Thursday, October 18, 2012

I've fallen in love 9 times.

I've fallen in love 9 times.

I fell in love with Caroline, Jackson, Ryan and I carried them inside of me and gave birth to them.  Each was a unique experience, a unique love.

The other 5 times I have fallen in love with Josh.  The first time was 1998 and we were 17 years old.  We were married 6 years later.  Josh is tall and handsome.  When people who don't know him see his picture they always tell me he is handsome, and they are right.  I fell in love with Josh because he makes me laugh.  At him and at myself.  We smiled & laughed throughout our wedding -- we had such a great time.  That day I envisioned the life ahead of us with beautiful children.  I had always hoped for 4 kids, though we had agreed on "one at a time."  But I didn't envision one of our children dying, not when we were just 31-years-old, not ever.

I was caught off-guard when I fell in love with Josh for the second time.  Caroline had just been born, I mean like 15 minutes before.  I was resting in my bed at the hospital, and looked over to Josh who was sitting in the chair in the labor and delivery room.  He held his daughter, our daughter.  He transformed into a father before my eyes...a beautiful father.  Caroline softly cried in his arms and he quietly comforted her...gently rocking her in his arms.  "Annie, she's so easy to soothe."  I'll never forget those words - I fell in love with him again.  And it didn't hurt that he didn't run away from me when I was a hormonal hot mess with the "baby blues" when we brought Caroline home.

I was in labor with Jackson, Josh was speeding down Route 9 to the hospital at 9:30 that Tuesday night.  We barely made it to the hospital.  Apparently I asked the valet for an epidural, I don't remember it - but Josh swears that happened.  All 9lbs 6oz of Jackson came fast and furious, there was no time for any medication, ivs or even monitoring contractions or Jackson's heartbeat.  When I realized I was going to have to deliver him naturally I freaked out.  Josh leaned over to me and told me "get your shit together."  Yes, he really did.  And that's exactly what I needed him to tell me.  Jackson was born.  I had given my husband a son.  A huge, healthy son.  And that was the third time I fell in love with him.

Ryan...our charismatic child.  We were told that Ryan was 10lbs by ultrasound a few days before his birth.  It was time to get him out, if we wanted to avoid a c-section.  Josh walked around the neighborhood with me the night before Ryan was born.  I waddled, and he walked.  I was eating M&Ms...funny, the things you remember.  I awoke that night to contractions and we decided to head on into Boston - I didn't want to show up too late, as we had cut it so close with Jackson.  I loved that Josh had an app on his iPhone to keep track of the contractions.  It was all very exciting, yet nothing new to us.  We are very blessed to be able to say that.  After I got settled into the L&D room Josh went to the cafeteria to eat breakfast.  I was comfortable with the "routine" and Brigham and Women's makes a good omelet & hash browns.  I clearly wasn't allowed to eat, so he stayed in the cafeteria.  Dr. Mansour walked in, announced it was time to push - "where's Josh?"  Pretty sure he doesn't have the many significant others in the cafeteria when their wife is ready to roll.  I had to call Josh on the phone and tell him to get back to the room.  With the size of Ryan there was concern that he might get stuck on the way out - so there was excitement, yet a lot of praying happening during the pushing.  Ryan was born, and I fell in love with Josh again.  This time as he was an experienced father, knowing exactly how to care for him, how to swaddle him just as tightly as the nurses do...a trick learned from lots of experience.

This fifth time I fell in love with Josh, was a longer process than the others.  It started when I was put on and off of bed rest throughout the earlier stages of Ethan's pregnancy.  Josh did it all - worked, cooked, took care of a 4 y.o., 2 y.o. and 5 month old.  That's a lot of work.  Then my water broke at 27 weeks.  It just broke, or started leaking.  He drove me to Boston in rush hour traffic, somehow remaining calm.  He left that night to return home & care for the rest of our children - while I "took care" of Ethan on bed rest in the hospital.  Josh called often, skyped with me and visited me a few times as well.  He even taught Jackson how to ride a bike when I was hospitalized.  He rushed down to Boston when I told him Ethan was coming, he put on a ridiculously too small gown for the surgery and didn't complain.  He held my hand when things were dicey in my c-section.  He went up and saw Ethan for me when I wasn't able to.  He cried with me as I groaned at the news that Ethan might die.  He prayed endlessly.  Was optimistic yet realistic - not an easy task during those days.  He allowed me to be the one to hold Ethan while he died, offering me that blessing.  One that I can never repay.  We looked at each other right after Ethan died, in my post-partum room awaiting discharge myself, and declared that we would do this together.  Remember our son together.  Honor our son together.  Grieve our son together.  Live on together.

Josh has not run away from me in my darkest hour - when the woman he married has been changed by grief.  He never tells me to stop crying.  He has let me nap when I need to, or shower when I need to - recognizing that those are the only 2 things that make me feel "better" when I am desperately sad.  He made a book of Ethan on Shutterfly the week after he died.  He made that beautiful video remembering our son.

Has the road been difficult these last 5 months?  Impossibly so, yes.  But Josh and I love each other.  We are not running away from our pain, or from our marriage.  I have fallen in love with Josh 5 times, not many can say that.

Every time I hear this song I think of the vows Josh and I made to one another, on our wedding day.  Thank you for our loving me Josh, for giving my our 4 beautiful children.  I won't give up...

1 comment:

  1. i think in the midst of such tremendous loss and heartache, it is comforting to remind ourselves of our blessings. thank you for sharing this!