Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Can Totally Relate

As most of you probably know, I'm a huge fan of Bill Rancic and have been since his first appearance (yes, episode 1) of The Apprentice. As I "followed" his career, naturally I got to know Giuliana. I am a fan of their show and love watching them as a couple. (Though I am jealous of how often they're in Chicago!) This season has been difficult to watch and we're only two episodes in. As G deals with the personal struggle of her cancer diagnosis and as Bill tries to be the strong husband, whose only concern is for the well being of his wife, I find myself reflecting back on the last 7 months. We're watching her family come together and her friends give support. We're watching a husband filled with fear that he cannot show. It's all too familiar. Though my "condition" was not fatal, I too experienced the raw emotion that comes with the fear of the unknown.

Watching Bill tonight made me think back to how my hubby handled himself during our most difficult times. He was my strength, no doubt about it. I was completely dysfunctional and unable to think. I could really only bring myself to sit and cry. In fact, the week between getting the fatal diagnosis and my surgery is a complete blur. I remember nothing but thinking I couldn't possibly have another tear to shed only to be proven wrong. In contrast, I don't think hubby shed a tear until around mid-December. For all I know he was crying in the shower every night, but I never saw him face it until well after we got the news that the baby's condition was not genetic and we knew "everything would be okay." Tonight, watching the sadness in Bill's eyes I thought about what it must've been like for hubby to try to stay strong all while dealing with the emotion of losing his first baby and watching his wife go through a difficult surgery. To this day, I don't know how he held it together but I'm thankful he did. And hunni, if you're reading this....regardless of what you say....I know you'd walk to the edge of the ocean. I love you.

G's mom cracks me up. I lost count how many times Mama DePandi tried to feed Giuliana. Just like G's mom, my mom came racing to my side the day we found out about the baby. She was amazing. She gave me my space without ever making me feel alone. She supported me in the way she knew I needed her to...from a distance. I hated telling my mom that the grand-baby she has longed for since I married the hubby wasn't coming. It really broke my heart and there were times I was more upset for her than I was for us. As broken as her heart was (and is) she never, not once, made me feel badly about choosing to terminate. She supported our decision from the second we shared it and never wavered from her position that this was our family and she was there for us. Her hugs dried my tears. I'm 31-years-old and those hugs have dried A LOT of tears. For that, I will forever be thankful and grateful. She really is "Somebody's Hero." 

Tonight, we also go to see some of G's friends. We saw her friends lifting her up and making her smile. It brought a tear to my eye because sometimes I feel like I didn't have that. Our situation was tough and not many people knew what to say. For fear of saying the wrong thing, they just didn't say anything at all. At points, I felt pretty alone. I felt judged. I wanted to reach out but I knew that people were uncomfortable facing the reality of what we were going through. Hell, I was uncomfortable facing the reality. It's weird, while a part of me wishes that people had reached out to me, there is another part of me is thankful that I had the time to deal with this alone. I'm a pretty independent person and I did appreciate being along with my thoughts, as scattered as they were.

There are friends who I expected to be there for me that I feel like weren't. There are people that I never expected to stand so unconditionally by my side and did. There are some people with whom I haven't spoken since everything "went down." There are people that are still afraid to talk about it. In the beginning I felt sad about that, sad about losing friends over something so personally tragic. I'm okay with it now. I don't hate anyone and I'm not upset with anyone. This was tough for everyone involved, directly and indirectly, and I understand that it may have just been too much for some to bear. We all deal with things differently. Supported or not, I have never felt abandoned and that is what is most important.

Anyway, I've been feeling emotional lately and just wanted to get this all out. I really don't know where I'd be mentally if it weren't for this blog. So, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In a Good Place

Well, I must be in a good place. It's not something I just have to say anymore...now it's true! If you've been reading my blogs you know that my boss was pregnant, due April 6th, just four short weeks after my very own due date of March 11th. Well, baby boy had different plans. AFter 30 hours of labor (eek!) my boss gave birth to her son. He was born March 27th just before 10pm and was 21 1/2 inches long and weighed in at a health 8 lbs. 7 oz. And....he is perfect.(Well, perfect aside from the fact that they're over an hour away!)

As you may recall, watching my boss's belly grow often made me sad. Though I was thrilled for her and her wonderful husband, it was a daily reminder that my belly wouldn't be growing. I wouldn't be a mommy. We wouldn't have play-dates.  We wouldn't be on leave at the same time (like we so often joked about). We wouldn't share clothes or stories. It got easier each week and for that I'm grateful. The human heart is an amazing thing and really has unbelievable healing capabilities. By the end of her pregnancy I was just ready to meet her little man.

They were discharged from the hospital Friday so naturally by Saturday they were ready for visitors, right? Well, boss lady was nice and said we (another work friend and me) could come over for a bit. WAHOO, well....wait. It wasn't until I got into the car and started wrapping the welcome gift we bought that I got a little nervous. Would I cry? Would seeing a newborn be too much? Should I be going? Am I ready for this? They were fleeting thoughts and I didn't mention them to my friend (who was driving.) I really wanted to see my boss and meet that beautiful baby boy. I decided I would work through any emotions and just "power forward." (Which is the advice I always give to my students.) I also knew that if I did cry or get emotional, everyone would understand. Like I said, she and her husband are wonderful people.

So, we got to the house and baby was asleep on his Daddy. TOO PRECIOUS! As soon as my boss said, "you can hold him" I scooped that little boy up and totally hogged him. He was the tiniest, sweetest, most perfectly wonderful little boy. I smiled so bright and fell in love immediately.

I didn't shed a tear. My heart didn't ache for what I lost. Instead, I was filled with so much love and happiness that I got a bit confused. Shouldn't this make me sad? Shouldn't it make me angry and resentful? Shouldn't I be thinking why not me? The answer to all of these questions is an absolute NO! I shouldn't be sad. I shouldn't be angry or resentful. I shouldn't be asking why me. I have worked really hard over the last 6 months to come to terms and explain away what happened to us. I have spent hours reading blogs, writing blogs, reading articles and talking to other families who have been faced with difficult decisions. All of it has helped heal me. YOU have helped heal me, so thank you for reading and being my support. I never found the answer to explain why but I did find out how much we are loved. That makes it okay that I don't know why.

I truly am in a good place and cannot wait to see what our future holds. (No, we're not trying to get preggers right now. That would be a December baby and that's a no no in this family!) I feel blessed to have had such a strong and loving support system through all of this. Everyone told me how strong I was but it was really your strength that was carrying me. I do believe that this all happened for a reason and I used to want to know why. Now, I'm okay not knowing. I do know that my experience has ignited a passion inside me and I will fight to the death to keep women's rights where they belong....WITH THE WOMAN.