"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, June 1, 2012

when all else fails ... make a thankful list

Baby love, I'll never outgrow.  Pregnancy love, I outgrew long ago.

The gist?  I'm slow. I'm round. I'm breathless. I'm short tempered. My legs hurt. My stomach is stretched. My lungs reach for air. My ribs are lost. My insides are twisted. My legs are cramped. My feet are swollen. Can't eat. Can't sleep. Can't sit. Can't think.

In short, I don't like the mom I am right now.

Poor Celia had several half days last week for exams, leaving us with empty afternoons to do cool girl stuff together.  And we did.  Lunch, haircuts, some lighter shopping.  But the last afternoon, she requested a trip to the outlet malls in search of clothing for her upcoming summer hoopla's.  With visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, it sounded like great bonding fun to me ... since it was just us and a tired Eliza who would probably nap in the stroller, after all.

And then it wasn't.  Because I turned into a retail rage-er .. if only in my head.

Lots of walking.  Eliza never napped. Rather, she turned the store upside down.  The music was loud. The bench was hard. The clothing resembled bags of the same worn and ripped I'd just eliminated from my house.

And two hours later my brain was screaming at each twenty minute decision between two identical pair of Capri's.

I held my stuffing in and let my brain squeeze on it's own ... as Eliza sampled every bracelet, shoe, and belt and amply dumped each tried item on the store floor.  I'm pretty sure by the time Celia gathered her wares, she could read my plastic smile and for that I beat myself up all the way home and long into the evening.

It just wasn't who I wanted to be with her in our rare "mostly sibling-less" time.

Later, I lay on the bed lamenting my ways to Newel, who deeply distracted in some Wall street Journal article, suggested I make a "thankful list" to get over my dumps.

I rolled my eyes and moved on.

In the next days, I had my doctor appointment and on the drive there, my head was full of all the things I would unload on him.  I mean, he can't really fix any of it. I do know that. It's all just a waiting game at this point.  But by golly, aside from his doctorin' skills, I'm paying the man to act as a sort of pregnancy therapist to cheer lead me through to the end and since the other man in my life is probably tired of hearing it, I was revving up to give Doctor So and So an earful.

I sat on the table in exam room 5 with the door slightly ajar, listening to the muffled sounds around me.   My veins began to throb and I started feeling lightheaded.  I added those ailments to my list.

Outside of the door, I heard the telltale scrape of my chart being lifted out of the slot and straightened myself in anticipation of the assisting nurse's entrance to take my vital signs.  The door of the room next to me opened and shut quickly and I couldn't help but overhear Linda the Ultrasound Tech speak in low tones to Colette the Nursing Assistant, poised to enter where I waited.

"She doesn't want a d&c procedure but she's so far along." Linda whispered. Colette in return, advised further and suddenly the muffled noises of next door were clear to me.

My heart froze. My head cleared. My eyes stung.

Colette entered a little less jolly than she usually does.

"Oh, Colette," I said. Those tears starting to spill over. "I'm so, so very sorry."

She teared up too and we worked through blood pressure and heart rate readings in silence.

"I just want to stand in the hall waiting to hug that woman before she leaves here. I've so been where she is right now ... but I guess that wouldn't really be appropriate." I said.  Colette indicated that HIPAA regulations had possibly been breached with my overhearing and no, I'd best not.

It didn't stop the hurting in my heart for the woman next door who I didn't even know, probably couldn't pick out of a crowd. Had we been sitting in the waiting room together? Me with my list of complaints, her with excited anticipation for an ultrasound?

Colette finished her round and turned at the door, "Marlowe, you go home and hug every one of those precious kiddos because today ... they are yours." And she left.

Subdued, I saw the doctor with no longer a grievance to bear.  I hit the car for the drive home with a bursting floodgate at Colette's reminding words. Thoughts of this woman. Thoughts on the delicate nature of life. Thoughts on the amazing ability to grow another human being. Thoughts on the blessing that is and will be to our family.

And the "thankful list" began to grow in the place of the tired, loathsome one, starting with these guys.

Because today they are mine no matter what. Today, they are here right in front of me. Even when it feels hard to be everything I'd like to be.


  1. Oh Marlowe, I so needed to read this post today. I'm on the other side of pregnancy, but still only just. My little one is still so small and still needs so much from me, the only person that can give him what he seems to constantly need. And so I sit and nurse and listen to the often overwhelming chaos of five other children newly home from school for a summer where I feel tired just thinking about going and doing with a newborn and a two year old and all the rest. But even more tiring is the thought of just staying home all the time... Sigh. But I am grateful. I'm grateful for happy healthy children and for a sweet sweet baby that is such a good nurser. I cherish the moments knowing full well that he is my last little one, and will myself not to wish it away. This summer may feel longer, a little more difficult as we continue the adjustment from a seven member family to eight, but it will be but a moment of my family's journey. Thanks for the reminder to be grateful in the moment.

    And prayers for that poor woman, whomever she may be.

    (And for you as you endure the rest of your pregnancy!)

  2. The beginning of your post brought so many memories of pain, discomfort and sleepless nights. I was just wallowing around in the misery of it with you. Then, with the description of the pain at the dr's office, everything changed. Perhaps I should not have been reading WHILE trying to answer my work calls. No doubt my customer wondered at the choked up tone and sniffles about copy paper. Thanks for the reminder that we mothers are a blessed, blessed, blessed lot. I am so grateful for mine. All of them. Though the summer will be long, and the grasshoppers.... err... children will eat everything that is not locked up - I would not trade it for anything!

  3. It's all about perspective, isn't it...

  4. Reminders.....hmmmm? Yes, thank you Lord for the beautiful children you have let be "mine" for now. You know I can relate to your doctor's office story....I have been the woman in the other room....and I have been in your shoes wanting to comfort the woman in the other room. God knows who she is....may your post bring prayers of blessing and comfort her way through your readers.

  5. Beautiful post Marlowe. My heart goes out to anyone who has had to deal with something so painful.
    Hang in there. You're almost to the finish line. Wish I was there to rub your feet or hold your hand. Love you!

  6. Oh, so sad. Moments like that put everything into perspective. I've had moments like that myself.