A little over a month ago I did another Facebook live video. I was in the hospital on pain meds for the gallbladder that was later removed. I don’t like being high, so I didn’t handle it well and the video was kinda all over the place, but authentic. Not one of my best Facebook live encouragements, but one I wanted to flesh out here. While not on drugs. All of my live videos are public and I’m easily searchable.
This year has so far been a series of events that were foreshadowed by something else in my life at some point. Something complex and scary before me was similarly experienced in a previous experience that is now part of my history. It’s about getting through on the strength earned before.
Taking it back a few years, I chose to be a surrogate mother after having my 3 children. I did 6 IVF cycles. This means weeks of intramuscular injections into the upper, outer quadrant of my rear end. It was typically at least a shot if not two a day and I still have the scar tissue from it. Any shot in that area is super painful because of all the shots I had before.
When I had pulmonary embolisms, I was given lovenox shots until my blood was thin enough to be sustained without the risk of blood clots on coumadin pills. I was already past the fear of injecting myself with medicine, and I was already accustomed to the schedule of medication because taking hormones on time is so important in IVF assisted pregnancies. It’s just as important when you want to not let your body create blood clots that can travel to your heart or brain and kill you.
My last pregnancy was twin girls born at 29 weeks. I was hospitalized at 25 weeks because my body was trying to deliver them early. I was technically in labor for a month. I have had five easy labors before that which means I didn’t feel a thing until just before they were born.
Back to that hospital visit for my gallbladder . . . I started feeling pain and while doing standard tests to treat me at the hospital, I found out I was 3 weeks pregnant. Too early to miss a period, feel body changes, or see anything by ultrasound. I knew the lovenox shots would start and they did within 24 hours of that positive test. I have been here. It was a stretch, but not one that was unfamiliar.
At the start of my 5th week of pregnancy, I had my gallbladder removed. There was no way it could have waited for the pregnancy to end or the second trimester to begin. It needed to be done. The pregnancy had already survived 2 CT Scans with Iodine. We were already defying the odds and I hoped we’d get through general anesthesia and my surgery.
After surgery, refusing to take pain meds just 4 days after surgery (because I hate being drugged), and just before 6 weeks, I found out I am carrying twins. The baby split and they are growing in two sacs while sharing one placenta. Identical twins with two older brothers on the autism spectrum. I should be a gambling person.
At 8 weeks, I was feeling the strain of becoming parents with a man I had known 3 months. This wasn’t planned but I’m good at working with what I have, accepting that it’s not the situation but my interpretation of it that gives me control and empowerment. All of my insecurities about being drawn to an abusive relationship because it’s what I’m accustomed to and my pride over being a single mom doing well on my own hit me in a defensive way. We’re still figuring things out and making heroic efforts for each other, but part of me is content with being a single mom to these twins because that is the cowardly and easy road for me. I was a wife, entirely dependent on a husband and I had to figure out everything on my own, and giving up that control is painfully hard.
At 9 weeks my doctor went over some of the complications that could potentially come in serious depth. I have had embolisms, but it’s a genetic thing I was born with. I have Factor Five Leiden. It means my blood is great at clotting but not so great at stopping the formation of those clots. My doctor was a bit puzzled because it’s usually seen in caucasian and europeans but I look black. (My black genes can be traced back to slave ship America and there is history in my bloodline.) I laughed and told her it just means I’m special. It’s been that kind of a pregnancy and luckily she seems to see this as a challenge but not one worth giving up on. This chat has me sitting in the present as much as possible because it’s possible the pregnancy will be all I have. I’ve been a surrogate 3 times, so again this is familiar.
At 10 weeks, maternity clothes are a must. I was sitting down and a stranger asked how far along I am. Two prune size babies and I have an obviously pregnant belly. I am in between jobs and going on interviews, hoping I just look like I’m sporting a stress belly. Since it’s a pretty large momma belly, I’m ready to announce it because it won’t matter what I write here when I show up for an interview as a party of 3.
I have been in similar positions on this road so far, and some areas are new. I didn’t know that my liver would have to learn to function without a gallbladder and it would look like a breakup. Painful and messy. New lands in familiar places. I have had to give myself injections before to sustain a pregnancy and prevent blood clots, and I’m doing so again. I will probably have siblings or parents visit in the hospital but when I get home I don’t know if I will be on my own, caring for my older kids, and figuring out life with two infants. And gosh, I get to find a car big enough to carry me and my 5 minor children.
I’m looking at the future and I can see the road that lies in my past. I can see where I am strong. I can feel where I need to grow and how I need to ask for support. The road I’m on was created for me. No one could compare my journey to theirs because this life was created for me. I grow as it forces me to and no one else can do it for me. No one else can encourage me through it. They have their own lives to figure out.
Be your own cheering section. This road called life is a life you were called to. It’s meant to help you grow and reach places others will marvel at. It’s not what we’re given in life, but how we choose to grow from it that defines where we will one day land and the impact we’ll have on the lives of others.