Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It Could Be Worse

I remember when my sister was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, she began experiencing a barrage of verbal diarrhea from people.  When something bad happens to you, some people just don't know what to say.  It was so bad we actually wrote a musical number about it titled, "The Stupid Things That People Say When You Have Cancer".  We performed it at her 40th birthday party.  I think we effectively made every single person in that room uncomfortable due to the dark material, or just plain embarassed because they themselves had said one of the lines in the song.  Personally, I thought it was hilarious.

When we began telling people Ben had Down Syndrome, I was terrified of the responses. I had done WAY too much reading online about the horror stories that were the comments some of these new parents experienced.  Lucky enough for me, it hasn't been too bad yet.  There is one comment that got me thinking.  It's not a bad or a stupid comment, but it still just made me think.  The comment is, "It could be so much worse."  When people say this I know they are talking about the many conditions my child could be born with that cause him severe physical pain, surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, or even worse.  Even though I know that is what they are talking about, there is only one worse scenario that pops into my head and that is not being blessed with a child at all.  The only thing "worse" in the mind of Jamie is to have lived my entire life and never known the love I feel for this little man.  That, in my opinion, would be the worst case scenario.

It's no secret to those close to me that Mark and I had a less than perfect relationship.  We had so many issues there are too many to name.  These issues were multiplied when we added the inability to get pregnant into the mix.  Mark and I pulled the goalie, so to speak, mere months after we were married with the hopes of getting pregnant right away.  Needless to say, that didn't happen.  After multiple months and months of disappointment, I went to my OB.  It seems that I was not ovulating and she didn't think with the low level of hormone I was working with that I would get pregnant without help.  I was devastated.

Looking back, I now know why I wasn't ovulating.  STRESS.  Stress can do a number on your body.  It is a scary, scary thing.  Mark and I were barely talking.  He spent most of his time in the basement, and I threw myself into my career.  Our relationship had been flawed since the beginning due to our own issues individually, and we had yet to figure that out.  You see, we didn't fight.  With a few exceptions of those closest to us, everyone thought we were the PERFECT couple.  We were the couple that people looked up to.  I always had a big smile on my face, and hardly anybody ever saw us say one bad word to each other.  What most people didn't know is that we were both miserable.  Mark was dealing with his own demons and extremely unhappy with himself.  I kept trying to do everything in my power to make him happy which was just making the situation worse because I wasn't confronting him on anything.  We didn't fight.  I don't like to fight.  So, I did what I do best.  I held it all in and made the situation worse than it already was.  I began traveling more and more for work, Mark spent more and more time in the basement, and we spiraled FAST.

I left in January of 2012 with a huge chip on my shoulder.  If he was going to be miserable, that was HIS problem.  I, in my mind, was a great wife.  I did EVERYTHING for him.  I never yelled at him or nagged him, I gave selflessly in every area I could, and I tried to be everything he wanted me to be.  It didn't take too many therapy visits after I left to realize that, although he was in the wrong in a lot of ways, I was doing as much harm to our relationship as he was if not more.  Mark was in one of the darkest places of his life when I left, and me leaving woke him up.  He began doing everything he could to better himself, and I began spiraling down to my darkest point.  We effectively switched places.  He began getting healthy both mentally and physically, and really made the biggest transformation I had ever seen anyone make.  I've never been so proud and so in awe of somebody as I am of my husband.  He did what most cannot do.  He made the choice to change, and he did it.  I, on the other hand, began making horrible, HORRIBLE life choices and most of the time barely left my room.

With the help of my closest friends conspiring behind my back (Thank You Ramie and Kelly), I finally started to get out of my funk.  I began attending church again, and started dating my husband.  We began communicating like we never have before.  We dated.  We had many, many uncomfortable conversations.  We were brutally honest with each other.  We were fighting, and it was working.  We began praying together, and slowly but surely we came back together.  The entire time we were separated I always had this knawing feeling in the back of my mind that if I did the work, if I put in the effort, I would be rewarded.  This feeling was especially strong whenever I prayed.  After nearly nine months of separation, we walked into what was supposed to be our final court date and told the judge with smiles on our faces that we had reconciled and would like to throw our case out.

A few months after we had come back together, we started talking about children again.  We figured we would start actively trying again sometime in the Spring of 2013.  At the advice of my doctor, I stopped taking my birth control at the end of October 2012 to make sure it was out of my system.  I'm sure some of you have already done the math and figured out that I effectively got pregnant mere days after getting off birth control.  Talk about God having a plan...

Knowing what it feels like to think you may be infertile, I have the utmost sympathy for anyone that is going through that.  The day I told Mark that I was pregnant we were having an inspection done on a house we were thinking about buying.  Our relationship had never, EVER been stronger than it was at that point, things were coming together better than I could have imagined, and we (without even trying) were expecting our first child.

I am a new mom, so I am not pretending to have any amount of wisdom in the realm of having a child with a disability.  However, I can tell you that in my opinion, the only thing worse than any disability my child might have would be to not have this amazing blessing in my life at all.  Mark and I are more in love than we have ever been, we have a different, stronger love than we have ever had, and we have the hands down, most adorable blessing we ever could have imagined!

1 comment:

  1. You are an inspiration to a lot of people . But most of all to your son. Ben will grow to know what wonderful parents he has. Maybe not in his teens.
    :) But when he is old enough to understand what great people look like. And that is your family. Love ya!!!!


Would love to hear your thought, comments, advice, or emotional outbursts!

-xoxo Jamie