This week's Spin Cycle, brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming is on the topic: "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Of course, this title brings me back to the horror of reading a Tale of Two Cities in World History back in high school, but I don't think that's what she meant. I never really got that book anyway. Or liked it, for that matter. But anyway....
So it took a little thinking on what exactly in my life would fall under that theme aside from reading that God-awful book. When in my life would I say it was the best of times and worst of times? And immediately I thought of one period - my pregnancy.
Now I should preface, I don't say that because being pregnant was the worst of times. It had its ups and downs, but I consider the entire thing a blessing. But it was more so everything that was going on during it that make me think this. I would link back to a post in particular, but I don't think that's possible. For those of you who haven't read my blog for very long, I'm talking about the period of time basically from June 2011 until February 2012. Of course, I didn't really reveal I was pregnant until August 2011 so I guess that would be my starting point. But the "worst" of times started before then.
I was a high risk pregnancy due to my congenital heart defect. Before we could even consider the option of getting pregnant, T and I had to go through hell - consultations with cardiologists where the risks of my aorta rupturing were discussed, intensive tests, genetic counseling, you name it. But the benefits outweighed the risks so we decided to go for it, and we got pregnant in June 2011. However, at the same time, my family was going through a very tough time. My Grandpa, who had already had a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, also was diagnosed with renal failure. He wasn't going to get better. We were basically told we would watch him slowly deteriorate, and my mom and her siblings made the tough decision to put him into assisted living. However, he was not in there for long before he was put into nursing home care. Shortly after I became pregnant, things took a quick turn for the worse. I was pregnant second to last time I saw him when we went to visit him in the nursing home, and he couldn't remember I was married, let alone the fact I was pregnant. My mom had to keep reminding him. I would joke with him because Aubrey's due date was his birthday, February 22nd, and he would say "well, maybe you'd name the baby George." The very last time I saw him was our family reunion on July 30th. I know it would be the last time. I had to say good bye which was one of the hardest moments in my life. I didn't want to let go.
Throughout my pregnancy, we had all of the normal firsts every couple had - the first ultrasound, finding out the sex of the baby, feeling her kick, getting more and more excited each day for Aubrey's arrival as we put together her nursery and talked about her plans for the future. I was elated. I was so happy to be a mother, and I couldn't have felt more blessed.
At the same time, T and I lived in fear. My blood pressure was rising each day, we had monthly, then weekly doctor's visits to monitor my heart rate, her heart rate, her size, everything. We were told there was a risk she'd have my heart defect. We were told there was a risk that she would be still-born because of her size. We were scared and excited at the same time.
And all along, I was reminded daily that I had to keep my stress down in order to lower my blood pressure. I was on three medications for blood pressure alone, and still, it was relatively high. I had an emergency echo-cardiogram done in January when my heart rate was 144. It was scary. And telling a pregnant woman who is already high risk and watching her Grandpa die and family deal with all of this that she needs to keep her stress low? That's almost laughable.
July 30th had to be the last time I saw him. I remember the phone call with my mom when she told me he was put in hospice care. I said I wanted to see him to say good bye, and she told me no, that I said my good byes, this isn't how I would want to remember him, and this isn't what he would want for me. I had to put my health and Aubrey's health first. It was too much of a risk to put myself into that level of stress.
So I didn't get that last chance. I don't really regret it because I'm not sure it would be how I would want to remember him. But the day we found out he passed, I felt a sense of relief and of just immense sorrow. Going through a four hour wake, a three hour funeral, and all that accompanied that was hard. It was really hard. I had T by my side the whole time, but I was 8 months pregnant at the time.
Once everything happened, I had no choice to move forward. In the back of my mind, I couldn't ignore the irony that she was due on his birthday. And she carries my Grandma, his wife's, middle name as her middle name. But with the peace that accompanied his passing, came the joy of my daughter's arrival. The "best of times" took over, and T and I welcomed our baby girl on February 15, 2012. I had no doubt he was watching over me as we were in the hospital. I have no doubt that he watches over Aubrey every day.
So yes, it was the worst of times, but I feel the best of times far outweigh the worst. Sometimes I find myself going back and reading through those old posts, especially the ones where I just lose it, when I felt like it was just too much to bear, and I see how strong I really was during that time. I had to be because being strong was the only option for Aubrey. And in the end, I have the most amazing gift anyone could ever be given - God had entrusted T and I with the life of this amazing little girl.
So stop by Gretchen's and see what other Spinners have to share. These posts could be very interesting...