Sunday, April 19, 2015

RIP Uterous

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This started out as a journal entry, and then I decided to post it on the blog instead.  It's a little too much information, (also really long) but I want to have it saved in the hard-backed book that I print out for the year, and I feel so grateful to my Heavenly Father, family and friend that I would be ungrateful not to post.

So much has happened in the last month, with amazing Tender Mercies and blessings from friends and family.  I feel I need to write it down.  I've also had some moments of clarity.

On March 28, my uterus, bladder and bowels all tried to jump ship at once.  I was in a little pain/discomfort, but mostly I felt more distraught than I have felt for a really long time.  I freaked out.
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I talked on the phone to a good friend, who was herself in a crisis and probably didn't need one more thing, but who helped me to get some clarity about how I was feeling and to have some peace.  It wasn't so much the physical aspect of things that I was upset about.  Rather, I felt that I had so much going on at home, (end of school stuff, each child's unique needs, mission prep, etc.)  that I couldn't afford a disruption of such magnitude.  I also finally felt that I was getting on top of my home and my health, and knew that this would knock me down.
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My prompting to lean on that specific friend was an interesting blessing, as it somehow helped her to see that she could lean on me the next day, as her situation became too hard to bear.  She felt able to call on me for help, and to share her burdens, most of which I had not known.  We were both crippled by our own lives, but were somehow able to strengthen each other in a real way, and were able to reap the blessings of service at a time when neither of us had much to give.  What an amazing thing!

I hope I can always remember that day, as we sat on her front steps and cried together; me sitting uncomfortably on the concrete in my pajamas (parts of me barely contained!), with rumpled hair and no make-up, and her sitting there 8 months pregnant, life falling down around her; her upset children being adorable and quite naughty in her van in the driveway.  (They'd locked us out, unwittingly giving us time to talk in privacy while knowing they were contained.)

Charity is such a power! It allows us as women to hold each other up as we are barely holding up ourselves.
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I'll take this time to mention that I had such an outpouring of love from friends, some who carry staggering burdens, and each one has blessed my life in ways I can't express.

That night I also called my sister, who has gone through this herself, and was able to empathize, council and reassure me.  She is such a blessing to me!

That night as I tried to pull myself together in the laundry room, I texted Paul with a request for a priesthood blessing.  (We believe in the laying on of hands in our church.) He usually likes to have a little time to pray and prepare, so I was surprised to see him a few minutes later dressed in his Sunday clothes.  The blessing brought comfort, but I regret that I was so stirred up that I actually became aware towards the end of the blessing that my mind had wandered.  I missed some of his words.  This made me feel sad and unworthy.  But the power of the blessing helped me to calm down and sleep.
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I stayed in bed, on Sister's recommendation, through the day on Sunday.  She told me I would regret it if I didn't go on bed-rest, and I believe her.  Every time I got up, things started to go awry.

Monday, I was upset to learn that my local doctor was planning on leaving town in a week, for a week, and would not even be able to see me until the 15th of April.  I would then have to wait until she could schedule the surgery even later.  This meant that I would just be laying around, trying to keep things together for almost a month before I could even have the surgery.  Not only that, but it had been hard to even get  a response from her office, and I felt that Sister had been more helpful than they had--they were busy and didn't seem too concerned. (To her credit, the she had a surgery cancellation the next day, and was able to get me in for an appointment for Wednesday.  Luckily, I had asked to be put on a waiting list for this reason.  It was good of her to open up more slots, as I know she was busy and could have just used the time to prepare for the vacation.  I could see her, at least, and then we could schedule the surgery for after she returned.)  I just didn't know this doctor very well, and the prolonged, undetermined wait time was stressful to me.
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I really wished that I could just jump in the car and go back to my favorite doctor EVER, Marianne Zakarian.  She had delivered Sweet P, Little K, and Little A, and had done my tubal ligation.  I knew that she cared about me, I loved her, and I also trusted her judgement, and knew that she took great pride and care in her work.  She is a good doctor, and a good person.

The next day, it dawned on me that maybe I could go to Boise.  I checked our insurance, and she and the hospital I liked were both in our network.  I called, and they were able to get me in on Thursday.  The only drawback would be that I wouldn't be able to have surgery until at least the next Wednesday.  I would have to either stay in Boise for almost a week, or drive home and back. (Still, the surgery would be completed before my other doc would even be home.)

I knew that it would probably be more convenient for everyone, and less expensive, maybe, if I just waited and saw my local doctor.  It seemed selfish to ask Paul to take care of everything here, Liz to drive me, and Paul's sweet mother and sister to let me stay with the in Caldwell for a couple of weeks.  (A niece was getting married nearby, and there were already going to be people and chaos.)  What a blessing that Paul readily agreed!  He is such a good man, and really tries to show that my needs are important to him.

I prayed and cautiously asked my Father.  I told Him that I would do His will, hoping that my request wasn't unreasonable.  I felt so loved!  I opened the Doctrine and Covenants to study, and was led by the footnotes to one scripture after another, reassuring me that if I would ask, it would be given unto me.  Things continued to fall into place, and I felt so blessed and loved.  Heavenly Father very kindly reminded me that I wouldn't be in this predicament if I hadn't been willing to help so many of His children to come to Earth.  I was honored that He would be so tender to one who felt so needy and unstable.
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Liz was still home from school, and had been such a blessing to me, helping me to volunteer at the school, finish a bunch of projects around our home, and basically be another right hand.  She not only agreed to escort me to Boise, but was also willing to take Little A with us and be her caregiver, so that those at home could focus on other things.  It was nice to have a friend and one so helpful.

The drive to Boise was miserable, as I laid across the back seat in pain and with a lot of nausea.  The one bright spot was that I was able to meet up and have lunch with my Dad, who then filled up the car with gas, and just generally let me know that he loves me.  We had to stop several times for me to use a bathroom, as I couldn't empty my bladder and my bowels were messed up.  It was difficult to get in and out of the car, and Little A was also having a hard time with the long drive.  Liz was patient and kind, and we survived the trip. 

I know that it was a sacrifice for Paul's family to have us there, but they were gracious and kind, and I am very grateful.  I think that the idea of going to a preferred doctor in a different state was a little shocking to them.  It was nice of them to do their best not to judge me and to just love me.

Liz continued to be patient and helpful.  Little A was such a comfort to me!  She was darling with Grandma, snuggly and sweet to me, and just an all around delight!  I was needing some extra physical reassurance, and found it as I sometimes reached over and held her hand in the night, or placed my nose in the crown of her head and inhaled her perfect fragrance.
  Oh, I can't describe how RIGHT it is to hold one of my children.  How grateful I am to have experienced such intimate, perfect love so many times!  Each one of my children is a blessing and a comfort for me, and a part of me that is precious and indescribable.  I feel grateful for my body, that I was allowed to use it in such a way that I could, along with my eternal companion and my Father In Heaven, be the vessel of life for each one of them.  I'm honored in ways that I cannot express.
Dr. Zakarian and her staff warmly welcomed me into her office.  It was like going home--I felt so loved and valued.  Staff members took time to chat with me, and the doctor remembered me and asked about our family.  We remembered old inside jokes, and she spent a lot of time examining me, explaining, offering choices, and helping me to know what to expect.  She was working with a student who was also kind and sweet.

As I left the office, I realized that:
1.  It had been THREE HOURS.
2.  Everything was in place and ready for my operation.
3.  No other patients were there.  The appointment had been their last for the day, as they had 1/2 day off on Thursday.  The doctor and staff had stayed for 2 1/2 hours JUST FOR ME!  Incredible. (When I called her on it the next time I saw her, she made it seem like I was so nice that others just naturally want to do nice things for me.  Her kindness took my breath away.)

That LDS Conference weekend was such a blessing.  There were many beautiful messages given but the ones that touched my heart the most addressed faith and fear, and helped me to place myself more fully in God's hands and trust.  Choose to Believe by Elder Whitney Clayton, and most of all, Therefore They Hushed Their Fears by Elder David A. Bednar were especially personal.  I am so thankful for living prophets, and am blessed to listen and sustain.
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At home, the children were out of school for Spring Break, and each one stepped up and shouldered more responsibility.  They were kind to one another and kept things running smoothly.  Little kids were doing laundry, dishes and making meals!  Sarah swept and mopped the kitchen floor!  Paul even had them doing extra cleaning, and I was very impressed.  I'm proud of each one of them.  
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While I was gone, Andrew continued to work on his mission papers and final semester of school.  He's been in my prayers this whole time.  What an amazing time of life for him!  Wish I could be there.  I'm proud of him, and can't believe that MY LOINS could produce something so spectacular!
Lil' Mama auditioned and made it into A Capella choir, finished up her online class, and continued to work at her job and be the Mom at home.  I missed hanging out with her.  It's cliche, but she's growing up way too fast, and I can just feel time slipping away.
Mr. Lamadingdong was offered a couple more yard jobs, and is proving himself as a hard worker and good saver.  He is so tender-hearted and will be an amazing husband someday.  He's full of quiet goodness like his father.
Princess tested and was accepted into the honors program at the Jr. High for next year.  She's bravely faced a lot of challenges this year, and is smart, creative and so loving.  I'm sad that this will add to her challenges.
I felt myself especially missing my fiery Sweet P, and was so glad that we were able to give her such a successful, amazing birthday party before this happened.  A lot of people love her!
At one point, as I recovered, Little K called me to announce that her pea seed had sprouted!  Her passionate enthusiasm was overwhelming to me, and I missed her so much that I cried when I hung up the phone.  She has such a talent for sunshine!  As I recovered at my Mom's she missed a visit because she was ill, and I really felt it.
My sweet neighbor kindly captured the moment for me.

This separation has been a little symbolic for me with Little A--I feel that my baby is gone, and that when I return home it will never be the same again.  I guess I hung on to that one a little too long, anyway.  She's definitely ready to transition into "big-kidhood."  Sigh.

We had some fun with family while I waited out the week in Caldwell, and I was able to crochet around a few blankets while I waited.   I used two for gifts, and then donated a couple to the hospital as I was being admitted.  We received a blanket for Sweet P when she was an infant in the hospital, and I still feel the compassion and love wrapped up in someone else's anonymous gift.  I pray that those who receive the blankets will feel wrapped in God's love. 
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As I prepared myself for the surgery on Tuesday, which involved cleaning out my system (fun, indeed!) Paul drove with the kids to Boise to see me again, give me a blessing with his brother Dave, and be with me on the day of the surgery.  This was a great sacrifice for him, and was touching and tender to me.  I'd missed him and the kids. Sam brought one of our favorite games to play, and we didn't have time to play it.  What a sweet boy he is.  He's pretty dang fun, too.

I joked around, and tried to be normal, but the idea that I might have to leave him panicked me a little.  If ever given a choice, I would stay.  The idea of leaving my children without a mother was horrible to me, and I can't imagine being without Paul.  I have missed him as we've been apart.  I'm so thankful for temple covenants that bless me to know that our family will be together forever.

Dr. Zakarian appeared just before I went out, and she was wearing a pink, sparkly shower cap we had an inside joke about.  It broke the tension, reminded me of her love, and made for a fun laugh!  
She asked that we not post her silly picture on social media, dang-it!

I appreciate that Paul was willing to wait for me.  The operation took over 4 hours, and apparently I lost a lot of blood.  

I awoke in a lot of pain, but felt that it didn't compare to the woman in recovery next to me.  I kept asking for pain medication.  I felt that the nurse had to focus on the woman next to me who was hyperventilating.  After the nurse had told the woman next to me to slow her breathing and push her pain button (again) for more medicine, I meekly asked if I could have a pain button to push, too.  The exasperated nurse said that she had been talking to ME, and that I needed to push my button!  She lifted my hand to my face (Hey!  I have a hand!  Look, there's a controller in it!)  She pushed it for me, which was nice, as I don't believe I was functional enough to do it on my own.  
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Somehow I was in my room and Paul was there.  That day is a hazy blur.  I vaguely remember visiting with the doctor, but only remember snippets of the conversation.   Every time I would relax and fall asleep, a machine would start beeping and a nurse would run in and tell me to breathe.  Stupid machine.

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It was nice to see the kids as they left for home the next day.  They thought it was hysterical when Paul told them that my main goals were to Pee and Fart.  Mayli wrote it on my little chalkboard to help me remember.  Lovely.

I went home to Nadine's after a couple of days, (Sometimes I just wish I could live with those sweet ladies!) and Liz drove me home to my mom and dad's the next Monday.  I walked up the steps to their guest room, and have been there ever since.  I have to be in bed until Wednesday, and then be very cautious for six more weeks.  Every time one of them climbs the long stairway to serve me, I feel very loved and a little guilty.  I know that this is a huge sacrifice.

I have been quite sore, but can feel myself healing, and am so thankful for the use of their sanctuary.  Many have sacrificed in my behalf.  I thank my Heavenly Father for carrying me through this and for showing me that things that are important to me are important to Him.

Paul took Liz back to the Spring Semester of school. (Surely he'll start feeling tired soon--that man is like the energizer bunny. He's been the Mom and the Dad and is now coaching 3 soccer teams.  I'm glad I'll be going home this week.  He hasn't let anyone from the neighborhood help much, as he wanted the kids to "get a little hair on their chests" by helping.  Also, he just has a really high level of competence.   Insanely capable.  He did finally look a little weary yesterday after his quick trip to Idaho and soccer game.)
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Anyway, I'll sorely miss her.  What a beautiful young woman!  I'm sorry that her vacation turned into a lot of work, but so thankful that she was home to be such a comfort and a help.  She did a lot this time at home to build (and in some cases, repair) her relationship with the other kids.

I can't believe how many friends have shown love in unique ways this month!  One even came to visit me while I was in the hospital.  (Although that is also a bit of a blur.)  I feel so loved and blessed!

p.s.  No more periods!  Shazam!

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