It’s still my story

14 Feb

So, I did something.  You know, one of those things that you know you are totally out of your league for and every part of you is saying, “Why in the hell are you doing that?”  But, yet, there is this little twinge of, “What the heck—why not? I don’t have anything to loose.”  Yes, it was one of those things that caused a lot of inner dialogue over the last few weeks.

Last Saturday, (just 2 days post major oral surgery and man, was I in a world of hurt) I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother.

Years ago, I discovered the LTYM show and just loved (most) of what I saw—a group of writers coming together to share their story about motherhood.  I realize full well that I am not a writer.  My blog is as neglected as my gray roots that are in dire need of a touch up.  But, in the spirit of trying things that push me out of my comfort zone, I decided to give it a go.  That inner dialogue finally settled on, “Why not!?”

So, I spent a few hours here and there trying to tap out a piece.  It was hard.  How do you convey just how deeply these events in my life have impacted my journey of motherhood.  It probably didn’t help that I was sick in bed one weekend and watched show after show and was plagued by the reality of “holy crap, these people are really freakin’ good.”  I remember telling Jason, I should probably just not waste what little time I have writing something that won’t get chosen.   Yet, he encouraged me.  And so I wrote.  And I auditioned.

Today?  I got the “thanks, but no thanks.”

Awe, shucks.

In reality, I had been waiting for the email all week.  I left the audition totally peaceful that whatever would be, I was totally fine with.  And I am sincerely good with it.

The only strange part for me is that in writing the piece, I basically laid my heart on the table.  I mean it is personal.  And so a rejection kind of feels like a “hey, your story wasn’t good enough.”  But, it’s cool.  I still am a strong believer that we all have a story to tell—perfectly written and delivered or not, it is our story.  And that is a lovely thing.

So here’s mine:

(Now, imagine me speaking this all cool and collected despite having a stitched up, bruised mouth that was a tad numb from being hopped up on large amounts of Motrin—brillance?  Yes!)

Letting Go

When my husband and I got married, we offered a toast to one another at our reception and both of us remarked that we were so excited to see how many kids God was going to bless us with. We are Catholic and, well… that’s probably all I need to say. Catholics and babies tend to go hand in hand. So naturally it didn’t take long for my husband and I to begin trying to “make a baby.” We figured it’d happen quickly; I mean, both my grandma and mom had children without even trying. Yeah, there were a few “oopses” in our family.

Within a year or so of trying and failing to get pregnant, though, I decided it was time to talk with my lady doctor about our situation. He referred me to a specialist who recommended surgery that ended up revealing an aggressive case of endometriosis. This? This was the culprit of our infertility. The surgeon basically declared World War 3 on my insides in order to remove the diseased areas. He assured us that this surgery would lead to a pregnancy.

And believe it or not, within about 4 months of the surgery, we did conceive. So, of course, we made the big announcement by calling all of our friends and family and telling all of our colleagues. My imagination began to run wild as I saw this as the first step in filling an entire pew with children at Mass.

Then, just a few weeks later, we had to call everyone back and recant our excitement. I had begun bleeding and a series of ultrasounds confirmed our worst fears—we had lost the baby, a precious little girl. We named her Elizabeth Anne. Yes, we were heartbroken, but I still held onto to the hope of having a big family.

So, again, we went for it. And went for it. And went for it. Our life turned into living in the 2 week to 2 week increments. Is it making baby time? Yes! Let’s do this! And then we would wait and pray. And that damn period would start, again.

After about six months of this, I remember chatting with my best friends about the fertility rollercoaster we were on. In her wisdom, she said to me, “God honors the desires of your heart.” I remember thinking, “Whatever! The deepest desire of my heart is to have a child. I don’t want a lot of money, or a big house, or fancy cars… I just want to have a baby.”

It’s a lot of emotions to work through, you know? So, I started walking and praying the rosary every morning. I was desperate to find some sort of peace amidst all of this. During my first walk, the conversation that I had with my friend came to mind and I could hear her words echoing—“God honors the desires of your heart.” I began to meditate on that—I simmered on it, chewed over it and then very reluctantly, I uttered the prayer, “Lord, help me to want YOUR will more than my own. Help me to let go.”

 

Those words were not easy ones to speak at first. In fact, it was much easier to tell God how annoyed I was than to let go of my wants, my plans, and my dreams. But after months of taking my sorrow and disappointment to prayer, I finally got to the place where I allowed the pain in my heart to be replaced by a peaceful acceptance that God had me right where He wanted me: childless, but I was at peace.

And wouldn’t you know it, it was at this time that we found out we were pregnant again. And this time, the pregnancy went full term and we were blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Our Analise Grace blessed our life after 2 ½ years of infertility. Finally, we could begin to fill those pews at Mass.

A little over a year after Annie’s birth, we very unexpectedly found out we were pregnant again. This was crazy to us because we hadn’t even been trying. Finally, we were the Catholics breeding like rabbits. Except for when we weren’t. The reality that struck forced us to shed another layer of letting go when we lost Annie’s brother, our Gabriel Michael, in yet another miscarriage.

Call us crazy, but the love we felt towards Annie and the two babies who we had lost in the miscarriages was intoxicating and we still longed to have more children. And so, we didn’t give up.

Eventually our Jonah, oh our gentle, sweet Jonah came into this world and our hearts expanded with such love…such love…. despite the litany of health complications he was born with. I remember one of his specialist, a neurologist asking us, “You are not going to have any more are you?” as if to imply Jonah’s issues would scare us away from more children. Clearly this doctor didn’t understand that our love was not confined to a perfect story because truly ours has been anything but.

A few years later, when we became pregnant with another son, I found myself on bedrest for 2 1/2 months. Our James ended up being born 6 weeks early and had to spend his earliest days in the NICU. My body’s ability to maintain pregnancies was declining with each baby. Our doctor, who has nine kids of his own, has gently suggested that we do not have any more children.

That reality has been one that I have continued to try to embrace over the last few years because that pew at Mass—it’s not full yet. I’m still hanging on to the bassinette, and baby swing, and the bins full of baby clothes.  I just can’t seem to let them go.

But, I do think that my friend was right, God does honor the desires of our hearts. For me, it started when I was blessed with the children who now call me Mommy. But, even more than that, the desire of my heart is to be at peace with where I am right here and right now. I’m still learning and praying through how to do that. I know I’ll get there, yes, I will. And, I know full well, that it will only happen when I can finally let go for good.

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4 Responses to “It’s still my story”

  1. Katie Riemersma Sluiter February 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    I got the same email, friend. And your story is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it here anyway. I wish I could hear you read it. xxoo

  2. Diana February 22, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    So real and beautiful….thanks for sharing your heart!

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