come across in my life. He just feels. He's cried with me. He's cried alone, just like me. His dreams have died too. But he's been my rock. And I can't ever put into words how amazing that is.

That's all I can get out today...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Heavy Heart

I had nightmares about being here, but here we are. Please pray for our little one. He/she is measuring way behind, but still in there and beating its little heart away. It's going to take a miracle, but I'm not above pleading with God for just that. It's hard to think of what might be ahead of us, so I just have to keep praying and remind myself miracles happen.
Please pray for what we hope will be our little miracle...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

7 Weeks

7 weeks

Sorry it's so dark. Not sorry for the cuteness that is the Goose.
Maybe/Maybe not sorry for the TV babysitting going on while I get ready for work.

How far along? 7 weeks

Total weight gain? Still no weight info.

Maternity clothes? Nope. Pants are getting tight on this bloat. I'll have to start considering pulling out the maternity clothes. I had mostly summer clothes, so I'm thinking I'm going to have to be making more purchases than I'd like for a second time around-er.

Best moment this week? The Goose did amazing in his bed transition. It was as though nothing had changed. M said he had a bit of trouble with naptime one day, but that's it. In fact, it's only been an improvement (he went back to sleeping a little later). He never ceases to amaze me. I cannot be grateful enough.

Symptoms? Sore boobs kicked in, but nothing serious. Also picked up a bit of nausea, but again, nothing that doesn't go away. Tired, but no more than before. I find the more I do, the more energy I have. If I succumb to the exhaustion, I can't find a way out. Overall, very happy and no complaints.

Cravings? Still on an american cheese kick. I definitely crave not so healthy foods all the time, but I'm trying my best to balance my cravings with what I know I should be eating. I think I'm doing better this time than with my last pregnancy. I gave into every craving right away. This time around I want to be a lot more focused on nutrition. Trust me, I'm not talking about a diet. I'm talking about focusing on great, healthy foods. Something I should do all the time. I don't know how well I'll do (I'm not setting super high expectations, I know myself), but I think if I always at least keep it in mind, I will do better than last time.

Sleep? Glorious

Milestones/What's going on with Baby? The little has doubled in size since last week - amazing. Some form of feet and hands are showing up. The brain is growing (duh) and the liver is making red blood cells for the makings of bone marrow. He/She is the size of a blueberry - watch out!

What are you most looking forward to this week? We go on Tuesday for the level one sonogram. This is exciting for a few reasons, besides the obvious  - we *with every prayer I have* get to see the little Goose#2 and the heartbeat. First, I wasn't sure I'd get a level one sono when going to a midwife. I know many people who didn't. She gave me the option and it's covered so, no brainer. Two, the sonogram takes place in the hospital/birthing center where I'll be set to deliver at. Obviously it's early on, but it will be great to creep around and check the place out in person. Three, this will totally put everyone's reservations at ease over me using a midwife. My paren'ts and M were worried about what kind of care I'd get with a midwife vs an OB. They all seem relieved that the care, so far, seems the same. In my mind, whatever it takes to make them feel more at ease makes me happy. I know this is all different to them and they have their doubts. It boggles my mind why this train of thought exists for us today, but I understand. And I just want to open everyone's eyes and fully trust my midwife the way I do. So a win-win on all accounts.
Also on the agenda this week: getting my first full sit down with the midwife, getting all the nitty gritty of what she'll expect and what I can expect and all that good stuff. My first meeting with her was just a "let's see if this fits" type deal. Now we're on to focusing on this baby and this pregnancy. I couldn't be more excited. Although I hope there's no bloodwork. I hate needles and they suck. I'm a giant baby about it.