Now I'm to the point of writing about what we are currently going through. At first, it was hard for me not to just jump right into this stage and write about it. However, as time as gone on, I've been a bit anxious about writing these. The emotions I'm feeling are still so raw. They are still so open and fresh, and oftentimes, ugly. I'm not always proud of how I'm handling things. Oftentimes I want to hide to myself, no matter how lonely it is, because I fear how others will view how I'm handling our situation. But I'm going to do my best to just put it out there in hopes that I can help someone else along the way who may also be having these feelings. And someday, I'll be able to look back and see how far I have come.
Friday, May 31, 2013. I had my ultrasound appt early that afternoon, and Jay took a half day to go with me. We took both kids with us, which turned out to be much easier than I expected. I was a total bundle of nerves on the way there. The peace that I remember feeling before Lucy's ultrasound was not with me that day. I still didn't expect that we would find out anything was wrong, but gosh I was so anxious.
They called us back to the room, and the ultrasound tech did all of the necessary measurements. She asked if we knew boy or girl and we said we didn't know for sure but that we wanted to find out if possible. After she did the measurements she let me get up and go to the bathroom; I had drank so much water on the way there that I was miserable! I came back and she finished the scan. It was really sweet having the kids with us. Oliver sat in the chair next to me and held my hand. Jay stood next to me holding Lucy and she kept pointing to the screen and waving and saying, "Baby!" At first, baby had its legs tight together and wasn't letting us see anything. I couldn't believe it! Thankfully, the baby moved, and the tech pointed between the legs and said, "See that there? It's a little boy!" I looked at Oliver and said, "Did you hear that? It's a boy! You're having a brother!" I wish we had gotten a video or picture of his face. He totally lit up and gasped and said, "A little brother?!?" It was precious!
Everything was looking good on the baby. I asked to see his feet, and explained that Oliver had been born with clubfoot so we were very curious to see about this little guy. She got a good look at one foot and we could tell it was fine. What a relief! Then she got a view of the other foot. My heart completely fell.
It was turned. I knew it. I can't even remember exactly what I said or did. I think I just sighed and said, "Ah. Yeah, its turned in." I looked at Jay and tried to smile, and I had to hold it together because the kids were still with us. The ultrasound tech asked where we had had our ultrasounds done with Oliver and I told her. The baby was positioned with his foot pressed up against the side of my uterus, so she had me turn this way and that, all over the place, to try to get him to move and kick his foot out. He sort of did, but he stayed pretty much set in one place. I told her that the foot looked exactly like how Oliver's had looked on his ultrasounds. Instead of the foot bones extending straight out from the leg, they were turned inwards. I really didn't even need her to tell us what she thought, I knew as soon as I saw it.
Honestly, it didn't even seem real. It seemed absolutely impossible that I was laying on this table, having an ultrasound, and seeing another clubfoot. This couldn't be my baby. I had already seen this...right? Had already been through this? I really couldn't let myself comprehend it just yet.
The ultrasound tech printed off some pictures for us (none of his clubfoot, which I really wish I had) and led me to a room to wait for my midwife. I was scheduled for an appt with her after my ultrasound. I think at one point, Jay asked me if I was ok because I had tears in my eyes, but I was just trying to hold it together for the kids. I have no idea how well I did because its such a blur. He took the kids out of the office and kept them busy so I could have an easier appointment. I was thankful because I couldn't hold it together much longer.
|Sweet baby boy. His profile reminds me of Oliver.|
I sat in the room and looked at his pictures and just cried. The nurse, whom I just adore, came in and said something like, "Not what you were hoping for? I've been thinking about you all day." For some reason, at first I thought maybe she thought I was crying because we found out we were having a boy and I was upset about that. I have no idea why my mind went there! I could barely talk but said something about one foot being turned in. She gave me a hug and did what she needed to do. She gave me another hug before she left.
I had to wait awhile for my midwife to come in. I grabbed my phone and realized I had reception. I sat there, desperately wanting to reach out to someone, but not really wanting anyone to respond. At least not directly. I don't know, it was weird. I have a small group of mom friends that I chat with online and they knew I had my appointment that day. I sent out a quick message: "One foot looks like clubfoot. Will update more after my appointment with Kori (midwife). Trying not to fall apart over here." That's all I could get out. As I waited for my midwife, I went back and forth between sobbing and then getting myself together. I kept hoping she would come in while I was in between sob sessions, and looking back I have no idea if I was crying or not when she came in.
Kori came in and hugged me. She knew this wasn't what I wanted. She was so, so sweet. I kept rambling, saying the same things over and over, as if I could convince myself how okay this was. I would say things like ,"It'll be fine. Its only one foot. It'll be fine." And, "I mean, the first time we went through this we didn't know what to expect. Now we know the doctor we're going to, we know the treatments, its not so overwhelming." Over and over I would repeat myself. And I just cried. Oh how my heart was breaking. It just didn't seem fair that my precious baby was going to go through all of the pain that Oliver did. I don't know how long I spent talking, but it seemed like forever. Probably close to 45 minutes. I was thinking I would have a regular appointment, with listening to the heart tones and everything, but at the end Kori told me since we had had the ultrasound they had all of that information and measurements and she really didn't need to do anything more. Part of me felt badly, then, because I had really taken up so much of her time! I was, and still am, so very thankful for how she handled that appointment. Just letting me talk and cry and process. The whole thing was so completely different and opposite from how my OB appointment went after finding out about Oliver's feet. She encouraged me to just take the time I needed and not feel the need to tell everyone. That was really nice to hear, because I have a tendency to need to update people whether I feel like it or not.
I got myself together, and went to find Jay and the kids. When we got in the van, I actually turned my phone off completely...something I rarely ever do. But I knew that if people started to text me or even leave me messages on facebook, I would feel the need to respond, and I just couldn't yet. Jay and I took the kids to the mall and walked around for awhile and got something to eat. We tried to act normal and happy, and spent time talking about having another little boy. On the way home we stopped and got a couple of blue balloons to take pictures of the kids with. I had no desire to do a gender reveal party at that point, but wanted something a little fun for them.
I finally turned my phone on and called my mom. I told her the good news that we had been able to find out we were having a boy! She asked about his feet, and I had to take a big breath before I could answer. She said, "Oh, are they turned in?" She knew before I could even say anything. I said "One is." and my voice just cracked. Tears streamed down my face. We talked for awhile, and she reminded me that God would take care of our little boy. Then she said, "And He'll take care of you, too." That still makes me cry to think of that. Its true, and I knew it, but I needed to hear someone say it.
We got home and we tried to get some pictures of the kids with their balloons. I was totally impatient with them, which wasn't fair, but I was really struggling. I really hadn't had the time to even digest the news we had received and desperately needed to. After finally getting some pictures, we got things ready for Oliver to spend the night at Jay's parents' house (which he often does on Friday nights) and we headed over there.
|Getting pictures with these two is always interesting. (Notice Oliver standing on one leg?!) They are pretty excited about getting a baby brother!!|
I finally checked my text messages and saw that a couple of people had asked how my appointment with. I started out my replies by sending the picture of the kids and saying, "Its a boy!" Then I told a select few very close friends and family members about his feet. I really couldn't even write it without crying, so I kept things brief. I just couldn't believe this was happening. One friend replied saying she was sorry, but that I knew the baby would be ok. I realized at that point that I needed to stay distanced the rest of the night from telling people. I was not ready to hear from anyone else that things were going to be ok. I was in a very vulnerable place and in order to not be upset, I really needed to guard myself. It wasn't anyone else's fault, it was entirely just the place that I found myself in.
Later that night, I was getting ready for bed and checking my phone when I saw I had a message from my midwife. Any shred of holding myself together was about to be lost. At my appointment that day, I had told her how Oliver's orthopedic doctor had switched to a different hospital towards the end of Oliver's treatments, and she had asked what his name was. My midwife's mother happened to work at the hospital Dr. Cummiskey was now at, so she wrote down his name so she could ask her if she knew him. Apparently, that evening my midwife had talked to her mom. She found out that Dr. Cummiskey was very ill, and had recently had to shut down his practice.
I felt a whole surge of emotions flood me again. Just like how I can put myself exactly back to that time when we saw his foot on the ultrasound, I can put myself exactly back in my bathroom when I learned that our doctor wasn't going to be our doctor anymore. It was devastating. I had to re-read her message several times to really believe that I was seeing this. I said some extremely choice words at this point and just started sobbing. Jay came in, and assuming I was upset about the baby's foot, just held me for awhile. I was finally able to tell him about Dr. Cummiskey, and tried to make it seem like all would be ok. But I really felt like everything was crumbling. It was unfair that our baby had clubfoot. Really, really unfair. But ever since Oliver, I had always found comfort in the fact that we had an amazing doctor that we trusted and we knew could treat this condition. That small bit of knowledge and comfort got me through that afternoon after our appointment. And then...it was just stripped away. I was crushed. I was overwhelmed. And I was angry. That was an emotion I was not prepared for. It was an emotion that would overwhelm me in the coming weeks and one that I really had to work through. Anger is a powerful and strong emotion.
That night before I fell asleep I sent a message to my dear friend, one who I often lean on when I need prayer. I could barely write anything, I was so upset, but I told her I was in a rough place and needed her prayers. That the last bit of comfort I had left was now gone and that Dr. Cummiskey needed our prayers too. My heart was broken for him and his family. She replied with sweet, uplifting messages that helped me get through the darkness of that night. She told me that she was not accepting the diagnosis and was praying complete healing over our son. To be honest, that completely took me aback. I had not even thought to pray like that. I was just so overwhelmed, hurt, confused, and angry that the idea of it not happening, or the possibility of a healing before his birth, had not entered my mind. While I still struggle to pray this way, I am so very thankful that she was praying for me when I myself was unable to pray. Having a loyal friend and trusted prayer partner in life is a precious gift from God. The night I cried myself to sleep, so overwhelmed with emotion that I could barely think straight.
Over the weekend we tried to celebrate another baby boy being added to our family. We went to dinner Saturday night, and did putt-putt with the kids. Jay's parents met up with us and we did some shopping for the baby, which was so fun. But I just felt this heavy burden on my shoulders the entire time. We were in Babies R Us and I could barely hold it together when I saw an adorable tiny set of boy shoes. What baby needs shoes anyway, right?! But knowing that our son wouldn't be able to wear them because he would have a cast covering his entire leg when he was just a week old was enough to make me crumble. Every tiny sleeper that had feet, or a zipper, or only snapped down one leg was like a slap in the face of what we wouldn't be able to have. My emotions were still so very raw. So selfish. So illogical. We were back to buying clothes based on how they would work with casts and braces. This was my life, again. This. Wasn't. Fair.
Sunday morning I was supposed to work in the nursery at church, but a dear friend of mine switched with me so that I could be in service. I knew I needed it, but it was so hard. That service was, without a doubt, the hardest one I have ever sat through. Worship is usually a very uplifting time for me. I can raise my hands in praise and glory to the God I know I serve. But that Sunday it felt like I had dead weights on my arms. I couldn't even sing. I literally just stood there in a daze and wiped the tears that fell. The night before I had gathered every bit of strength in me and posted in our church's prayer group about the baby's foot and asked for prayers. I had zero desire to do it. I really didn't want anyone knowing. But I knew we needed prayers. Our baby needed prayers, and I needed to reach out no matter how much I didn't want to.
I'm so thankful for our church family. They were there with hugs and uplifting words that didn't make me feel like my emotions were stupid or wrong. I didn't feel like I needed to act like I was okay when I was dying inside. I have no idea what was preached on that day. I was in my own world of hurt. I just remember being so angry during worship. I knew that God could do all of these wonderful and miraculous things, and I felt totally forgotten by him. I thought about how Oliver's healing had been a tool for us to tell others about God, and honestly at that moment I had zero desire to have another one of my children used that way. I'm so ashamed to admit that. But its true. "Pick someone else's child," I thought. "Pick me. Use me. But WHY put this tiny, innocent baby through pain???" I screamed angry thoughts in my head that morning to God, and asked Him to forgive my ugliness. I knew I was having a tantrum with Him, but oh I was so angry.
During alter call, we went up front to pray for our baby. A friend of mine who leads worship came down off the stage to pray for us. To be honest, I was surprised because I hadn't gotten to talk directly to her. My friend wrapped me in her arms and I just sobbed. I was somewhat embarrassed to totally lose it on her, and in front of others. I felt other people come around me, and I was able to somewhat (barely) collect myself. My friend (whose father is our pastor) asked if she could annoint my stomach and pray. Of course I was fine with that. Her prayer was powerful, and she prayed for a miraculous healing over our baby's foot. Again, someone was able to pray for a healing that I myself wasn't able to pray. I will forever be grateful for those who stepped in for me and prayed when I couldn't. I had no idea until later who all was with us praying, when I asked Jay who had come around us. It meant so much and those people in particular really have a special place in my heart. I needed those people's strength and prayers just to keep my head up and my feet walking. I have rarely, if ever, felt such a burden that it felt like physical weight holding me down. There were others that I wished would have been there surrounding us as well, but I knew they were praying regardless. Like I said, my emotions were very selfish at this point.
The upcoming weeks and months would bring about a lot of feelings and even more tears. Some days I wondered when I would ever stop crying. My joy was completely stripped for a time, and its still not where I would like it to be. Sleep came in spurts and was restless, and still is. Its been almost exactly two months since we found out and I have yet to make it through a Sunday morning service without crying. I know God is working on me. I am starting to see some transformation in my own life that would not have happened without this process. I'm desperately trying to cling to an end vision where the pain is not so intense. I pray that someday in the not-so-distant future I'll be able to tell my testimony and I know this will play a HUGE part in that. I know that this is the hardest trial I have been through so far, and the most that I have ever wrestled with God. I truly can't wait until I have climbed out of the valley and can stand on the mountaintop and say, "My God is always faithful, for He has brought me from there to HERE!"
|24 weeks pregnant. This was taken the week after our ultrasound. I was trying to smile on the outside, but on the inside I was completely devastated.|