I have contemplated starting a diary of sorts several times, but just haven't done it. I am fighting the panic that threatens to set in when big, HUGE changes are on the horizon. I know in a few months (a few years?) that we will look back on these days and wonder how on earth we made it through. It will eventually work out...but today, I am extremely overwhelmed.
We have 26 days to be out of our apartment and hopefully into our new home where we will live for the next four years while I go to medical school. We are having a very difficult time working out all the details, and I am just struggling with the stress of it.
We traveled to look for a place and what we found was where NOT to live, and still have not found what we are looking for in a place that is good for our family.
We are in such limbo as far as our finances go. I don't yet know what I am looking at in terms of financial aid. We are waiting on our income tax return (we had to file late) because that is the money we will use as a deposit and rent and money to move us down there. The thing is we are not absolutely sure it will stretch that far. It just seems like we are running out of time with so little information and so few options. Plus my husband does not yet have a job there.
All of that being said, I know that we have come an extremely far way through emormous struggles at times and so I have no doubt that we will continue to make it through. Coping well while we "make it through" is my current struggle.
We strated this whole thing while I was in the hospital fighting for the life of my son, as well as my own actually.
I had been teaching school and was completely frustrated with the state of things in public schools. It was during the aftermath of the Columbine shooting and I was seven months pregnant with my daughter. I decided what I really wanted to do was stay home with my new baby. I told my principal I would not be coming back the next year.
I was able to stay home with my daughter for 10 months before we got hungry. We just couldn't make ends meet on my husband's salary as a minister along with him trying to finish his master's degree at seminary. So I stumbled onto a job at Social Security. It was a good job with "banker's hours" and no homework or lesson plans or after school activities along with better pay and great benefits. It was perfect for that time in our lives.
We became pregnant with our second baby. Her name was Kelly. She died in utero, and I miscarried on Ocotober 25, 2000. That started me on the quest for answers.
I grew up with my doctor dad in emergency medicine and my mother taught natural childbirth classes with the intention of becoming a nurse midwife when my then youngest sister started kindergarten. (My parents ended up divorcing. My mother is now an OB nurse.) So medicine was very much a part of my life, although I had always said I would NEVER put my family through medical school.
In my search to try to understand what happened to Kelly, my passion for understanding the human boby and my compassion for the grieving human soul was peaked. This was only the beginning...
When we found out we were pregnant for a third time, I had never been so afraid in all my life. I found out on a Friday that I was pregnant and by Monday I was bleeding. It was heavy and I was at work so my supervisor drove me to the ER. There we were told that I was indeed miscarrying. It was just a matter of time and, of course, there was nothing they could do. I was sent home to wait. I did have an OB appointment already scheduled for the next day. He wanted to see me early because of my previous problems. He did an ultrasound and told me there was no way I was nearly six weeks; he saw a good four-week sac and no fetal pole. I was still bleeding and cramping and was sent home to continue to wait. Two days later I went back for a repeat ultrasound and there was a baby measuring six weeks with a heartbeat. Even though I was still bleeding and cramping, there was a little hope. This kind of thing continued on for weeks. I would start to bleed profusely, we would be told it was an inevitable miscarriage (they could see the placenta tearing away from the wall of the uterus), then things would quiet down for 24-36 hours or so, and that baby just held on. He continued to grow. I honestly do not remember how many trips to the ER we made or exactly how many admissions I had. At 14 weeks I had begun to hemorrhage again. My doctor wanted to go ahead and end the pregnancy because he felt like there was no way we were going to make it to a viable gestation and even if we did he felt like the baby surely had been compromised already and my life was at risk. After having lost Kelly, I could not stand the thought of another lost child. I told him that as long as I could still argue with him, that we would not do anything. I knew that if I got so bad that I couldn't communicate that he would have to do something, but we were not there yet.
At 17 weeks I think I scared him badly enough he had my care transferred to the perinatology group. They would not usually accept patients in the hospital like me until 22 weeks, but they told me later that he had begged them to take me. At 19 weeks, my membranes ruptured, and I was told that I would deliver in 48 hours. They offered to induce and get it over with, but I refused. If I had 48 hours left with my son, then I wanted all 48 of them. We made it another 10 weeks before we became septic. I did deliver spontaneously, but it was a tricky delivery. My son is a thriving 4-year-old today and by all accounts his life is a miracle.
It was during those 15 weeks in the hospital on bedrest, after nearly bleeding out a couple of times and being faced with life and death in the balance for my son, that this idea of pursuing medicine was becoming a serious consideration for me.
I had started off that pregnancy being completely angry at God for allowing Kelly to die and then allowing things to go so terribly wrong for my son. Here I was a minister's wife, angry at God. By the time I had been admitted to the hospital, I didn't want to hear about God's plan for my life. I didn't want to pray or be prayed with or even talk about God...much less read the new Bible that my husband had found on sale in the beginning of my bedrest days. It was a Women of Faith Study Bibe so it has a lot of little extras like devotionals and stuff. I was becoming very bitter.
When I had been admitted to the perinatology group in a great big hospital, they put me in this little dingy room that was part of a suite with another room. Patients came in every other day or so and delivered screaming, healthy babies right beside me with happy families all around. I thought I was going to die. There were two little songs that started going in my head that I just couldn't shake. You know how something gets stuck in your head and you just sing all day long? The songs were children's songs, "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do." and "He's got the whole world in His hands....He's got the itty-bitty babies in His hands..." That was the beginning of the softening of my heart. I believe that the Holy Spirit was ministering to me in my own heart.
So, as time went on I did begin to read and study and really grow in my own faith. I decided I either believed what I said I did, or I didn't. There was no waffling. So really when this thought of becoming a doctor was in my head, I thought I was just getting all caught up in it since I was laying there in a hospital bed and being cared for by wonderful doctors and nurses. I really began to argue the idea with myself:
There is no way a person could be a minister's wife and be a doctor at the same time. There are not enough hours in a day! I thought I was supposed to be ministering...how did being a doctor fit into that? And furthermore, my husband would think I was nuts!!
So one day when one of my doctors was in on rounds we got to talking about my working for Social Security. I told her how I used to be a teacher and I had intended to stay home with my daughter after that but with my husband being a minister we just couldn't make it without my working. She said, "Oh, I completely understand. My husband is the pastor of our church." So there went that argument.
On another day, one of the other doctors came in and said, (Out of the clear blue, I kid you not!)"There is no ministry like being a physician." I had no idea what he was talking about or why he would just blurt that out, so I asked him. He started telling me how "to minister" simply means to serve and that he enjoys all the opportunities he has to serve people. He was having a really good day. So that's how being a doctor fits in with "ministering".
So I decided to tell my husband about this hair-brained idea I had to go to medical school and become a doctor. I fully expected him to nip the whole thing in the bud. Do you know what he said?!! "Oh, honey, that absolutely fits. Let's do it!" At that point I was sure he had lost his mind. I started trying to talk him out of it.
This is such a long story, but in short, he had been toying with some ideas of changing the direction of his career and it fit perfectly with my idea of going back to school. Our son stayed in the NICU for 7 weeks and had many of the terrifying preemie issues, came home on oxygen and monitor, had terrible feeding issues, but after surviving all of that we figured we could handle anything. When the baby was a year old, we moved and I started school.
We have had to change methods and timelines and original goals a jillion times. The obstacles have been endless, relentless, and mind-boggling, but here we are. (I'm not up for re-visiting everything tonight, but we have gone through enormous financial difficulties, car wrecks, serious illnesses in our son, and more loss, the most recent being in January...our baby Kera.)
I was accepted this year, the first time I applied, thank the Lord. As difficult as this move is proving to be, we keep telling ourselves it certainly beats having to face re-applying next year.
So...we keep pressing on. I hope to write very quickly the resolution to these current trials. I am hoping and praying that even though we are actually starting medical school that many of the things we are currently dealing with will get better...or at least change.
So, I got to work this evening and my mother called. I don't want to paint the picture worse than it is, but she really hurt my feelings. Through this whole journey she has been a little hesitant to be excited for me. At first she told me what a bad idea it was ~ outright. She said some pretty hurtful things then. But as time has gone on, I think she is proud of me, even though she has a strange way of showing it sometimes.
I shouldn't have asked. I shouldn't have set myself up to be hurt...but I guess I am a slow learner. She asked all about our plans and how things were going, so I told her. I asked if she and my step-dad could possibly come down here and help us with the move. Basically she said, "no". I knew to expect that, but it still hurts my feelings. I told her that there is no way we could drive three vehicles by ourselves, and she reminded me that we could rent a trailor to pull the car behind the moving truck. But she said that would be really hard to drive through Houston traffic...she knows this because she drove the truck pulling the car for my sister when she moved from Houston. She does all kinds of things for my sister, like babysit her daughter for days on end...never has done that for me...comes to visit my sister who lives 15 minutes away from me, and stops by to see me on her way out of town 30 minutes before I have to be at work (never has stayed with me, except for one night when she came to be with my sister when she had her baby)...I guess I'm jealous, and hurt. She also said that the really big problem with them coming to help is that the days we are moving are when she and her husband have already scheduled days off work. (She's an RN and he works from home.) That's supposed to be vacation time for them. Do you know how many "vacations" they take a year!!??? I guess I just expect too much.
So, I am venting, and hoping she never reads this!!! I just wish we had some family support in some fashion...either in spirit or actual body...or shoot! I would even take money at this point. This is hard enough without feeling like there is anybody in your corner. So I suppose dh and I will pack, lift and load the truck, drive all the way and unload everything into the house we can't find all by ourselves with two little kids in tow...and we'll do it with imaginary money.
Oh...I really didn't want to come across sounding so whiney. I wanted to write about all the miraculous ways things have worked out for us as we pursue this Big Dream. Stay tuned. That will come. It has to.
Maybe this wasn't the best time to start a diary...when things are so hard. I hate to sound so gloom and doom. I still believe things will work out with finding a place to live...even if we have to move into an apartment first, we'll figure it out eventually.
I know better than to let myself think too much when I am this tired (even though I am so tired after working all night, it's sometimes still difficult for me to turn my thoughts off), but sometimes it happens anyway. I am still very much processing our miscarriage in January. I feel like I still need to cry. I think that baby was our last, and it breaks my heart.
My stupid pregnancy newsletter, which I knew better than to sign up for, but in trying to think positive I did anyway, told me today that I would be 29 weeks now. That's how old my son was when he was born. I know what this baby would look like...would feel like in my arms. Makes my arms hurt.
I still think it is so strange/neat that we are getting our white coats on Kera's due date. It seems fitting since all the struggles we have had in getting our babies safely here and dealing with the loss of the other ones has in part led me down this road. Maybe that ceremony will also help me to put this grief to rest. I need it not to be so raw.
OK, so I still don't really have time to talk about "The Big Dream", but I am on the countdown...
I was thinking yesterday in the tub before I came into work...
I am seriously on the countdown. As of this minute I have 129.5 hours left to work in this hospital over the course of the next 16 days. I have been so hard on myself for not being able to get everything done the way I want to (housework, etc.) and then I realized that if I had the same stretch of time to work at my old job I would have spent 88 hours at the office. I will have worked 156 hours at the hospital during this same period of time. I am working like a crazy person! No wonder I can't fit everything in.
19 days until we load the truck and move out! As of now we still have to live in a tent on the beach , but we're going!!!
I have been wanting to sit down and write here, but I feel like I need to be encouraging. Instead real life keeps happening. Maybe the fact that we are still alive through it all will be encouraging. I belong to a group of women who pray for each other when the need arises. I have been posting there asking for their prayers...bless their hearts...and I thought I would share it here just so that you have an idea of what has been going on. One of these days, when we look back at everything we will see what a tremendous thing it is to have come through this mess. Honestly, right now, I'm too tired to actually feel that.
From June 2, 2006:
I don't know where to put all of this, but I know that I would appreciate knowing that there are people praying about this along with me.
We have been on a very long journey to get me into medical school. We are very thankful that I have been accepted and will be starting this fall. It certainly beats having to face re-applying. We have come through countless obstacles and there is no doubt that God has been orchestrating everything. I do not doubt that He will continue to do that. I just don't believe He would have worked everything to this point only to turn around and put us out on our own.
But coping with everything is getting to be too much. We went to look for a place to live. We didn't find anything. Also, all of our financial stuff is up in the air. I don't know how much I will get in financial aid, we don't know how much we will have available for a deposit or rent for July and August, or even how much we will have to move with. We have 26 days to get all of this figured out. Plus my dh doesn't yet have a job down there. And then there is the issue of health insurance...I have to have it by July 1st...don't know how on earth we will pay for that. We need help to load everything and actually move...we can't drive three vehicles at a time.
My head has hurt for days and days and days. It never goes away. Now I am having trouble with my stomach. I know this stress. I can't seem to will it away though.
Would you mind praying for us? Pray for answers and all of this mess to work out. Please pray for my health...I'm not much good to anyone when I feel this bad all day long everyday.
From June 6, 2006:
Well, I am happy to report some progress. We were able to find out today how much we are getting from our tax refund and it is $1000 more than we hoped. So, the next step is to get the numbers to plug into my financial aid stuff so we can get an acurate amount of what to expect in August. We are planning to make another trip to find a place to live next week. Thank you very much for your prayers and your support. It is amazing how it helps.