I'm linking up to one of my favorite bloggers at the Denton Sanatorium. How did I end up in this house full of men? I never really thought much of my future. Of career, college, family. Maybe I didn't have enough time. I just went with the flow. I think that my lack of "future planning" has aloud me to ride the waves of life a bit easier. I met my love while I was still in high school. We fell in love and with a letter from my mother giving me permission to marry, we were on our way to the beginning of the next 25 years. No easy years but oh what an adventure.
My first son was born soon after. A three hour labor. No problems really. Mothering came naturally to me. I never felt inadequate or ill prepared. Okay maybe a little but I wasn't afraid. I wasn't intimidated by this new calling in life. I think that both of us being the oldest in our families and my coming from a single mother with 6 small children gave me the experience I needed to be comfortable. I thought my #1 was a breeze. I didn't realize what a fussy baby he was until I had others. I loved him so much. I would watch him sleeping in his cradle and morn for the emptiness I felt inside by not feeling him kick and squirm. Now I had to share and I didn't want to. My Danny. "Danny doo with eyes of blue", silly I know. I wasn't ready for another one anytime soon. I was still in high school and my husband was working three jobs.
I remember very well the moment I realized #2 was created. Sounds strange but I knew immediately. I just knew. I fell to my knees and with tears streaming down my face in the quiet darkness of my room I asked God to give me the ability to love another child. That was my biggest fear. How could I possibly love another child as much as I loved the first. I knew instantly when TJ was placed in my arms after my hour and a half labor. Hearts grow.
Spencer was my only planned. My heart knew it was time for another. My first two were 20 months apart but more time had passed and I was ready. It was a Sunday evening and we were sitting at the dinner table when I realized I had my birth control prescription to pick up. Bret looked at me across the table and said, "don't go" Those two words were some of the most romantic words he's spoken to me. Ten months later and my longest labor ever - 4 hours - my sweet dimple faced Spencer was born.
I hate to say that number four was a mistake but I will say that a contest and a bit of adventure brought us Taylor 33 months later. How much of that plays into his personality is a guess. I had four boys and life was good. Bret had his own business, we loved our little house and the boys were growing up.
I loved being pregnant! I joked with my sisters that I would and could easily be their surrogate if ever the need was there. I became pregnant easily, I was never sick, I felt fantastic, my deliveries were FAST and my babies healthy. So two years later we were expecting number five.
I felt fantastic even with four little ones. I was showing enough to have purchased and been wearing new maternity clothes and I had just begun feeling the tiny flutters and movements that mother's cherishes. I remember waking up in the early morning feeling the need to use the bathroom. I returned to my bed only to have the feeling again but before I could get back up my water broke. The rest is to sacred and personal but I had lost my fifth son. I had never felt my soul ache as I did that morning. My heart was forever scarred with that loss. But I knew I wasn't done. Our family wasn't complete.
A few months later I became pregnant again. Early on I started to spot and was put on immediate bed rest but at 8 weeks we knew that it wasn't to be. Mother's Day at church I went into labor and my husband took me home. I labored all day long until it was finally over. This one wasn't as hard to lose. Not to say that it wasn't hard but we knew the chances of loss so early on that I think we were mentally prepared for it.
Then number seven. That sounds weird and is strange to even read. We were excited. My doctor but me on total bed rest. I could shower, bathroom, fix my lunch if no one else was there to help and check the mail. My OB diagnose me with an incompetent cervix. I had damaged my cervix when I delivered #1 by pushing to soon which caused lots of tearing and thought that this surely contributed to the weakened muscle. I went in at 12 weeks to have my cervix stitched. At 16 weeks, after cute maternity clothes and those blessed feelings of movements inside, I went into labor. My husband was working out of town three hours away. My mom had to take me to the hospital. I can't imagine how my husbands heart must have hurt and how agonizing that trip home must have been for him after he received my call. I will forever be grateful to a tenderhearted ultra sound tech. The tech couldn't tell me anything. Hospital rules. But I needed to know. "Do you know what a Doppler is"? he asked. "I do. It's on isn't it"? He nodded his head. There was no sound. I had my answer. How could this have happened?
But it wasn't over. Once again we tried. Once again we lost. Identical scenario as five and seven. I lost number eight. The most painful experiences I have ever gone through. But. I learned through it all how much my Savior knew me, loved me, and was capable of comforting me. I wouldn't trade that knowledge for anything. People thought we were crazy. Crazy to have tried so many times to begin with and even more crazy , some said selfish and even foolish to try again. But as hard as I wanted to feel I was done, it wouldn't come. I prayed. I prayed a lot. I told God that I had it in me to try one more time but that was all I could do.
I didn't get pregnant. That never happened to me. But after several months and a positive test I was beginning my next ride. Bret went with me to the doctor. The same doctor that had cried with me the last 4 babies. With the ultra sound on, he looked over me and directly at my husband. Do you see what I see? They look like owl eyes. There are two in there! The three of us cried. With great excitement my doctor told me how in the past few months he had been caring for a patient that had similar experiences as me. He immediately ran some blood work and I tested positive. Had I become pregnant immediately he wouldn't have known how to treat me or to even test me. I have a genetic blood disorder called hyperhomocysteinemia. My blood is thick like pudding and I don't absorb B6, B12, and folic acid normally. So as my babies grew #1 my cervix wasn't strong enough to hold them and #2 my blood would clot, cutting off life. So at 12 weeks I had my cervix stitched for the third time, I was put on very strict bed rest, and I had to inject myself in my tummy, twice a day, with blood thinners. Too many blessing happened during this time of my life to even refer to in this post. At 36 1/2 weeks my twin boys were born. Healthy. Alive.
I knew we were done. The feeling was so precise. So definite. So final. It's been eight years since my last child was born. Eight years is the difference between my number four and five and six. Strange. It seems like a life time ago and yet the memories are as fresh as yesterday. Loss hurts oh so bad. I can't comprehend what those mothers who have lost living children must endure. Yes, my children lived. I felt them move. I saw and held their perfectness. But lets put this in proper context. I didn't nurse them, I didn't rock them to sleep or bathe them or comb their fine hair. Loss is personal. We can share but we can't truly understand and feel the pain of another. Not fully. To my friend and acquaintances who have suffered and endured so graciously - I honor, admire and respect you.
What has motherhood taught me? I am strong. I am brave. I am resilient. I trust. I have faith. I am loved. God is good. God hears prayers. God knows me. Personally. God knows my children. Personally. God knew what I needed to learn from motherhood. From physical pain, from emotional pain. God knew I would enjoy the journey and that I would trust Him. I am learning to trust myself. My greatest honor in this life is to be the mother of six boys. This is what I was made for. This is where I am supposed to mess up, to learn, to grow, to be. I've got my true love by my side to do it with and my Heavenly Father to guide me through it. I wouldn't trade a minute of it.