all i ask of myself

Sunday night I went to bed with a big, fat black heart. I had a grouchy attitude about all I am in charge of and felt an overall overwhelming feeling of not being enough for all I want and need to be. And I was slightly envious of the flight and solitude my companion would be departing with early in the morning. I envied the quiet, soft bed he would relax in as he watched ESPN during evening hours in a quiet and cozy hotel in Washington. I thought of the long week ahead of me alone and wondered if there was enough of me to keep my voice soft and repeat all the things I need to say over and over and over and over and over again to my oldest. And if my ear drums would avoid bursting from my littlest squawking mmmmMMMMMMMAW! for 9 hours of the day just because he knows it drives me insane. In light, you could say I was not looking forward to a husbandless adjustment this week after two weeks in tandem; all in all lacking a cheerful disposition.

My girlfriend and I used to call that feeling a Thelma and Louise moment. Just where you feel you are at your wit's end and somewhere along the journey of life you ended up on this strange planet where you are no longer a person but you don't really remember signing up for all that it involved. I think Dooce summed it up well once by explaining her desire to get into the car and drive to Montana.

Not everyone feels this way. In fact, maybe even few mothers experience the mild and temporary breaking point moments. Maybe they are more like Christ than me. Maybe they were blessed with a different, stronger internal threshold of patience when they were born. Maybe they just have different things to learn on this earth than I do. Or perhaps it's my hormones hamming it all up a bit in my head. Regardless, it's still my job even on days when I remember how much easier it was to drive to an office and push buttons on a keyboard and stare at a computer screen. In fact, my hardest week ever at work was not nearly as demanding and endless as a typical week as a mother (with or without a traveling husband). So I went to bed Sunday and told myself: Montana will have to wait, this is my job and tomorrow will just have to be better.

Monday morning I read an email about a mother at church who delivered a still born baby last week. I checked the blog of a friend who lost her baby boy on Christmas, delivering him still born at 20 weeks young. My thoughts have turned to these mothers often and I wish comfort for them. Each time I think of them time freezes and my black heart is jolted. But apparently not as much as it needed to be.


As I prepare for my doctor's appointment I find myself appreciating my job and the precious pairs of baby blue eyes greeting me in the morning. The day is already better and I am finding my peace again. I briefly consider that there could be bad news waiting for me as I slip on my shoes and round up the boys. There is nothing I can do about it either way crosses my mind as we get into the car. I am eager to hear her heartbeat, I smile as we race out of the empty neighborhood.

It's 10:10am as we arrive. We cram, all of us plus this massive stroller, into a tiny room and wait. The boys do very well and we play I Spy. She arrives, shakes my hand and I think she said her name was Emily. Strange for a doctor to go by her first name. She begins with her summary about my ultra sound report saying: 'Everything looks generally good'. Generally. What does that mean? I have mental checkmarks happening in the sky while she speaks of all the baby's basics. What is the generally she is holding on to. What is the wild card? Don't smile while you hold it, just get to the important part. She doesn't speak fast enough.

The children are getting restless. I snap for them to quiet and wish I handled stress better. Zane is pulling out a huge bag of candy from my diaper bag and trying to hand me a Hershey kiss while talking 30 decibels too loud as Evan begins to climb out of the stroller with that squawking again. Raisins are all over the floor and falling out of his mouth. The room is spinning and I wish there was a fun train ride heading to Montana for these two just for 15 minutes so I can hear what she is saying. Her mouth is moving and she is still smiling, so we must not be at the punch line yet.

The boys might have simmered, I don't remember. Something about my placenta being low, but the baby is fine. The baby is fine keeps ringing in my ears like every single Christmas present I have ever received in my entire life, only bigger than the sun. It's the friggin Rockefeller Center Tree in my living room. We're on the Polar Express and I BELIEVE and the hot chocolate cups are in our hands and it tastes so good. And then she hits me with two words: Bed Rest. We talk about that for a long time in great detail as I let some tears fall and reply with 'but my husband travels'. As if that's going to make her switch charts and fix it all better. Like that matters to her. Or to me. Or to the placenta that's not in the right spot. Or this little baby girl that needs to grow inside this misplaced sac.

Calls and tears later I get home and begin a list frenzy to figure out how exactly you replace yourself and what that kind of schedule looks like and how many people that requires. I know I wished for that drive to Montana, but I wanted it on my terms. With a daddy home on vacation and some girlfriends putting together a snack bag and mixed CDs and a plan! It was like a lesson in what happens when mama lets her heart get black. But I went into hyper drive and immediately began making notes of neighbor schedules and agreeing to call for help and working on a calendar to keep this baby safe. I was told the more I was on my feet, the more dangerous it was for the baby and to keep off my feet for a month until we do another ultra sound.

Later in the afternoon I get another call. I can't quite make out the name, I think it was Emily again, and all of a sudden there was another opinion on my records and there is no need for bed rest, after all. Simple as that. Click. I work at getting a doctor to call back. I find out Emily is a nurse practitioner. Not a doctor. Emily was completely wrong in all she explained to me. That won't happen again. The doctor calls during dinner time, confirms that regular life is perfectly fine and she feels my placenta will be where it needs to be within 3-4 weeks when we check again. She takes a lot of time explaining what low lying placenta is and calms the heightened nerves of a whole lot of people waiting on stand by to jump in and help.

I feel like I pulled a four alarm fire when it was really just a sweet little mulberry candle that was lit.

There aren't words to pull together well enough to explain all the emotional ups and downs and ups I have personally felt today. All I know is that if the sky is falling you want my friends, our family members, and my neighbors to be on your team to hold it up because they will do it at any expense. I love them all and they make this little girl even more special to know how willing so many people are/ were willing to help me keep her safe in a moment's notice. That doesn't even cover all the feelings of how happy I am to be able-bodied to tend to these little ones' needs. I am so glad I get to refill your sippy cup, Evan. And clean up the toys. And lift you into your crib. And help you look for your rocket ship parts, Zane. You guys ARE a Montana trip. I just have to roll down the window sometimes cos it gets a little stuffy in here. Then I am able to see the beautiful mountains a little better and breathe the crisp air.

Thank you, God, for giving me children. I am glad for this lesson in appreciation and capability.
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