Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Great Big Truth

I debated on whether or not to even post this, but I figured, I’ve shared the ugly truth about grief and losing a child, so why stop sharing?

I’m a southern girl with a healthy love of sweet tea, buttermilk biscuits, and red velvet cake.  I also have an early-90’s-Delta-Burke type figure.  I’m overweight.  There, I said it.  Now, if you’re reading this, and you know me in “real life,” please know that I’m sharing something very personal and please treat it as such…not an opportunity to gossip and be hurtful, not that southern ladies gossip! ;)  I do love (loathe) that if you say, “bless her heart,” after any horrible comment, it’s acceptable.  But really, this is about healing. K thanks!

I was actually a fairly thin young girl.  I hit some serious growth spurts and was even the tallest kid in my class in grade school!  My weight didn’t really ever creep up until my junior year of high school.  I kind of pudged up that year, but then went through a bit of a rough time and dropped about 30 pounds and was very active. I sailed through staying effortlessly thin until my junior year of college.  I had met my husband the year before and we were engaged by this point.  I guess I felt comfortable, so the pounds started packing on.  Realizing that this was an issue, I joined Weight Watchers to get the weight off before our wedding.  I did pretty well, and considered it a minor success (I didn't quite meet my goal).  After we were married and I had graduated from college, I started working and was too busy and stressed to take care of myself (excuses, excuses). 

Fast forward 6 years.  We’d been trying to get pregnant for a while (read at least a year) and weren’t having any luck.  My OB-GYN had consistently told me that I was overweight with each visit every year.  One more reason I LOVED getting to go for that yearly checkup…Not!  Then she said that it could impede our baby-having.  That got my attention.  So, I sucked it up and joined Weight Watchers again.  I was slowly losing a little, then I got the positive pregnancy test.  I really took care of myself when I was pregnant with Caroline.  I tried to baby my body as a way of babying my baby.  I made it through that pregnancy healthily, gaining 25-30 pounds with a healthy baby girl…until she wasn’t.  I have to admit that I’ve wondered if I’d been thin, if she would have made it.  Apparently this isn’t the case, because I even worked up the nerve to ask my doctor.

After Caroline was born, the grief took care of the weight.  Those pounds fell off.  My very heart was broken and it hurt to breathe, eating was the last thing on my mind.  Nothing tasted god, nothing sounded good, I was just trying to keep breathing.  A few weeks later, I had started to gain back a tiny bit of appetite, and tried to eat things that were good for me, not junk.  I had lost all of my pregnancy weight by about 5 weeks…I started thinking about getting serious about weight loss again, then I was late on my period.  I was pregnant again!  What a miracle!  6 weeks after her sister was born, I got pregnant with Addalee.  I still looked pregnant!  Like really pregnant.  But hey, at least I really was again, so I had a reason to let that belly just be free!  But seriously, I was self-conscious about my weight even during pregnancy. 

Through my pregnancy with Addalee, things weren’t as peaceful and easy as they had been with Caroline.  I had TROUBLE gaining weight.  Wait, what?  I was put on these shakes 2-3 times a day.  She measured on track, though a little on the small side, so it wasn’t a huge concern.  Through the pregnancy, I developed gestational diabetes which meant that I had to really watch what I ate.  I essentially went on the South Beach Diet to manage the diabetes.  It worked, and I didn’t require medication!  The end result was that I gained 4 pounds in my pregnancy with Addalee.  She was born weighing 5lbs 5oz at 36 weeks, so as soon as she was born; I was done with the pregnancy weight! 

The weight is only a portion of the story…back to back pregnancies have done nothing for my figure.  My body is really kind of sad looking!  Nothing fits and I’m uncomfortable in my own skin.  I always feel self conscious and frumpy.  The reason I’m sharing this is because there is surely another person out there who has looked at all the pictures of friends and acquaintances who have a baby and leave the hospital looking like they did before pregnancy.  Only to look at themselves and wonder what was wrong with their body and feel bad about their pooched out tummy and crazy stretch marks. 

I realize that I’m more than my body, thank God for that!  But I also realize that appearance is important.  I don’t want to be embarrassed to see old friends.  I want to feel comfortable in my own skin.  Why shouldn’t I feel pretty?  Why shouldn’t I be able to find one.single.pair.of.flattering.jeans? Since Addalee was born, I have lost 23 pounds beyond my pre-pregnancy weight.  I’m proud of this, but know I still have a long way to go. 

Do any of you face weight challenges?  What are you doing to lose weight?  Do you have an accountability partner?   What works and doesn’t work for you?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bills, Bills, Bills

I recently got a bill in the mail, from a doctor.  No big deal, you’re thinking; I did too, until I realized what it was for.  Caroline’s delivery. 

I still remember those days when my feelings were still so raw after losing our first precious girl, and the hospital and doctor bills came rolling in.  Each and every time I saw one of those envelopes, I felt like I was being punched in the face and gut at the same time.  It physically hurt to write those checks.  I literally wanted to write our story in the memo so that they would know that we were being billed crazy amounts of money and we didn’t get to keep the baby.  (I know that they still have to charge for medical care, even if someone dies, but it just doesn’t seem right.)

I don’t really understand how I’m getting a bill and it’s been 17 months since those beautiful awful hours.  Apparently, my insurance reversed a payment leaving me holding the bag.  Wonderful.  Honestly, it’s not even about the money at this point, but just the principle. 

Another problem is once something enters the convoluted world of insurance and claims and billing codes, it’s like trying to make sense of…well, nonsense.  After 2 long phone calls, I’m no closer to figuring out what is actually going on.  I’m kind of starting to wonder why I pay all this money for health insurance if they’re just going to come along 1 year and a half later and decide that they’re not really going to pay.

Thankfully, I have a super awesome ray of sunshine here to help distract me from the annoyance!  She’s a smiley, jibber-jabbering, walker-waking, sweet blessing and she makes each and every day brighter. 

Just a note:  When she smiles, her cheeks look just like Caroline’s.  I love seeing some of our angel baby in our baby that we have with us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

That Pesky 'Other Shoe'

As I said before, I’m a card carrying worrier.  It’s something that has actually been robbing me of quite a lot of time lately.  I’m sad to say, but I don’t enjoy life the way I should, because I always feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I actually have to admit, that when I look around and see good things, I enjoy it for a split second.  Then this ugly voice comes clearly from the back of my mind…telling me that it could all be ripped away. 

I don’t remember ever being a serious “Debbie Downer” in my earlier days.  This is something that has come from the bumps and bruises I’ve accumulated over the years, mostly losing Caroline.  I try not to share my un-rose-colored outlook with those around me.  I don’t want everyone else to miss out on living.  I don’t want to miss out on living.

I’ve struggled with reconciling the horribleness of losing our first daughter with the goodness of other areas of life.  I’ll never forget feeling almost stupid after we were told that she was gone.  It was kind of like someone was saying, “There ya go…see?  You had too many good things.  You banked on bringing this little girl home.  You got too big for your britches, and now you don’t get to keep her.”  I felt foolish for not seeing it coming.  So now, I feel like I’m always looking over my shoulder for the next horrible thing. 

My thinking is so incredibly flawed.  God is gracious and loving, and not focusing on that means that I’m missing out on who He really is.  Honestly, I feel like I trust Him with my eternal soul, but have a hard time letting Him handle the daily details of my life.  I know in my heart that He wants good things for me.  In Romans 8:28 it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” 

I’m sure that I’m not the only person out there who feels like if things start going too good, something bad is bound to happen.  I’m telling you today that I’m scared, too.  You’re not alone in that fear.  But I’m also deciding to fight to live not under the shadow of fear and doubt.  Starting now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sip & See

We are blessed to have people who wanted to do something for us in baby shower form before Addalee was born.  We’re even more blessed (in my opinion) to have so many wonderful people understand why we weren’t comfortable with that.  So, my sweet friends suggested we have a Sip & See.

I’d never really seen one, but understood the concept, and I was thrilled!  So, we showed up, and I was blown away.  It was all so pretty!  Everything was awesome!  The food was great and the friends were amazing! 

There was a special little moment too – while sitting at a table and chatting, I looked around and we were pretty much all moms who were missing a baby.  We talked a little about our kids that weren’t with us, shared some tears, and lots of love and support.  What a special gift!  I was so happy to be able to bring Caroline so much into this event that was centered on Addalee.

Simply blessed.

*The Sip&See actually happened at the end of January, and somehow I haven't gotten this posted until now.*