Tuesday, November 14, 2006

10 years

I've told very few people this story, but seeing as how it is the 10th anniversary today of this event, I decided it was time to purge this from my system and move on with my life, knowing that I have made peace with myself.

*note* if you don't want to hear the ins and outs of my body, do not read on.*

10 years ago, I was a newlywed still, with a seven-month old son and a 3.5 year old son. After 10 some-odd years of having breasts shaped like bananas, I finally decided to approach my family doctor about having a breast reduction. See, I wasn't terribly concerned about their size, it was their shape. Yep...banana boobs are me (or, at least, then, WERE me). I spent four gruelling month trying not to suffocate my poor middle son, breastfeeding was a chore. I had to hold Chrisco with one hand and my breast up with the other, so as to not smother my poor son. After 10 years of misshapen hell, I bit the bullet and talked to my doctor. I explained that I'd been having back pain with the heaviness (and misshapenness) and wanted to know what I could do about it. She almost immediately booked me for a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a person who would go through this just for the sake of getting 'perkier' breasts. I spent most of my early teen years (and subsequently, my later teen years) in bras that were either too big or didn't support properly, so in the end, I NEEDED this 'alteration'. Not wanted...NEEDED. When one's nipples brust against the BOTTOM of the ribcage sans brassiere, you know you need something done!

Anywho, that was in September of 1996. I was scheduled for surgery in mid-October. I have to admit, I was nervous at the final consultation. They took my blood, did all the normal tests, and asked me all sorts of questions. Had I ever had surgery before (I hadn't, except for exploratory), how many times had I been pregnant (twice) and was there any possibility that I could be pregnant right now (I answer no, because at the time, I honestly didn't think so... continue reading to see how wrong I was *sigh*)

So in I went. Three and a half hours later, I woke up with...ta da!! Perfect, perky 38B boobies (I went in with 42DD's). B's were to be only temporary though, as two years later, I got pregnant with The Bear and up they went to (still perky!) C's, but hey, I could live with that!! After about a year and a half, my scars were a 'part' of me, I didn't even notice them anymore (and neither did Hubby!). Scars of a different nature, however, haunted me for years after.

About two weeks after the surgery, I started sensing that something was amiss. Something was VERY wrong. Where was my period? I should have gotten it about 10 days after surgery, and because of the Pill, I was regular like clockwork. After being pregnant twice and knowing almost immediately I was pregnant, I decided to ask my family doctor (upon seeing her for a post-op checkup) if she would book me for a pregnancy test.

48 hours later, I got my answer. I was pregnant, and from what the doctor could see, I was about 7 weeks at that point. I've never cried so hard in my life. In my surgery, they used some very powerful pain killers when I woke up to keep me in a very fuzzy state for the first 12 or 18 hours after. I knew that a baby just developing didn't stand a chance. I had my doctor book me in to see a specialist in the other A-town, where he performed an ultrasound. I know doctors are supposed to be impartial (something about transference or some such crap), but looking at this doctor, looking at the ultrasound of my budding uterus, I knew. I knew it was bad. My then 11-week old fetus (yes, this booking took FOUR weeks...four weeks of waiting and worrying) wasn't developing properly. He (by all accounts, the doctor figured that it was a male) had no legs, no arms and from what he could see, possibly no brain...a great gaping whole in the side of his head confirmed that his skull bones had only formed on 25% of his head. They could see a heartbeat, but the doctor told me that it was almost a sureity that he wouldn't survive past the second trimester. I was devastated, and thought I couldn't feel any worse when he gave me that diagnosis. Boy was I wrong.

Doc scheduled me for what he called a T.A.: Therapeutic Abortion. Gods, even now, I look at those words and cringe. The next two and a half weeks went by in a sort of blur. I hardly ate, I never slept, and the worst of it was, I couldn't TELL anyone. I couldn't deal with the fact that I was doing something I had always been at least in part opposed to. The logical part of my brain was saying "don't feel guilty, there's nothing you could have done to prevent this", while the other part of my brain was saying "you COULD have prevented this by not being a doughhead and saying 'yes, there WAS a possibility you could be pregnant, albeit a SMALL one'"

I remember getting in the car in the morning (my D&C was for 8:00 a.m), and I remember driving into the hospital parking lot. I don't remember the 25 minute drive there. I was a zombie after not sleeping for so long. My sons were both missing their Mommy, who'd turned into this unfeeling, uncaring thing. Now, any of you who know me in real life know that that kind of woman is NOT who I am. For 7 weeks, I was an automaton. I didn't want to hold my youngest son, I virtually ignored my oldest, and my Hubby and I hadn't made love since before my surgery. I was a broken girl, and I didn't know how I could even begin to put myself back together.

As they prepped me for surgery, I remember the nurse placing the anaestetic mask over my nose and mouth and asking me to breathe deeply. My last conscious act was to quickly remove the mask and ask the nurse to "please say good bye to him for me". I remember her smiling kindly (and kind of sadly) and nodding, saying that she would. I was crying as I went under.

I was crying as I came to, in a small, cold hospital room. As soon as I was conscious of my surroundings, I started to sob, knowing that it was all over, but my pain was just beginning. How was I going to tell my family? How was I going to tell my friends? I just didn't know.

Hubby came into the room, and maddeningly, tried to act as if we hadn't just removed baby #3 from my womb and (I thought) ruined any chance of having another child. It took a full three months after the T.A. for me to finally feel 'well' enough to have sex again, something that Hubby couldn't understand, no matter how hard I tried to explain to him. I just couldn't deal with it. I never went for counselling. I'd only told a very few people (none of my immediate family were amongst these chosen few) about what had happened, and this festered in the back of my mind and in the pit of my heart for a long time.

Oddly enough, the day I finally came to terms with losing JJ (his name would have been Jason Jeremy, after my deceased twin brothers RIP January 1971) when I found out that the 20 week old fetus I was carrying in September 1998 was, in fact, a GIRL. A genetic 'misfire', to be sure, as the last girl child to be born in Hubby's family was born in 1901!!

And when The Bear came into this world, I knew that JJ was just The Bear in spirit. She wasn't yet ready to be born (and darn it, she didn't want to be born a BOY!) and I knew that everything happens for a reason. I still mourn my little JJ, but I also know that if he hadn't given up his place in the world, The Bear would never have been born. I thank my Little One for her every day.

10 years ago, I lost a little boy, but I gained the chance to have a little girl. Rest with the angels, dearest JJ. Mommy loves you still and always.


At 9:57 a.m. , Anonymous Elad said...

Rae, It is amazing how strong and brave we women can be. You are not alone. My little one also gave up her place in the world so that my Emerald could live in it. Thanks for sharing.

At 2:44 p.m. , Anonymous chasmyn said...

What a difficult and touching story. Thank you for sharing it. I had two miscarriages between losing my first son and conceiving my second. They were a sort of blur in a long series of pain. Maybe I wasn't ready yet, I don't know. But Kiernen is my joy and my healing.

At 9:35 p.m. , Blogger T said...

Thanks for sharing Rae( hugs) We have more in common then I knew. I also had to loose a child for medical reason. They were twins. Not one day goes by that I dont think of them. I feel your pain. I am glad you had the strength to tell your story. Maybe I will too one day.

At 9:51 a.m. , Blogger draven said...

Thank you for sharing your story, you have incredable strength... I lost a baby back in january and was a mess for a while... I am now expecting another baby due in january around the time i lost the one...


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