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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall has NEVER been so beautiful...

I don't know if its bc of what I went through this last year or what, but I can't keep my eyes off all the amazing trees, thanking God for the vibrant colors all around me.  My new favorite colors are orange and red!!!   It takes my breath away; the bold yet comforting palate all around me.  We went for a ride the other day so I could get some of my (knifty) knitting done, but I couldn't keep my eyes off those trees and those amazing autumn leaves.  I guess I never really took the time to just take in the beauty of them before...always so busy, and so preoccupied by that upcoming winter quickly following fall.  This journey of mine has slowed me down, in not so great ways, but also in good ways like this.  The fact that I can suck in the splendor of those warm colored leaves, sharing the joy of it all with my SIX kids and my husband-well its an amazing gift.  Each day is a gift to me.  Those leaves are a gift to me.  The cool weather (that BETTER come back soon) is a huge gift to me as well!  So incredibly thankful for it all! 

Last year at this time, the VERY beginning of Ansen was on its way to being created.  He began his journey and fight for life, as I began mine.  All around me were these same gorgeous leaves I was too preoccupied to notice.  Ansen's life has been a gift to me, as this journey has been a gift to me.  I am a changed person bc of it, and I appreciate that I was given the gift to "see" the world with different eyes.   No time to be too busy making plans for tomorrow-each today is a day that needs to be celebrated and savored.  And we have our days where I wish for that tomorrow, no worries....but in the grand scheme of life, too many of us spend too much time worrying about the tomorrows, when the todays are the most precious and fleeting.  Just like those autumn leaves.  I need to take in the beauty of those leaves today, bc tomorrow they might be nothing but a pile of dull, brown leaves on the ground..nothing but a memory.  Thank you God for the beauty of my life, the life of my children and my husband, the beauty of my family and friendships, and the beauty of New England and its foliage.  I am thoroughly enjoying those leaves, as I also try to commit to memory those vibrant reds and oranges in the fall themed scarf I am slowly but surely creating! 

P.S. God, if there is any way that Ansen could take a teeny, tiny nap once a day so that I could finish that scarf before NEXT fall, I would really appreciate that as well. ;) 

Monday, September 27, 2010

In mostly better spirits...

Headed off to Church yesterday for my first real Church service since March, when the bleeding and bedrest occured.  The pastor mentioned Doug, Ansen and I in the joys and pointed over to us, which was a *tad* bit embarassing of course.  I totally appreciated the sermon (which was actually very fitting bc it was something I had been talking to Doug about this last week -why many not so good people in the world are rewarded with good, rich in every way, easy, lives while there are those of us that are bombarded with all these trying/daunting issues over and over again).  Weird how that happens how the sermon can just speak to you and answer you in that way!  The music was great like always, and then I had my chance to pray silently and I simply asked God to please help me view/experience whatever journeys I have left in a positive way.  I don't want to feel so bitter and pissy about the way things have gone on.  And I think it worked.  I came in to church in a foul mood and left with much more hope and positiveness.  I can't dwell on the decisions I wish I had made last, last Friday, but just have to take on any new challenges that we may or may not now face.  I have to remember the big picture of it all.  The one God can see and I can't, although I am ALWAYS hoping for just the tiniest peek.  Ansen and I are both alive, here together, surrounded by our family and friends.  I can't have things always go my way..and I need to understand that and just appreciate that more has gone positively then negatively.

As I was sitting there in Church, I realized that God most certainly sent my visiting nurse Heather to take care of me through all this.  She is mostly a pediatric visiting nurse, but does *some* postpartum stuff.  And thankfully she took on my case, and has been through thick and thin with me. She is the one that has done all the hard work-the one that fights every day to continue to keep me infection free and get me healed up.  She has 4 closely spaced kids herself, 8 and under...and she completely understands what this wound has put me through.  I am just so thankful to have her right now.  This last week, she has working hard on this new wound inside, trying her best to keep it clean and healthy, hoping really hard that I can heal before any infection can set in.  And sometimes I feel bad that she doesn't get to spend tons of time with her kids because of her work schedule-that people like me keep her from extra time with her family; but she is most certainly been doing God's work, helping me and others in the way she does.  She has certainly been an angel to me, especially at the lowest of times, always working towards the positive.  Thank you God for always caring for me; even at times when I have felt so alone, I realize that You have others around me to carry on Your work and Your love. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another update

Although I don't know how many people really read here on a normal basis, I guess this has become my place to rant and rave about how unfair this is.  I was hoping that maybe some miracle things would heal up instead of spiral downward.  Nurse came today, squeezed a heck of a lot of junk (aka wound fluid) out of my abdomen, then took her sterile q tip to measure how far this thing extends to see if there was any improvement.  Well of course not, it actually extended FURTHER.  This just majorly sucks.  I know where this is headed.  I have been here before.  I think its worse knowing just exactly I would be getting into now, having to have my stomach cut open and debrided, and then dealing with wound packing and changes and I am sure the mention of wound vacs.  To have to go through ALL THAT again, for many months.  I just want to cry thinking about it. 

I am praying that it won't keep heading south.  Praying and begging God.  The night before, I told Satan to leave me and my family the hell alone (just in case this is his doing).  Every day, I am dreading the nurse visits....just waiting for the visit where things change for the worst.  Nurse said today that dr said that if I get a temperature or wound fluid changes, I am to head to the hospital.  IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!  I know, I know life isn't fair.  Suck it up Melissa.  Get over it.  You are alive.  And I appreciate that.  And I thank God for that just about every moment I remember to.  I thank God for Ansen and my other children and Doug and the world around us.  I think its cruel though-for me to get to the point where I was feeling the point where everything had healed up but this little, tiny the point where I could see the end in sight.  The joy I felt.  And now its been replaced my dread.  And fear that I might not make it through this a second time, if that's the journey I am meant to take. :(  At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about how 2010 was going to be OUR year to shine.  And its been everything but that.  It's been the worst year I have actually ever experienced.  Many times, I didn't even think I would make it out of 2010 to 2011.  WHY??  All I want to know is why...what we did to need to go through all this. 

Still hoping really hard that we can avoid going down this same, horrible road again.  But I gotta tell you-hearing that that sterile qtip extended even further into my middle this morning stole that much more of my hope.  And the sutures that are starting to rip through my skin, as my body rejects them-well that was a bonus to my mood.  Not that sutured skin matters much when there is a potential infection brewing underneath.  Just gives them a line to guide them where to cut it all open again. 

Please God, be with me.   Send some hope and peace my way.  Please!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Disturbing book I am reading, to go along with everything else....

In blogs I read, so many people recommended to read the book Radical: Taking Back your Faith from the American Dream.  That it would be eye opening/life changing/truly inspirational.  Although I agreed with the preface of book, upon reading it (I have gotten about 1/4 way through) I have found it to very discouraging.  So much so, that I don't want to read anymore at this moment.  That God may love you, but he loves Himself more...and that in the grand scheme of things, things may and will happen for His ultimate good rather then your own personal good.  And I know this sounds like I am being selfish here, wanting my own good here as well, but I have spent 30 years thinking that our good IS also God's good.  Just like if my kids act in a good and riteous way, then I am rewarded with my pride for them.  But instead, this book states that in the grand scheme of things, God cares about Himself and His glory first and foremost, and we play second fiddle to that.  Of course, wrong book to read when you keep having one thing after another going wrong for you, after acting out in a way that you hope has glorified God and his creation (Ansen). 

I don't want a medal here, but I have tried really hard to live the life that I feel God has lead us towards.  And I have always had the mindset that God cares deeply for us, and that negative in one aspect will ultimately lead to some other positive  aspect later in life.  That God can see the big picture when we can't, and that I solely need to trust Him and do my best to live out a good and faithful life, exemplifying His love for us.  But I am beaten down right now...and suddenly I start thinking maybe the book is right.  What good is all this suffering doing for me?  Have I been forgotten for God's other newer projects?  Cast aside once God received His glory for Ansen's story?  I have been through hell and back.  I had to go into a surgery, knowing full well that I might be giving up my life for my son's....that I might not see my other 5 children or my husband or even meet my own baby for a lifetime.  Then to have 4 months of painful healing, painful surgeries to deal with.  And then to be *this* close and poof, back to square one.  How is it in my best interest to continue this on and on...and on??   Where is the good that is supposed to come out of this?

I am sitting here, with my abdomen burning like crazy from both sides (which is probably bc the inside is filling up with wound fluid, swelling a bit and pulling on sutures-but no worries, it will pour out of the hole I now have as soon as I lay down to go to sleep).  I love Ansen so much and would never change what I had to do to bring him life bc I truly believe he is meant to be here, but why is it that it seems that in this life, the good are rewarded with bad and the bad are rewarded with good.  If I had terminated his pregnancy, my health would be great, our finances would be dramatically better (weeks/months off and FMLA have pretty much left us behind on everything, with little hopes of catching up til tax time).  And perhaps I could have gone on to have a less troubling pregnancy after the fact.  But that is not what I chose, bc I don't believe God creates any life as a mistake.  I don't ask to be rewarded with money and gifts for all I have been through, all I want and have begged for is my health back.  I want a closed abdomen (that is truly closed and not just closed at the surface).  That is all I ask.  I feel like any other issues we deal with in life (money issues and such) are petty in comparison to this.  I don't have the kind of life that affords me 4+ months to recover from surgery.   The  meals stopped coming to our house the day I delivered Ansen, there are no helpers assisting us with the daily tasks of keeping this house running anymore (and that does not even include cleaning, which I gave up on a long time ago).   I can't keep going through infections and surgeries and pain when I have 6 children that count on me as the stay at home parent.  Doug is a few call outs from being fired from his job at this point-he has used any and all time off he could, as well as all his allotted FMLA.  I am having a hell of a time keeping up with our homeschooling bc of this nightmare...and I love teaching my children.  When I am not dealing with nurse visits and doctor appts and surgeries and wound fluid pouring out of my abdomen, we have such a great time.  I have had to give up on so many things I love to bring Ansen into this world.  And yet, it just continues to get harder and harder.

I was *this* close to the end with this wound, really excited and feeling like FINALLY some things might start looking up for us (or at least evening out).  And then my wound dr tells me I need surgery to close up remaining, I trust him as the professional here, and now I will pay for it with another month or two of healing/pain/uncomfortableness.  Where is the good in this situation?  What could it possibly be leading me towards that would make this a worthy experience.  It feels more like a torture-brought to my breaking point over and over again-only to be strung along slightly to make me think we might be turning a corner, only to crash hard again.  And again.  And again. 

So should I continue reading up more about this Radical God, in this supposedly life changing book.  Am I supposed to accept that I am nothing more then a chess piece in this game of life, and the loss of my piece is of little detriment to God?  I don't know.   Like I said, I started reading this book bc I do believe so many people have made the American dream the focus of their life, putting God on the back burner til a "later" time.   I don't question that this world has too many people focusing their lives wrongly on materialistic whims.  I love a good shopping trip as well as anyone (good sale=the ultimate shopping high), but I have really tried to be more cautious on putting material things ahead of our spiritual path.  I do try to act in a way that pleases God as well.  And I have always been a believer that God will test your faith at one point or another, to see if you can stand strong when the going gets tough (to weed out those that talk the talk, but won't walk the walk when the going gets tough).  Did I not pass the first 10 tests though??  Is that why we are at where we are at.  Have I been forgotten?  Or is this all the work of Satan??  Or what?  I just don't know, but it just plain sucks.  And not finding my supposedly inspirational read all that inspiring at the moment.....

Beyond discouraged right now.....

Like our ongoing back luck would have it, things have turned south again.  Figures.  You know, I just don't know how much more I can take of all this.  Why is everything so hard?  When can I stop going through the hard?????  It's sad but today, I am starting to wonder if I did something along the way to  that really displeased God, bc it just doesn't seem fair we can't get a break.  I am feeling broken. :(

Last night I went to bed like usual.  I have been a bit more sore then at surgery, but everything looked great on incision still.  At 1 am, Ansen woke me up to eat and upon sitting up, I noticed my shorts and bed were SOAKED.  I was frantically scrambling to find my phone so I could what was all over me, I was terrified that it was blood.  Finally I found and turned on my phone, and then found that it was a bloody fluid that was streaming out of the bottom of my sutured abdomen.  I threw a pad on it and fed the baby bc he was really starting to scream by then, then went to further investigate it.  I had soaked that pad in like 15 minutes and I was kind of freaking out, since Doug was at work and it was just me and the kids.  I taped two more abdominal pads over it and tried to go back to sleep, feeling very sick and worried about it. 

My nurse came this morning, pressed on my abdomen and fluid started and kept pouring out again.  She took this special long, sterile qtip, and stuck it in to where the fluid was coming out.  Yeah, I have a hole IN my abodomen.  My last surgery before this one, I came out of my debridment with a hole that was 6 cm deep and 9 cm long.  Well she measured and I now have a hole INSIDE me, covered by my sutured skin, that is  7.5 cm deep and 10 cm long.  Since most of my skin is now closed, its pooling up inside me and then pouring out when it gets full.  How awesome is that??  So basically I have this HUGE risk of infection again, due to this fluid sitting around too long and getting infected.  Nurse is waiting for a call back from dr, but its looking like they will have to pack this giant hole inside me to keep it from not draining and getting infected, but all through this tiny hole left in my abdomen?  Anyone remember how my whole infection started??  A tiny hole in my abdomen from surgery, where stuff collected up within me, became infected and just ATE right through all my healthy tissue.   I can't believe I have gone through all this, just to be right back here.  WHY did I go through with that last surgery to close things up and be done with it all.  Seriously, I know you are supposed to trust your drs, but inside my head, I wanted to run from this surgery.  I just felt like it was bad news and I told Doug that, but we talked it over and he said it all sounded like it made sense and we could finally put this past us and how nice would it be to have a closed abdomen.  And of course, it did sound nice.  I let that little voice screaming within me be quieted with thoughts of an autumn with a closed stomach.

This sucks.  Plain old fricken sucks.  No filters today on my language....It's just not fair!!!  I went through hell and back to bring Ansen to this world.  CAN I GET A BREAK NOW....PLEASE!!!  Just waiting to hear back from my nurse as to whether we will start packing again, whether I will get to start having twice a day nurse visits (which would mean I would have to see that horrible night nurse again who gave me grief about going out in the van for rides-supposed to be 100% homebound, no ands, ifs or buts.  Whatever.  It all makes know, sense in the world that has been my life for too long-since spring was ruined, summer was ruined, why not fall be ruined as well.   No rest for the weary.  *cry*

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To my maternal fetal specialist

Dear Dr. Healey; 

Well here is a letter a long time coming.  I have thought about exactly what I would want to say to you after all was said and done many, many times before.  How grateful I would be.   But I don't even think a simple thank you can express what I feel.  Last November, my new ob/gyn looked at my 6 week ultrasound and said "you have no other choice but to terminate this pregnancy".  She assured me I could have another one, that this one was simply "a bad one".   I was horrified.  And I didn't agree right away to her insistance that I terminate, nor did I go about picking a method of termination that she then began to describe.  And maybe bc of my look of horror, she did finally give your office a call to be sent in for a stat ultrasound at your office.  As I left her office, numb and in shock-all I could do was to call out to God to please give me some glimmer of hope at this appointment.  For God to give me ANYTHING but this.  It didn't have to be much, but I couldn't face being told again that I had to end my baby's life. 

I went in, had my ultrasound, and then a maternal/fetal doctor came in to talk to me.  He told me that he didn't suspect that baby had implanted INTO c-section scar like other ob/gyn had diagnosed.  But that he was very sorry, it looked like I was almost guaranteed a miscarriage, that sac was detaching and dropping-immenent miscarriage signs.  It still didn't look good, but it wasn't the worst that it had been only hours before.  This doctor spoke with a kindness and offered a sincere condolence.  And he told me to make an appointment a week after to see what had resulted.   This doctor was you.  I don't know if you remember this, but it stands out to me, bc it was the moment that my baby was given the tiniest glimmer of hope.  I would leave the hospital with a baby that was still alive.  Although it surely appeared fleeting, it meant that he could live, even if was only just a little while longer.  I didn't have to make a choice to end one of God's creations, something I didn't think I would ever truly forgive myself for, medical or not.  You gave my baby time.  And that time resulted in one heck of a journey and one heck of a fighter of a baby.  He IS here today bc of you and that day. 

The journey getting him here sucked majorly, I won't lie.  Having to put your life on the line to bring one of your children into the world is not something I would wish on anyone.  But when I found out you would be taking on the surgery, I felt great peace.  You saved my child once and I knew you were meant to be the one that would bring him into this world-to officially introduce him to his well earned life.  I couldn't think of anyone better to do that job.  I am sure my case brought you many headaches, but I can't thank you enough for taking me on and setting up an amazing team of doctors for my very risky surgery-and of course for the life that my son now has bc of it. 

My son now has an entire lifetime in front of him, bc of you.  He will touch many people, friend many people, inspire many people, he will very likely marry and have his own children that will do the same.  A whole life path that was at many times threatened for various reasons.   A different day, a different doctor, and he might not be here today.  He will know his story.  I will forever appreciate his story.  Thank you for making a difference in our family's lives.  I don't think even a million thank yous would ever be sufficient to express our gratitude.  Thank you, Dr. Healey.  Ansen Gabriel thanks you as well.      

Sincerely, Melissa N and family

Monday, September 20, 2010

the beauty of going....

from this...
to this......
to last but but not least....

Yep, it's a beautiful thing!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just when I thought I was done with the surgeries....

AUGH.  I went to my wound care appt yesterday and bc the two sides ending up healing on two very different planes, its going to take A WHILE for it to be able to meet up.  The dr recommended surgery to fix that and finally close it all for good.  Of course, the first thing I asked was about how much infection risk this surgery would be.  Very minimal, like 1-3 % chance.  He wants to open up the whole thing (but just skin-not my insides this time) and fix the entire thing.  Augh.  So I figured I had time to think about this.  I asked my nurse this morning, and she is just nervous about infection like I am.  Figured I had some time, with so much to think about.  JUST got a call that surgery has been scheduled for........TOMORROW.  Blah.    I feel sick.  I am not looking forward to cutting the skin open again.  Not looking forward to pain.  Or a whole stomach of sutures.  Not looking forward to losing all the mobility I finally have again.  I am so scared of any risks.  I am nervous about potential for infection.  Should I just wait it out another month plus, for this to heal on its own.  Or have this surgery, and *hopefully* from  what I have been told, have the whole area sutured up finally, no holes in my abdomen, no more packing needed, no more daily nurse visits necessary, and 2 weeks from now, I would get sutures out and all would be healed and that would that.  Sounds tempting of course.  Just worried.  You would think I would be an old pro by now....five surgeries later.  Whats another, right??  But it still worries me.  I hate being put to sleep.  And I don't have time to be out of commission anymore.  Here's hoping everything goes off tomorrow without a hitch (if I don't change my mind and run away from the whole thing by tomorrow....)  Blah.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Need to remember....

Its been easy for me to feel so proud of what I fought for and how it all turned out.  But in reality, I need to give the glory of it all to God...and sometimes I think I am giving myself too much credit and not giving God enough.  My faith was what taught me how important Ansen's little life could be back at 6 weeks when I was told to terminate and my faith gave me the strength to continue on day after day....during the toughest of times.  Everyone says "you were so strong, how did you do it?"  Well without God, I would have surely failed.  I would have thought of only me, me, me....and perhaps I would have found that none of this would be in my best interest.  But instead, I appreciated and valued that God had created Ansen's little life for a reason....and He didn't create it, only to hand over the right  for me to end that life.  I knew I had to fight for him, bc who am I to say I personally know more then God's will.  God's will lead us down many roads we didn't want to travel, but I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't trudged along the most difficult of travels.  And all the time, I was never truly alone.  It's a good feeling to know you have God on your side.

I am so grateful that God granted us this last little blessed to have these 6 lives now to mold and shape into the people He wants them to be.  I need to remember to give God thanks every hour of every day for the world around us/the people around me/for what we are lucky enough to have.  I need to thank God for this changing weather, for the cool weather we are welcoming with open arms, for the pumpkins and the changing leaves and the tights and the sweatshirts and the scarecrows and soccer and a new baby that gets to see fall for the first time, myself getting to experience another fall (at times this last year I wasn't sure if that would be my future), as well as a husband and 5 other excited children, that are giddy with excitment for fall.  I am thankful for another year to homeschool my children...another year to teach them and learn so much myself from their young, innocent minds.  All of this brought to our family by God. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Totally NOT a patient person....

Now that the wound bed is close to having filled itself in (a two plus month process), I am increasingly impatient for it to just finish its healing.  Seems to have MAJORLY slowed down now.  I am starting to contemplate getting a protein supplement, bc I don't know if I am taking in enough for me with this growing, eating all the time baby of mine (who weighs in at over 13 lbs now-go Ansen).  Once the wound bed is completely filled in, then it will be a normal injury like if you cut open your won't need to be packed, and the skin will be able to find its way back together.  My visiting nurse said its going to be a THICK scar the way its healing.  I felt it for the first time  (the top healed part) and I gotta admit its kinda creepy.  First of all, its completely numb....absolutely no feeling whatsoever.  Have had numb areas before, can't feel the whole bottom of my stomach bc of number of c-section.  But then its all hard doesn't feel human at all, much more like something synthetic.  The scar tissue is very dense and fibrous from all the cutting and healing, cutting and healing it had to do, over and over again.  This thing is at least 14 cm long, its just going to be freaky having this hard, numb feeling for the majority of my belly for the rest of my life (especially when one is used to a nice soft, squishy belly haha).  But what can I complain about, right?  I am here, alive, for my babies and Doug, and Ansen is here with us as well. 

Thankfully this body isn't forever....although I would like to keep it for another 50 years if possible.  My belly might be creepy and not something I ever want to touch or look at again, but I have 6 good reasons that will help keep my mind off my bellybutton-less stomach.  6 good reasons why it was all worth it.  I would do it all again, for any of my children.  We live in a world where its ingrained that you should put yourself and your appearance first and foremost.  And although, I want to be healthy obviously, I have given up on having a pretty fact, I have given up on having a stomach that looks even half normal.  My stomach will look downright WEIRD for the rest of my life.   If I cared so much, I could have tons of surgeries, and get back a dream stomach.  But none of that matters.  I am alive and here for my children still, and God didn't give me this opportunity to rebeautify this body of mine!  All in all, I am hoping that my ugly stomach can help others see beauty and hope of God's work in our lives.  It's been an amazing journey for my heart and soul, that's for sure!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Sweet relief.  I got some pictures taken of all kids together, and its such a nice AHHHHHHHHHHHHH feeling to see all 6 of the children we were meant to have, together in our pics.  Nobody is missing.  Everyone is there.   Last year, we got pics taken of the girls together and the boys together, and when I looked at the pics, someone was still missing and it made me sad every time I looked at them.  I never did put them up, bc it just didn't feel right yet.  And now that everyone is here...together....I just can't wait to get these pics UP on the wall, to stay for a LONG time!!!  This is MY family, all the children that we were meant to raise.  Our family of 8.  It makes me giddy that we are FINALLY all together, safey.  Here are the proofs of my AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH pics. :)

Thank you God for completing our family, and getting Ansen and I both through this pregnancy safely.  I could thank you every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year, and it still wouldn't be enough thank yous.  SO grateful for my beautiful family...and the chance I have to raise them, teach them, hug them, and love them!