Thursday, January 27, 2011

Post 36- Everything Happens For A Reason

Dear Journal,
Looking back over the years and the situations I have found myself in I have often marveled at how, at the time, I thought my world was crashing down around me, or that I was failing. Yet, somehow, everything has worked out in the end. Sometimes, storms do some pretty harsh damage to buildings, but when the crew comes to repair it the building ends up stronger and more beautiful than it started before the storm. There are times when a wind storm will reveal damage in a foundation that was never noticed before, just in time to repair before a tornado comes through. A little storm, a little repair, making it possible to endure the wrath of a large storm that no one could plan for.

That is how my life is.

I remember a situation that happened several several years back. After Brian committed suicide. After the fatal car accident. After my mom died of Aids. After all of that. I had crashed and burned out of control. I was homeless. Life was tossing and turning around me. I crashed at a girlfriend's friend's house. A stranger, he had a spare bedroom in his apartment. It was empty minus the work out equipment in the corner. I could stay there as long as I needed, but I felt like I was intruding. I had a horrible break up with my then boyfriend, who I had lived with, and who was physically abusive. I ran, but having no family to turn to, I was living out of my two door Chevy Cavalier. I was proud, too proud, to ask for help from anyone but when my friend found out she told her friend and he took me in. I needed a job, and fast, so I started working at McDonalds. My shift manager told me that I was the most overqualified person he had ever had work there. It was a quick job, I was there less than a month, and I took it just to have money while I looked for another job.

I worked the overnight shift, the 24 hour drive through, and when I would get off early in the morning I would feel sick. I'd smell like McDonalds and I would be exhausted. I started throwing up for about an hour a day. I didn't know what was going on; I honestly thought I was allergic to McDonalds, Lol. I started getting cravings for these little, cheap, dollar pizzas. Dale, the guy I was staying with, asked me if I could be pregnant. The idea shocked me to the core. How could I be pregnant? Well it was possible, my ex and I were having sex, but I was on the pill. We had a horrible, terrible break up. I was scared of him, running from him, could I be pregnant?

I was.

I went to a WIC office. They did the pregnancy test and referred me to a Catholic clinic that helped pregnant, in need women. I knew immediately after hearing the heart beat that I would put the baby up for adoption. There was no other option. I had a living, growing, beating heart inside of me. I curled up on the cold floor that night and I sobbed into the blankets. Heart wrenching, aching sobs. How could this be happening? The doctor had explained that being on an antibiotic had more than likely been the cause for my birth control not working. I felt like God was punishing me for having sex outside of marriage. I thought God was punishing me for living with a man outside of vows. I was alone, on a cold floor. I didn't have a bed let alone a crib to bring a baby home to. I eventually fell asleep, my hands resting on where I thought the baby was growing. For two weeks I talked to this being growing inside of me. I prayed over the baby. I went and enrolled in WIC. I spent all day either sleeping, working or reading about pregnancy. I took my vitamins, I ate healthy fresh foods, and I did everything I was supposed to. I started researching adoption agencies; I was going to find my baby the best home I could for the best future possible. One night as I stared at this picture perfect couple on the screen in front of me, and I knew they were the ones, I cried. I was going to reach out to them the next day.

I woke up in a pile of blood, a lot of blood and pain like you have never felt. I drove myself to the hospital, praying, crying, and trying to figure out what was going on. It was my first miscarriage. I was 14 weeks pregnant. I had an emergency D&C surgery, a team of white clothed doctors and nurses, rushing me into surgery, an anesthesiologist wanting to know what I had eaten that day, both my arms being poked and prodded, I don't remember getting into the gown, I don't remember the name of the doctor or what the nurses looked it. It happened so fast. I had a fever of over 102. The doctor told me that my body had rejected the baby, I had aborted the "fetus", in the medical field its abortion not miscarriage. I know it sounds strange, but that's what they say.

He told me he had issues finding the fetus with all of the "crap" in my uterus. From what I understood him to be saying, there was a tear and my uterus had filled with fluids. It didn't make a lot of sense; I was just coming out of anesthesia. All I heard was that my baby had died, and he expected I would be fine and end up carrying a baby to term later in life, that it shouldn't affect anything. So he said. The doctor had the worst bedside manner of any doctor I have ever met. Rushed, he didn't think about the impact of his words, just getting them out and moving on. I was dismissed. No time to answer questions, not time to even fully awaken. Just move on to the next patient. The machine of health care. What could I expect? I had no health insurance, I had no money, I was nothing to him but a waste of time. And it showed.

I had to drive myself "home" back to the cold floor in a random room in a stranger's apartment. I didn't have anyone to call to come get me. I didn't trust anyone I knew in that town with that secret, that huge secret. I told the doctors a friend was getting me. They said they would bring a wheelchair around. I signed the discharge papers and when the guy went to get the wheelchair I left. I took the elevator down to the chapel. I fell asleep on the bench and when I woke up I was conscience enough to drive. I fell asleep under the shadow of a huge cross and rows and rows of candles, did I mention it was a Catholic hospital?

I lay on the floor that night and knew things had to change. I had to get out of Illinois. I had to do something with my life. I had to get off the rollercoaster that had taken my mother to her death and had taken my sisters first born into foster care. I had to break the cycle. I had to do something. I couldn't live like this.

I took a chance. I trusted another stranger who reached out to me. I packed my little two door car and I drove across country to Washington D.C. Into the arms of a woman who didn't have children, but who welcomed me as her daughter into her home, which included my own room and my own bed. She asked for nothing in return of me staying there. And I eventually found a good job at the ABA and I would meet my husband there. The storm of losing my first baby crushed my heart. It crushed my soul. I was alone in a time when no one should ever be alone. I never really have shared that experience with anyone. I didn't share it with the woman who did so much for me in DC. I wanted to bury it, but a woman can never bury the death of a baby.

That storm rocked my life, it shocked my core, it tested my faith, and it cracked my foundation. But, as I rebuilt, and as I fell crumbled to the ground, I reached up to pull myself up and learned so much about myself. It was a personal tragedy. It affected no one but me. I didn't wallow, I didn't mourn, and I didn't have time. I had to live; I had to make decisions, right then, which would affect right now, in the future. So I went to D.C.

And I have never looked back.

It was hard at first. I worked at a gas station, I worked at Six Flags, and I worked anywhere I could get a job to make a buck before I was accepted at the ABA. I dated a lot of random men, but I was scared of sex, scared of committing, scared of being dependent on a man for my life. I kept everyone at arm's length, even my husband when I first met him. We both say that neither of us meant to fall in love, neither of us meant to start something that would turn into marriage. He knew he was going to eventually leave DC and I knew I loved it there and didn't want to go. Funny how life dictates and pushes you into other directions.

If I had not had the miscarriage I doubt I would have moved to DC. I doubt I would have had the push in me to finally escape the life I was not living, the life I was just floating through. If I had not had an abusive boyfriend, if I had a supportive family, I may never have met my husband and may never have found the happiness and release in his arms.

I found a big part of me in DC. I found my voice again. It was DC where I started writing again. It was DC where I found humor, laughter, love. DC is where I fell in and out of love. DC challenged me, my political views, my historical knowledge. Challenged me to rely on myself, to find my way around a large scary city. I learned about public transportation, I learned about crowds, I learned about energy. I learned about American history, the political process, patriotism. I learned about the bigger picture. DC led me to believe in human kind and in the ugliness of humanity at the same time. DC is a walking contradiction of excitement and process and joy. I love that city so much. A city I had only read about in books but that became my home for years. I found my forever home in the arms of a boy in DC. A boy that Ive watched grow into a man.

I didn't know at the time any of this existed for me. I didn't know there was a bright eyed, cocky smile wearing, bad sports team choosing, Irish American soldier out there ready and able to guard and protect my heart. I didn't know that running away from the past would push me into the arms of the future. I had no idea.

I had no idea that my husband and I would experience many miscarriages ourselves. I didn't know that the first time I had a D&C would be the first of what was to be four times I would go under surgery because my babies died. I didn't know that it would become a pattern in my life. But, each time I am so grateful to have my husband by my side, each time I am so thankful to not be alone and have to drive myself. Each time I am grateful to be alive. The first time, I wasn't, I had wished with all my soul I had been carried off with my baby. There are not a lot of positives one can find from miscarriages. It is a heartbreaking experience each and every time. 

However, everything happens for a reason. In the moment you might not understand why, sometimes the reasons don't appear for years, and it is indeed possible that it might not make sense while you are still alive, but I believe, I deeply believe, in something out there that is bigger than myself, bigger than this world I live in, big enough to make reason out of missing puzzle pieces and broken fences. I believe that nothing I go through, nothing I see, feel or think is without rhyme or reason, without worth. My first miscarriage led me down a path that led me to my husband, led me here and now to this place I currently am. It doesn't diminish the pain but it somehow makes it a little better.

I am rambling. Time to wrap this one up. Thanks for listening.

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