Tag Archives: #family

Talk About Your Anniversary Gifts

A friend of the family gave us a generous offer.  The birthday bash for the girls is almost a little less than a month away.  He told me that his wife and him are coming over to help so I can paint the kitchen cabinets within a weekend.  I am so happy.  It’s been a struggle over 17 months of remodeling for one person to take the kids and the other one to work on the house.

My daughter right after my unpaid maternity leave asked for a mini I-pad for Christmas one year.  Literally, we were putting gifts on credit cards because I just went back to work.  Daycare expects their tuition.  Co-workers/friends got together and gave us enough money to basically pay the first week.  My oldest got her I-pad mini for Christmas.  Thanks to credit cards.   Shortly after she got it, the screen got cracked because she dropped it.  For a long time, it worked.  She left it on the floor and I stepped on it by accident.

Last year, I brought a cheap tablet to get some work done at home.  Well, our work operating system would not work on a tablet.  The operating system requires either old widows program or an Apple device for security reasons.  Here I am with this cheap tablet that wouldn’t work and I couldn’t return.  The deal was, my oldest would share the I-pad with me and use the cheap tablet, when I needed it.  It began to ghost type.  It was freaky.  For weeks, I promised I would try to fix it.  Well, every week I tried.  It looked like according to Google that my child’s Ipad was hacked.  It got so bad, that I am saying to customer service I can’t get it to do what you want because it’s so busy opening a mess of programs that I didn’t ask it too.  I took to it to a repair shop.  It ended up the screen needed to be replaced.  I got the bill.  Here goes all the money I worked so hard on the 4th of July for.  We have so many bills upcoming.  August is both the girl’s birthdays.  This year, we decided to do one party.  My oldest is getting too old.  Joy doesn’t have any outside friends.  It made sense to show off all the hard work on the house.

Well, our relationship has been disconnected for years now.  He won’t hire a babysitter.  His mother will not help.  My mother died years ago.  The tradition was…  I would start in June to beg his mother for one annual night of babysitting.  One year after multiple prompts, she forgot anyways.  We were told we were only getting an hour that year.  So, I had it with him and her.  Finally, I stopped talking about going out for our anniversary.  Why brother?  Two years later, he panicked.  Why weren’t we going out anymore for anniversary?  This year to afford a babysitter, I need to work a shift and a half.  This year, I figured to say nothing about our anniversary.  Maybe he will forget.  I said nothing.  Damn on June 30th, he says so what are we doing on our anniversary.

Please don’t think I am cold. We haven’t been close in years.  Forget it!  It caused a string of arguments Last summer, we were totally drained financially by summer camp, infant daycare and two individual birthday parties. I think I have mentioned, we are trying to move and the youngest conception bill is still not paid for. Plus, I had to hire a babysitter to cover my oldest for the days summer camp was not in session.

Friday, the Ipad was all fixed and home. We picked it up.  $140 gone.  Another words, all the money from the extra shifts.  I wasn’t with my girls for the 4th of July.  The ipad is back and it’s how I am trying to catch up at job one.  I spent the day working around the house.  Not much got done due to a bad toddler day on Saturday, which is why our friends are helping us.   Saturday night, I decided to go to a Reiki Share.  I find it refocuses me.  It’s tough work working substance abuse.  He said he didn’t mind me going. I left at 6PM.  The second, I came through the door, something was wrong.  His cell phone is laying on the ground.  He put the package of dog treats in the freezer again.  We don’t sleep in the same room, so I freaked out.  I shook him until he stirred and I knew he was okay.

I left for work on Sunday.  I texted the oldest call me.  Well, the oldest calls me in tears.  I trying to put out a bunch of crisis’s at work.  Now what is going on.  Well, she is crying because the Ipad’s tempered glass is broken now.  $140!  I wanted to scream.  Something told me not too.  I’ll figure this out later.  Working was a good excuse not to see the in-laws.  I drove to the restaurant and met him there.  He had this pretty speech all prepared.  So, I fell for it and both of us ended up crying in the car.  Well if it is a screen protector just get her a new one.  I order it.  We ran out of time.  Today, the dentist calls we forgot the appointment, but they schedule it for later.  It rearranged my day.  We ran errands. So, I told her this is her last chance with the Ipad.  She told me the truth of how it was broken.  Poor kid took the responsibility for a day now.  I got so mad that I went into confrontation mode with who broke it, which ended with an ultimatum.  My oldest begging for me to for finding her at fault.  I took pics of it because it may have lead to me taking the person to court.

My oldest is crying.  I am so upset.  The toddler drops a shoe in the car.  I didn’t bring the stroller.  My breast cancer arm is aching a short trip to the store ended up me walking the mall because the whole screen needed to be repaired again.  When the temped glass shattered, it took the screen out  again.  The toddler is persistent about walking.  You can’t let toddler walk around bare foot at a mall.  She missed a nap.  She is a mess.  One melt down after another.  I am trying to call friends and figure this out.  Basically, with all my friends, I develop a plan.  I am getting breaks here and there.  Finally, you know what.  It is the problem of the person who caused this.   Not my problem, let him fix it.   I had to call out.  All because I wanted a few hours to myself.  Heartbroken…  Supposedly, there are more promises.   Follow through this time!   Really, I deserve a social life.  A few hours to rejuvenate a few days per month…

Promises are nice words of setting intentions.  After so many broken promises, I am hoping for reality!  Show me you will follow through.  Reality is more picture perfect than those words that never lead to following through!

MOM IS READY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL!

I already completed middle school.  I feel just handling the childcare issue was a challenge for this family.  It is illegal in my state to let a child under 13 years old stay home alone.  My daughter had difficulty in the city school system with bullying.  Some of the surrounding towns will allow your child into their school system.  Your resident city or town will be billed for your child’s tuition to attend a different town’s school.  We couldn’t afford private school due to medical bills from my breast cancer and infertility treatment.  We put our oldest’s name in the lottery.  She was turned down during first grade.  Second grade, her name was chosen.  For years now, I have had the responsibility to transport her to and from school, which was not a big deal since it was on the way to my old job.  I have had two jobs now for 5 years.  After the youngest was born, I switched jobs.  The main job is closer to Boston.    It makes my commute an hour and half to two hours every work day.

I was fearing if my main job could accommodate next year’s school schedule.  Child care for preteens really lacks.  Summer camp and infant daycare swallowed my checks whole last year.  She refused to go back to back to the art camp.  Since my oldest is going to middle school, there is no afterschool program.  My oldest can go to the library about an hour with friends and a cell phone.  That’s not childcare!  Which librarian signed up to be a childcare worker?  I am also not thrilled to learn most of the middle schoolers and high schoolers hang out at the local corner store after school.  If you read my last blog, I stood to loose income etc…  My children are always first.  I have been the one historical to take the blows at time to my vacation time.  My husband does too.

Thursday morning, my stomach was so anxious, it was eating itself!  I was overwhelmed about leaving a job that I didn’t want to leave.  We can’t afford to move.  Without the right wages, we can’t afford a house in that town.  We owe some serious money for my youngest child’s conception.  I sat down with a manager and had a conversation about look I need to know.  My other job was willing to accommodate me and possible hire me to work with children.  Instead of threatening to quit, I started the conversation with how I respected my place of work. Then, I asked I need those hours accommodated.  I cringed like any second I would be asked to leave.  Oh my!  It worked out very much in my favor.  I was offered to slowly transferred to the nursing home program.  My heart beamed with such relief!  Thank God!  I don’t need to quit!  I began to call my oldest and my husband.  I hadn’t slept in nights!  All that stress was for nothing!  I was going to sleep tonight.

Then, a message came from the babysitter, who I thought I had made it clear my hours were changing, when she accepted the job.  “I can only watch them on Wednesday and Thursday.” The text message said.  I started to sob.  I just told my boss a date.  Now it looked like I had to back track.  I ended up on my lunch break calling a mess of people for coverage for 3 weeks on Mondays & Tuesdays.  All the stress came right back!  I finally ended up hiring the teen, who does the church care for our church.  She is going to come over my house.  I just have to give her a lift home.  This has been my week.

The family daycare was getting mad about me not giving her a deposit.  She was telling me that she may be fully enrolled in shortly.  That was a whole scramble to pay for a spot for my youngest, but she is enrolled now.  She is not returning to the daycare center with multiple lead teachers.  Her behavior has been extremely frustrating at times.  I think the kids learned some bad behaviors while the toddlers had musical teachers, who never returned.  Extremely small children require attachment to their caregivers.  She wasn’t getting it there.  I hope with regular caregivers she will calm down.

I understand we can’t afford to move.  I should be painting the kitchen now.  Every day, I take care of the kids and do something to move this house forward to our ultimate goal of moving, so Hope can walk home from school.  Hopeful, now no more bumps in the childcare road.  What makes me so mad is, she knew this volunteering for babysitting.  She knew I was so in fear of loosing my job.  It was like she waited to drop a bomb on me not knowing it.  Mom is ready for middle school!  Hopeful, we are not scrambling next year.  I hope next year the blog reads.  Yay!  We are moving!

The good news is the job is going to be an opportunity to learn new skills with a population that I have had some interaction with.  I think everyone won!  August 14th, I will start my new schedule.  Right after vacation!

Frustrated

Summer was not off to a smooth start.  Joy, my youngest has toddler diarrhea.   My oldest will be going to see more specialists about her liver enzymes off and her vertigo.  We can not afford to move to the town where my daughter goes to school.  I work two jobs.  One made promises to accommodate my needing to get and pick up my oldest from school.  I am not seeing the paperwork going through.

Joy needs to be at a new daycare.  In the 17 months she was at the same one,  she had 5 different lead teachers.  I have witness one toddler push her to the ground repeatedly.  Her last day, the written was on the wall.  My oldest didn’t want to go to an art camp.  So, I hired someone who worked for the school system to babysit both the girls at a flat rate.  This person is worth more than I can afford.  Childcare takes over half my pay to pay.  I work in human services, so I can expect to earn between $30,000 and $40,000 full time.  Remember, I have been doing this 14 years.  I love the field.  I give up dreams of being rich.  I work about 30 hours per week. After fighting cancer, infertility and infant loss, I am spending time with those two girls, who I fought so hard for.

I can go to one job and quit the other. I will loose $200 a pay period.  I am trying so hard to get our family out of the 100 most violent cities in America.  There is a price difference between the city I live and the town Hope goes to school.  If I sell this house, we need a bigger mortgage to get in that town.  Chances are after all this hard work to fix my house, we can only afford a fixer upper.  We have been painting the kitchen.  We are literally tripping over stuff to remodel.  My house needs a few remodeling expenses like a new bathroom to sell it, which we can’t afford.

I am between a rock and a hard place.  There is no public transportation between the town my daughter goes to school in and where we live.  I don’t think she is quite ready to stay home by herself.  I work too far away to take a lunch break late and go pick her up.  If she returned to our city schools, she would be badly bullied.  One job is open to split shifts.  The other job made promises the paperwork didn’t show up.  When I try to talk to them, they just say it’s too far away.  That job requires a two month notice.  I sent them an email saying I need to know now.  I find myself struggling with between finances, work and parenting responsibility.

Yesterday was my daughter’s recital. I decided to reach out to my in-laws.  I finally told them how much I earn for a living and the costs of childcare.  These guys come with a warning sign, “emotionally out of order.” For years, they have caring for free my sister-in-law’s kids, who is a high paying nurse. Her former spouse scammed thousands of dollars from them.  She is their favorite.  My father-in-law pissed me off.  He said to me, “your mother did it and you will too.” Swears flooded my brain but the kids were there.  My mother died a horrible death.  She left me in care of my siblings who were abusive.  So, once again, they are not available.

This weekend has been stressful.  After many years of fighting infertility, I am very aware of my length of cycle.  It didn’t come.  I said is this a joke?  I found myself day dreaming of an accidental pregnancy, which is impossible.  Today, we tried to start a dog walking group.  No one showed.  I have been having so many difficulties with heavy bleeding and long cycles.  Last month, I made it a point to try to sleep at least 7 hours per night.  I also took vitamins. People have been telling me that I sound perimenopausal. I took a pregnancy test.  It was negative.  I flunked in the accidentally pregnancy accident department.  I found myself grieving again. I began to fantasize it was menopause and the nightmare of heavy bleeding was over.    Four days late, guess what came today.

My brain is tired from crunching the numbers.  I am worried about my relationship with others.  There is no afterschool program for Hope, who is going into middle school.  That’s about $50 per week we save.  Today, I paid the deposit for Joy to start a home daycare program that follows the school year.

Money is money.  People can never be replaced.  We have food to eat and a home.  Everyone is healthy that I am aware of.  The mother of Hope and Joy is going to have hope that an answer prevails soon and joy returns to the home.

Asinine With A Capital A: VSP Plan

Tuesday, the bump was removed from my ear.  It did not hurt going out as the biopsy. The bump on my ear may have been caused by my eyeglasses.  Wednesday, I wore my contacts.  My eyes dry up quick and get irritated.  Wednesday morning, my eyes are stinging on the way to work.  I take out my contacts to put a solution in.   At some point, I realize my left contact is not in.  I am on the floor on hands and knees for over an hour.  I call my eye doctor’s office.  Drive here and we will give you a new one.  I am at work 15 miles away.  I have to find an optical shop to buy one contact lens in the area of my workplace that  I could walk to.  Not one place was willing to help because I am not a patient.  I put the one lens in a dixie cup with some solution.  I was getting a major headache due  to the world one eye perfect.  This is another point in my life where I feel no one is there.  I did my job blind.  I can’t see the time.  I ran late.   It screwed up my day and my client’s day.

Of course, Wednesday was car seat installation day.   We had to buy a new one to gave the old one to the babysitter for the summer. 3/4 of my pay goes into child care for the summer for both the girls, when school is out.  It’s a placeholder for my job. So, I could only figure out to make myself an eye patch with paper and an elastic band to drive home on one contact lens.    I took the back roads home.  I drove straight home to get my eyeglasses, then the girls, drive through for dinner and straight to the police to have the car seat installed.

Today, the doctor calls. The pathology report indicates the bump on my ear was caused by pressure by either my glasses or the way I sleep.   There’s a  risk for the bump to return.   I suffered with it since mid-April.  The bump hurt.  It throbbed!  So, I called to see if I could get a new pair of eyeglasses.  I am due in October for glasses.  I was told that I couldn’t get glasses paid for through the plan.  Are they kidding?  Just buy another pair and get 20% off.  LISTEN 3/4 of my PAY IS GOING TO CHILD CARE THIS SUMMER!  I seriously doubt I afford to pay 20% off as I will be just barely taking home a quarter of my pay after childcare every 2 weeks.  There is a mortgage, a birthday party for the girls and a conception bill for my daughter’s embryo donation.

Meanwhile, it looks like I still need to figure out how to incorporate working around my oldest daughter’s school schedule at middle school.  IT IS EXTREMELY TOUGH WHEN IT IS YOU OR YOUR HUSBAND.   Where is this village that people talk about to raise a child?  Did I get gypped a village?   Two summers ago, I was mentally prepared to enter my own C-section alone, because my mother-in-law was trying to bail on watching my oldest as I gave birth.  We never ask for her to care for our children.   I wish I had this family/village to help.  Unfortunately, my mother died from some form of dementia.   We live in a city on a list called the 100 most violent cities in America. I keep trying to get my girls out of here.  IT’S THE EYEGLASSES, THE CO-PAYMENTS, GAS FOR THE CAR etc… that keeps us from buying another house and moving.  It’s like which came first the chicken or the egg. How do we get out, when bills are piling?  I could work longer if my oldest could walk home from school.  The houses in that town cost way more than my current house is worth.  I am upset and stressed.

Through The Briers: A Rose Was Found!

My ear has been throbbing away since the biopsy.  After all these days of worry, good news prevailed!  The lab report was normal! Whew!  The polyps in February and this cyst on my Breast Cancer Survivor Anniversary all points to time to take better care of yourself.  Next time may not be a warning shot!  Tomorrow is the Friday before Memorial Day, my anniversary of breast cancer.  It’s raining here, but sunscreen will be top priority this summer!  Time to celebrate with walkless events with the family!

Briers For My 7th Breast Cancer Anniversary

Our family has been facing some medical issues recently.  I took a break from remodeling.  Sadly, my schedule on days off have been very booked.  The family ferret has insulinoma (caner of the pancreas).  She has required multiple trips to the vet to check her sugar levels.  My oldest daughter has been having dizzy spells.  I feel like a cab.

Since the family vacation in April, I found a lump on the top of my ear near the skin connecting to my head.  It has seriously hurt, when I wear glasses.  I thought this is a cyst.  For weeks now, I have been trying a number of home remedies to get rid of it.

I had surgery to remove a number of polyps from my uterus in February.  I was having heavy bleeding and 21 day cycles.  Last week, the heavy bleeding returned.  I got up and left stains everywhere.  So, I called the OB GYN.  They made an appointment for this week.

On the same afternoon, my phone rings again. My daughter’s doctor office called with a neurology appointment for Tuesday, which is the same day as my OB GYN appointment.  This neurology appointment is in the morning.  The OB GYN appointment is in the afternoon.  Both are hour drives in the opposite direction.  I thought no problem.

Monday was my physical.  I had been suffering with the bump on my ear for awhile.  I had to take the youngest with me, since my husband took Tuesday morning to go to my oldest daughter’s appointment.  I showed him my ear.  He felt a Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist should look at it.  He was concerned about skin cancer and if it should be biopsy.  Cancer again?

My toddler fell asleep on the drive home.  I sat in the driveway in disbelief.  My phone rings again.  The specialist can see me mid morning on Tuesday.  I felt so emotional drained.  Yes, I do have my girls and my husband.  There is just no family involved in our lives.  There isn’t an aunt or a grandmother to call for help with the kids.  It’s in these situations, I feel very isolated and alone.  (My last C-section erupted with an argument with my in-laws about who was going to take care of my oldest.  I actually mentally prepared to go into a C-section by myself with no support.) I couldn’t ask them for help.  I spoke to a few friends about the lump on my ear.  It made me feel slightly better.

Worst of all, I have been working Monday and Tuesday nights at my other job.   The neurology appointment for my daughter made me anxious.  I buried two babies due to a rare disease.  There was another part of me that knew this was routine.  My recent surgery on the polyps reminded me how alone I am.  I am running all over the place.  I got my glasses tighten.  Hope, my oldest, was anxious about the state exams and the neurologist appointment.  I promise to take her to one of her activity stores.  I spoke to my medical oncologist, who said I couldn’t have a hormonal IUD for cycle control due to my previous history of breast cancer.  Some of the IUD’s can thin and make a cycle quicker.  We also talked about my ear.

Tuesday morning at the neurologist appointment, it was a bit of a rough start.  I am staring at this genetic history form and I am tired, drained and overwhelmed.  I am telling her it’s not a good day to ask me if I am in good physical health.  Another cancer diagnosis my happen again.  Finally, I said, “I am struggling with this form.  Our family is the first documented genetic carriers of a rare disease.”  The person, we met with softened.  All sudden, I felt she got it.  Basically, Hope was diagnosis with Vertigo.  They want us to see a Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist to rule out allergies.  One appointment down. My husband asked to work from home to cover all these doctor appointments.  My toddler is very active.  He takes Hope to school.

I call my aunt, who is 80 something.  She sounds horrible and wheezy due to a cold.  I go to check on her.  I meet the Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist and explain all the appointments I am going through.  She was very understanding.  She told me that the lump looks like a cyst, but it should be biopsy.  She explained if it is cancer or not cancer, it needs to be removed only.  More good news.

I decide to drive home and drop by to see the toddler after eating lunch at my favorite bakery from my childhood memories.  I am wiped out.  I figure I better update the school nurse.  She says to me, “your daughter landed wrong on stage. She is here now.” Now, I know I have to take this kid to the walk in clinic after school.  My ear starts throbbing bad from the biopsy.

The OB GYN appointment was okay.  There is little they can do to control this bleeding.  I leave and I go to check out.  There is a couple sitting down talking with check out.  I go up to the other window a few times.  No one comes.  So, I give them their space.  All of sudden, a medical receptionist screams at me, “is someone hiding in the hall.”

So, I corrected her.  I told her, ” I am not hiding.  I have been at the window twice and no one is paying attention.” It’s been a miserable day.  I hate doctors.  I am at the end of my rope.  My ear is really throbbing.  No painkiller is touching it. When the receptionist is checking me out, I am telling her to retell me the information.   I called my boss and asked to go in to complete my work and leave early.  She agrees.  I can’t miss work since I have no vacation or sick time.

I can’t go to another doctor.  I just can’t.  So, I called my husband and told him to take the oldest to the doctor’s.  I got good news mostly.  I felt so emotionally drained today.  My oldest has a groin injury and she can not walk.  I spent half the night finding other things for our family to do this Memorial Day Weekend that require no walking.

I have come a long way since starting this blog.  I stopped complaining and I am doing things to improve my life.  I am making friends.  I am aware I can’t discuss my baby loss issues with them either.  I tried to get out once a month with my friends to take care of myself.

It was the Friday before Memorial Day that I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  It brought new meaning to LONG WEEKEND.  Today, I finally told my oldest what is going on with the ear.  It was so hard this morning because she was in so much pain and I work during the days Wednesdays through Fridays.  Even if I could stay home, she would have missed the state exams.  She had to go to school.  My ear just throbbed today due to the biopsy.  I am hoping for better days.  I am also taking this as a warning sign to take better care of myself such as count my steps, quit smoking and sleep right.

#NIAW2017 Our story: The Journey of Hope & Joy

I am going to write a letter of thanks to women and men, who are donors.  Before I do, I am going to write a brief summary of our journey.  Fourteen years ago, we decided it was time for a family.  Before being pregnant, I glowed.  The year before we tried, I made sure everything was done.  I visited churches looking for the perfect family church.  I made sure I was healthy.  I brought baby items.  It was time for a baby.  I was so naïve at my precious age of 28.  I thought couples had sex and you just got pregnant.  I completely knew nothing of ovulation and timing.  It was disappointing the first month, we tried.  Nothing.  So, I read online how to get pregnant.  I got ovulation kits and within one month, boom we were pregnant.  At 9 weeks, I had a threatened miscarriage.  I woke up bleeding.  My husband and I headed hysterical to the ER.  The baby was okay.  We made it to the traditional 12 week mark and made the big announcement.  I say this with tears we were so innocent.  At the 18 week ultra sound, we were joking around and laughing.  We were play arguing about if we should learn the baby’s gender.  We were so excited.  The day after the ultra sound, we were heading to London for our honey moon (We couldn’t afford when we got married.  Life was great!

The ultra sound tech didn’t say much.  We were in a good mood.  After the ultra sound, I remarked to my husband, we didn’t get a picture.  The doctor called us in.  I said, “we never got a picture.”

The doctor looked grim. “The baby has multiple birth defects.  I don’t think the baby is going to live long enough to reach birth.” She said.

I can’t remember much after that. I remember screaming “no” like my soul was being shredded into pieces.  I remember falling and the doctor catching me to make sure my head didn’t hit the counter.  We were left through a back door to an immediate appointment in Boston.  I couldn’t stop crying and calling people.  We got the hospital and my husband had to lead me across the parking garage, because I couldn’t find the elevator.  At the hospital, they asked me for my license and for several minutes, I would go into my purse and couldn’t remember what I was looking for.  I begged them at the hospital to tell me that the baby just had Down Syndrome.  I had an amniocentesis test.  I asked them for a picture of the baby.

I came home.  My husband asked if we should cancel the trip.  I looked at him and said, “If the baby is to die before birth, then let’s show the baby the world.” We did go to London during the Bush demonstrations.  I couldn’t talk or breath.  I spent all my money (our cell phones did not work.) on the payphone trying to learn news.  The stress was so high.  We went to the wax museum.  One of the rides took our picture.  In the picture, it was a couple with broken hearts.  I never brought the picture.  I refused to have my picture taken the entire trip.   I went to Westminster Abbey, I kneed before every statue begging for our baby’s life.

Avery was diagnosis with Campomelic Dysplasia. We went through all the trisomy diagnoses.   I was born a rare disease mother.  People voiced their opinions about what we should do.  Our baby was becoming  was becoming a symbol for others about arguments for social issues instead of our baby and our choice.  She was born prematurely.   Avery died a day after birth.  I had never witness a human die.  I felt strong guilt for agreeing to do not resuscitate orders.  I never doubt there was a God.  As I watched Avery struggle for each breathe.  I became obsessed with is there an afterlife? I began to doubt God.  Many friends ended their friendships with us.  I think I hang out with a lot of emotional abusive people.  My own brother screamed at me for crying because, “this was my fault for not listening to the doctors.”

I had flash backs.  I finally left my job because they couldn’t get that I couldn’t be around babies.  I was getting flooded with memories of my baby’s last breath. When I reached out, I was told I was doing this for attention.  So on my last day of work, I did a very brave thing.  Someone brought in a baby.  I asked to hold it.  The memories were flooding me.  I held my composure.  The second, I was out of their sight.  I bite down on my fingers and sobbed wildly.  I kept trying to get pregnant over and over.  One negative pregnancy test after another.  I attended every one of the recommended doctors appointments and I was assured it was a most likely a fluke of nature.  Campomelic Dysplasia was usual thought of to be passed on by a parent with the condition.  Since neither of us had dwarfism or seemed to have dwarfism.  The other way was either my husband  or I had a genetic problem with sperm or eggs.  I was jobless and babyless.  At times, I told my husband that I no longer wanted to work in the field that I loved.  Thanksgiving day, I kneeled before Avery’s grave and begged for help.  I was no longer with the children that worked with and loved.  My Avery died.  My uterus was empty.  So, I kept applying for jobs in and outside my field.  I was going to a fertility center for tests.  Then, on December 1st, 2004, I learned I was pregnant.  My mother-in-law and I wrapped the test as a birthday present for my husband.  I started a new job.  Being pregnant again was not easy.  I played loud happy music to keep my anxiety down.  On August 11th, 2005, our daughter Hope was born.  I didn’t know if she was a boy or girl.  We stopped asking the gender question and gave thanks for a healthy child.

My brother and sister disappeared from my life.  They are very emotional abusive.  My sister was hiding her own pregnancy.  She said to me, when I upon me telling her the news of my pregnancy. “If you miscarry, I don’t want to hear of you crying. Miscarriages are away of getting rid of genetically inferior babies.  We don’t want genetically inferior babies in the world.”

I learned quickly that I couldn’t continue a relationship with my siblings.  It raised my anxiety.  So I let them go.  Weeks before Hope’s birth, they came back.  I was so positive.  Sadly, we hired the wrong medical team for our daughter.  I did not know my brother had physically threaten one of the doctors, when his son  was diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome.  This doctor was on a revenge quest.  He treated me differently when I was alone.  He was sickly sweet when my husband was around.  It ended up being a blow up.  My brother calling me all hours of the night to call me, “a liar.” I took Hope to a different doctor.  Would you not know they were affiliated with that other practice.  I considered walking away from my husband and child thinking I was the problem.  I could go to doctor appointments alone.  Finally, when Hope was about 2, I had to ask myself who was paying who with the doctors.  Hope is a straight A and beautiful young lady.  She has a new doctor team and there is no problems.  Sadly, my niece around Hope’s age was born to my sister has several developmental delays.

I could write a book.  I was so convinced our losses were over.  When Hope was 11 months old, I decided to have another baby.  My in-laws felt I shouldn’t try because my husband’s sister was trying to start a family.  I got pregnant.  One nap time, Hope’s cross fell and broke in half.  I felt a strong urge to go to the bathroom.  I was bleeding.  I had a natural miscarriage at 6 weeks.  We tried again at New Year’s time.  The baby was developing normal.  At the 18 weeks ultra sound, I was told the baby had no heart beat.  It was my son Haven, who we could never hold.  He had died silently at 16 weeks.

I began to not tell anyone.  We ended back at the fertility specialist for recurrent pregnancy loss.  We had another genetic consult and we were given the same information.  They couldn’t find any problems.  There was a fade theory about MFTHR genes causing blood clots.  I went on Folic Acid and blood thinners.  I had to pay an co-payment of $300 dollars for the blood thinners. We got pregnant again.  It was Christmas time and at 11 weeks, I was told the ultra sound was normal.  A few days before Christmas, there was no heart beat at 13 weeks.  The baby was estimated to have died days after the 11 weeks ultrasound.  I had a D&C two days before Christmas.  We were heart broken.  Everyone was celebrating the holidays, my husband and I were in tears.  The doctor offices were closed.

Shortly after Christmas, I was crying and shoveling the snow off my car.  I heard a kitten crying.  It was 2007.  Lots of people were loosing their homes.  I called out to the kitten, it came to me.  I showed my husband.  We agreed to try to locate the owners later.  My neighbor informed us that the cat was abandoned due to a foreclosure.  We agreed to give the cat a home until an adoptive family could be found.  The cat had a huge abscess on his neck.  New Year’s Eve, I found myself in a vet clinic getting this poor animal help.  I explained we were considering adopting a child and we would care for the cat until a new home could be found.  I spent my New Year’s playing nurse with this cat, who was recovering from surgery.  Strangely enough, the kitten was born around the time, my son, who I lost at 18 weeks, should have been born.  My energy went into finding the cat a home.  A manger at the pet store agreed to adopt the cat.  I was explaining to my 2 years old that the kitten found a home.  She looked at me and said, “my cat!”

I called the manager at the pet store and apologized.  We kept the cat.  He was an all black cat with a white heart on his chest.  My baby’s name was Haven, who died at 18 weeks.  For weeks, we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl.  I named him Haven because it was a unisex name.  I thought of him safely with his sister.  We named the cat Raven, who by the way absolutely flies through the house to snuggle me.  He is all muscle.  When he jumps on your lap, it’s like when Tigger pounces in Winnie the Pooh.  Trust me, he loves to walk all over you.

For months, I couldn’t get pregnant again.  My husband’s sperm count and quality was low.  We were told we need IVF-ICIS.  (They shoot the sperm into an egg.) The year was 2009, it was tough financial times.  My husband’s bank was sold.  The health insurance covered IVF because it was in a mandatory state for infertility coverage.  However, the pharmacy insurance came from a state without coverage.  It was getting hard to have childcare for Hope for doctor appointments.  I decided to return to work full time, because we needed to pay for the medication out of pocket.  I felt it would be quick and I would have another baby.  So, we finally paid $3000 for the medication through taxes.  Everything look so positive.  I ended up not pregnant.  I didn’t even have enough meds for another cycle.  My husband sperm count returned to normal.  I was crying so hard.  Months of work for no baby.  We began to try again on our own.

On our 10th wedding anniversary, I was very upset and angry.  I learned I was pregnant again.  I was terrified.  All the tests were normal.  At the 18 weeks ultra sound, a resident told me she needed the doctor to sign off on her work.  The doctor returned and told us that the baby had multiple birth defects.  The night mare happened again.  We had after years of genetic tests, conceived another baby with Campomelic Dysplasia named Addison. I rented in this pregnancy a dropper.  One morning, there was no heart beat.  I was induced the week before Thanksgiving.  I lost my job later that year.  Lucky for me, a previous employer hired me.  Avery’s blood in 2004 was flown to Germany to confirm her diagnosis.  The United States had open a lab.

The geneticist recommended we both get tested.  My test was negative.  It was thought that two recessive genes could cause Campomelic Dysplasia.  We decided to start trying in-home inseminations with donor sperm.  At this time, our health insurance was in another state without mandatory coverage.  We tried one cycle.  I began to notice blood on my bra.  I thought a milk duct infection due to Addison’s still birth.

The doctors discovered a lump in my breast.  It became clear that there was a great chance of breast cancer.  The Friday before Memorial Day, I was told I had breast cancer.  No insurance will cover the cost of fertility preservation.  Since it also could have been one of us making our eggs or sperm wrong, which is impossible to test for, I chose to pay for fertility preservation.  My husband’s blood work was lost.  On the day I had my lymph nodes removed for breast cancer, he had his blood drawn.  I started chemo.  The doctors agreed to let me try to use Lupron to save my ovaries.  It put me into medical menopause.  I had chemo and medical menopause.  I was able to work full time mostly.  Two weeks after chemo was started, the test results came back.  We were the first case in the world to be documented with one genetic carrier.  I could have used my eggs.  It was too late.

My mother died half way into chemo from natural causes.  I found her dead.  I brought a bib that said my mother is a breast cancer survivor.  I wanted to hold on to my dream of another baby.  In 10 months, I lost my baby, got diagnosis with breast cancer and lost my mother.  I would bring the bib to every cancer treatment.  I would cry into the bib.  Somehow someway, I was going to be a mother.  My relationship with my in-laws fell apart.  My sister-in-law declined my offer to be a surrogate mother, which I understood.  During Hope’s 5th birthday party, I learned she had a baby named Maddison.  The names sound so similar.  After breast cancer treatment, I began to have anxiety attacks.  The thought would just enter my head, my daughter died.  I also had flash backs of Addison’s death and my mother’s death.  An old obsession resurfaced.  Is there a God and afterlife.  Six months later, I tried to go back to fertility treatment.  I was told to wait for a year.

I started buying donor sperm through a bank and tried to inseminate myself at home.  Finally enough time elapsed, so I could return to fertility treatment.  The two IUI’s failed.  We tried 3 rounds of IVF.  My husband only accepted job offers with companies who we checked out their health insurance.  In March 2014, I failed my last IVF cycle with my eggs and donor sperm.  We had been looking into all options for egg donation.  Please note either egg or sperm donation is covered in any state.  I started looking into options out of state.  In my home state, it was $50,000.  I found an embryo donation program on the west coast that combined donor egg and donor sperm for embryo donation.  Please note this is not left over IVF embryos.  I began to fly out.  I had to keep everything hush, hush.  It was rumored that I was moving to the West Coast by friends and family.

The first cycle failed.  I tried a fresh cycle, which wasn’t easy.  IVF is hard for us.  We have to come up with excuses.  It was really hard to explain why I had to just pack up and fly out.  On August 25, 2015, I had gave birth to my daughter Joy.  She is a beautiful classic toddler.  Infertility was 13 years of my life.  I don’t miss the silent tears of a failed cycle.  I don’t miss googling if standing on my head will make me pregnant.  I don’t miss trying to stand on my head.

I stayed in the field that I loved.  I was able to return to working with children.  I have a specialization in substance abuse counseling.  My job is mom first.  I have been able to find jobs to work around my children’s schedules.

I don’t forgot my journey.  I try to be available to other families with rare diseases.  I tell my story.  Not for pity.  I tell my story in the hopes of someday, we find more cures for breast cancer, infertility and rare disease.  I want there to be a day that I hear Ms. C, Avery and Addison would have had better quality of life if they lived now.  I don’t want other couples to be the first in the world.  I am mostly agnostic now.  I have trying to catch up on building friendships and making my own family.  I accept my family and in-laws as they are.  I also believe I am the captain of my soul.  I made a promise to God that I would use my breast cancer status to improve life for those with infertility and rare disease.  I also try to advocate for cancer patients.  Most of all, I am mom first.

 

Today is my Birthday…

In 2009, the unthinkable happened.  We buried another child due to Campomelic Dysplasia.  We become the first medically documented case of genetic Campomelic Dysplasia.  I was loosing my job.  I was able to find another job.  Six months after my daughter died, I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  I had just got another job through a previous employer.  Half way through chemo, my mother and cat died.  I had to get a new car the same year.  A number of appliances had to be replaced.  I worked and my daughter went to kindergarten.  We went to all her activities.  I wore my wig.   The day after I finished chemo and radiation, our ferret died due to cancer.

For many years afterwards, I ignored my home.  I spent my weekday off from work driving our daughter Hope to school.  I would come home and lay in bed until it was time to pick her up.  I no longer cared about the home or housework.  My soul was empty.  As the years passed, it look like we were going to be the couple who never brought home a child from infertility treatment.  My last cycle failed in March with my own eggs.  A friend who helped me so much during my cancer treatment and inspired me died from cancer.  Another friend relapsed, he took his own life two weeks before my big 40th birthday.  My favorite cats died within three weeks of each other due to stomach cancer before and after my birthday.  I painted a smile on my face.  My world was uncertain.  There was the possibility of another child through embryo donation on the West Coast.  I struggled with coming to terms that this child could not be conceived by my egg or my husband’s sperm.

When the embryo donation worked, my youngest was born.  In pregnancy, I realized how much my depression caused our home to become a shack.  I couldn’t fix it.  My oldest grew up in a shack.  Where are you Ellen?  The million dollar miracle child came home to a “shack.”  I promised my children that I would make this old house into a beautiful home for them.  For about a year now, we have been working hard to fix this house.  I am trying to paint the living room.  We are into problems.  Today, I am not painting.  Last year, I cried daily until my birthday.  On my birthday, the oven went causing a stream of electrical problems.  I thought about this.  My father was very abusive.  He never wanted me and he verbalized it.  I am sure my friend who took his own life would not have wanted to not become the meaning of my birthday.  Through it all, I am alive.  I am grateful for my life.

Although, I have done some things that I need to come to terms with, this year, I am not crying.  At some point, I stopped getting angry and crying.  At some point, I realized I need to give myself a life that I wanted.  So, I stopped looking for my family to step up, I took the wheel.  Some would say, I took the car way off the road.  I am coming to terms with myself.  Where are we going next?

This year, I am not staying home to see who calls, who posts on  facebook  or if the oven goes again for another year.  This year, I am enjoying my children.  I have a whole day of errands and activities.  After all those years of hard work to have my children, my best birthday gift is with them!

Disappointed, Stress, Overwhelmed & Grateful

On the second, anniversary of my first daughter birthday/death, I was holding my new born rainbow as a storm of betrayal was brewing.  Maria, a dear neighborhood friend died after a long illness with cancer.  I had hired what I thought was a good bunch of people to care for my daughter Hope.  My brother hid his son’s autism and I did not know that his anger was directed at some of the people I hired to care for my daughter.  Tomorrow is a horrible anniversary of one of those care givers breaking down and physical intimidating  both my daughter and I.  I had no idea of the demon I had hired.  I was exhausted from learning about Maria’s death.  He told me what he thought of me and my family.  He made me feel threatened for my daughter’s safety and mine.  Somehow, we made it out.  I reached out to others afterwards.  Finally, I decided to fire all the caregivers.  I learned an important lesson that day.  When your gut tells you something is wrong, listening to it.  Instead, I was so caught up in everyone else liking this person that I missed my soul was telling me that this person was evil.

For months later, my mind was taunted by the incident.  I couldn’t sleep or eat.  It was the hardest lesson, I ever learned.  After that incident, I avoid routine appointments during the month of February unless it is urgent matter.  It’s going on 13 years this year, Avery, my first daughter, was born with a rare disease and died a day after birth.  Some years are emotional charged. Others I make it through.  We used to get together with my in-laws and go out to eat to acknowledge Avery’s birth/death.  We haven’t done that in years.  I find comfort in participating in Rare Disease Month, which is February.  I find comfort in doing something special with our family.  Sometimes, we go to a museum.  Sometimes, we go to a restaurant for a night out.

I am having surgery again.   The last ultra sound showed uterine polyps.  I am trying to fix the house, we are in the third phase of remodeling.  (I am sorry to tell you there is most likely going to be a forth, fifth phase then more.)  Things unexpected are going wrong.  We owe taxes.  I can’t meet my own deadlines.  I promise myself not to stay up all night.  Last week was a series of disasters.  Joy, our toddler had a high fever.  Hope, the oldest found a lump in her hand.  It was a cyst.  It was a long night at the doctor’s.  The cyst went away.  We had snow days.  The original blog for this was saved as a draft, but I couldn’t find it. So, I am starting over again

I brought a tablet to catch up on work.  It doesn’t support my work program.  I ran late trying to get the tablet to work.  I was suppose to go to a mediation class.  After an hour’s drive, I was late and the door was locked.  I was in the cold.  So, I went Valentine’s Day and drove back home.  I never got to paint another room.  The refrigerator needed to be cleaned out months ago and it smelled like it.  Then Hope, my preteen daughter got sick.  Another snow day.  I couldn’t cancel with the OB GYN.  My husband had to come home again.  We got up late today.  I couldn’t get the kids out on time.  I got a bunch of angry looks from the receptionist for bring my oldest daughter sick to the pre-op appointment.   They made her wear a mask.  I was spoken to for her not having it on right in front of the waiting room.  We were a half an hour late.  I just get so overwhelmed.  All the rooms in the house need to be repainted.

My husband and I have decided not to sell the house this year.  We still owe a lot of money for Joy’s conception through embryo donation on the West Coast.  It makes sense to lower the bills and try to move.

Yesterday was the ultimate disappointment.  I was looking forward to ending the heavy 21 day cycles.  Sometimes, I am running to the bathroom to avoid an accident.  The surgery was the key so I thought. My doctor tells me the surgery will lighten it for a while.  My uterus is inflamed, which happens sometimes after birth.  The heavy cycles will continue.  I was so depressed.  I don’t run.  I live my life around cycles still even after infertility.

Today, I am just so overwhelmed between the surgery and the house.  I called out tonight.  Surviving what I have has taught me, I am having a difficult time right now. Let’s give thanks.  No one in the family is in active cancer treatment.  My children are in relatively good health other than the stomach bug or cold.  The house drives me nuts, but there is a roof over my head with walls to paint and rooms to declutter.  I am hoping this surgery works.  I am a behind in my schedule with the house.  I am going out this weekend for myself. We are going out to eat next week and going to a local museum.  Then, I have to work on the #rare disease movie with the other mothers about loosing a child with Campomelic Dysplasia. Now that the cyst is gone.  Hope can play her flute again, so I can record the song for the movie.

 

 

February Is Rare Disease Month & Avery’s Birthday/Angelversy

My sweet first daughter Avery was born unexpectantly at 31 weeks due her rare disease in February.  I woke up Saturday, February 21st at 5AM to my water breaking.  Since we had been warned about the possibility of her preterm labor due to her birth defects, I had all my clothing always packed in the car (just in case.) I carried documents and medical records in that bag to explain her rare condition.  My sister had issues with preterm labor, so I knew what to do.  We only live about 2 blocks away from the local hospital.  Literally, we sprang into action.  When I was awake enough to understand I was not having an accident, we left the house.  We went to the local hospital first to try to stop the contractions.  I was given meds, loaded into an ambulance heading to the Boston hospital.    At first this was a regular transfer, the labor returned as the ambulance almost crossed the next town over.  That’s when the ambulance put it’s lights and sirens on.  It took a left on the main street.  We went on the highway we went.   When I on that highway and an ambulance drives by in a certain area, I burst into tears sometimes.  Avery was born by emergency C-section in Boston at 9:04AM on February 21st, 2004.  It was not your normal delivery.  There were no cries of a newborn in her delivery room.  My delivery nurse was  a saint.  She kept updating me on if Avery had a heart beat or not.  Then I saw the team wheeling her to the NICU.  They stopped for a brief second and let me kiss her head.  I remember trying to see my beautiful baby that I gave birth to.  There wasn’t time to study her face.  Off they went.

Almost 13 years later now, since she was born and died.  She made me a mom.  For 33 1/2 hours, she was with us.  Her eyes only open, when we spoke.  It broke my heart, when I asked them to stop CPR.  My husband and I collapse hands we held her in our arms until she died.  I had never witness a person die before.  Months after her death, I was haunted by her loss.  A mother with no baby to care for.  A broken heart and empty arms/uterus, my mind was haunted by the memories of that day.

For years, I would not drive to that side of town, where the labor returned and the ambulance put it’s lights on.  Hope, our rainbow daughter started daycare in the area.  It become a daily event.  Her birthday was the first time I remarked the city I move to as home.  Home prior to this event was the city I grew up in.  When the ambulance doors closed, I realized I am leaving home.

Rare Disease Day is on February 28th or February 29th if it is leap year.  Since learning of the first one after our second child Addison died of the same disease, every year my daughter Hope and I have Rare Disease Awareness Day projects.  This year, we are trying to do a project with other parents who lost their child to the same rare disease.  Sometimes, we go to a butterfly museum to mark her anniversaries.  Almost always, it feels like the butterflies follow us more.  This year, I join a parenting after loss play group.  The plan is we are going with them in early March to the butterfly museum.  This year, she would have been a teenager officially.

I renew my promise to God.  I asked him to help me fight breast cancer.  I promised him and my daughters that I would forever advocate for rare diseases.  My hope is before I die to hear that Avery and Addison’s life would be different if they were born in the future.  Avery was the only burnette of my children.  Both my living daughters were born with very blonde hair.  Both Hope and Joy have been referred as the Gerber babies.  Strange enough we were grieving the Gerber Baby, when I was pregnant with Avery.   This is a term parents, who have had children with birth defects use to describe their feelings.  This year, I was going to enter Joy’s picture into a contest, unfortunately due to computer problems, I couldn’t.  Every year, I remember what it is like to have a child with multiple birth defects.  Hear me Avery and Addison, your mother has not forgotten!