So many things in my life have happened for me. I fully choose to think of it like that, how did some of the biggest losses, Trauma’s, stresses and crappy decisions and times in my life happen for me and not to me? Let me break it down a little and how I think all these things happened for me and not to me.
My friend Sophia dying. What I learned from this and how it happened in my life to help me become a better person. I wish it didn’t happen. But what did I learn and take from it? First I learned how incredibly important friends are and how you should always tell them that you love them. I do this often with my closest girlfriends. I learned to stop being petty, stop being immature and jealous. I wasn’t immature and jealous because of someone else, that was all me and my own insecurities. I learned that I had a lot to work on myself to be the best friend I could be. I learned how insecure I was, how self conscious I was.
My family friends mom Rennie dying. I watched this incredible woman who I was so fortunate to know make one of the bravest decisions of her life. She could live on a vent for the rest of her life, which would at most be a few years but likely within a year and really lose her quality of life or she could do Washington State Assisted Suicide which had just become legal when you have a terminal illness and be taken off the ventilator. She had been through some major illnesses already, but now she couldn’t breathe on her own and never would again. So she made a choice I would hate to ever have to make for myself and my family. But it is one of the most incredible experiences I have been through. To get to know she was going, to get to reminisce and tell stories and laugh with her in her last days and day on this earth was incredible. Too often with death you don’t get that chance. You don’t get to say everything you want to say to someone before they go. Rennie planned her entire funeral, service and after party. Her husband, family and friends made sure it happened. The whole experience was so hard, such a loss, but so incredible to be a part of it. I hope you are resting in peace Rennie, she was a lover of butterflies and I have butterflies tattooed on my leg memorial tattoo in her honor and so that I never forget her 🦋 She was strong. She was brave. She was beautiful and she was kind.
Jax being sick. You go through life envisioning your first pregnancy, the birth and bringing home your baby for the first time. You are all prepared, overly excited and anticipating the big arrival. It’s going to be perfect! But then it’s not, everything you planned and hoped for, all your hopes and wishes sometimes don’t happen. I never wanted a vaginal birth, I always wanted a cesarean because I was terrified of giving birth. Fear of the unknown. How long would it take? How painful would it be? What if something went wrong?
I had so hoped for a cesarean and I definitely got what I wanted, but I didn’t get the healthy baby I had hoped for and wanted. Well I thought I did for a few days after his birth by emergency c-section. My baby wasn’t moving when I was at home watching TV and he was normally extremely active. I was due the next day, May 13, 2005 and assumed I was just being silly and so wanting to have him on that day. It was May 12th and my friend was in the hospital having her baby a couple weeks early and I was so jealous. May 13th was my due date and Friday the 13th, silly me really though that would be cool. I ended up having him on my due date, 28 minutes past midnight due to decreased fetal movement and heart rate from his umbilical cord being wrapped multiple times around his neck. Thank gosh I listened to my motherly instinct, it would be the first time my motherly instinct would prove to be crucial, it saved his life.
When I first brought my baby home I was losing it. No sleep, he cried tons and often wasn’t consolable. Maybe he was just had colic. I didn’t know. I made a PCP appointment for him because that’s what you do is start with your PCP to be evaluated. I went to his PCP who really didn’t think anything was wrong with him but she said I could take him to the urgent care if I still felt something was wrong and wanted further evaluation. This is before I worked in the medical field, 2 hours sitting, waiting in urgent care and I am finally seen by a provider and told I shouldn’t be there, they don’t see babies under 6 months old and I remember them making me feel so dumb, my doctor had told me to go there If i still felt something was wrong even though she wasn’t concerned he probably was just gassy and colicky. They had done an X-ray and then came back and told me something was really wrong with my baby and he needed to get to St Vincent ER immediately and they asked if I could drive him. They told me that they don’t usually have a parent drive their very sick child to the ER, that they would send them by ambulance, but I needed to get to the ER and would be faster than waiting for an ambulance. So I left. I drove to the ER. I called his dad who was at my grandparents working and told him something was wrong with our baby, I wasn’t sure what yet but they were having me take him to the ER.
I got to the ER and was immediately rushed back to her pediatric ER ward, which I would later end up working in and working with the tech who was their working on my son. On the car ride to the ER my newborn son starting vomiting. It wasn’t just normal vomit, he was vomiting what smelled and looked like shit. Literal shit and it looked more like that than vomit. We got into the ER room and they quickly went to work on him, shoving tubes down his throat to make him vomit more and putting in IV lines. They rushed him off to imaging. The doctor came in and came in with another Doctor, Dr. Helikson a pediatric surgeon. Mind you, I’m still by myself, no idea what the hell is going on but I knew whatever was happening was not good. My husband at the time wasn’t there yet. Dr. Helikson told me that my son was very ill and they had to take him to emergency surgery right away. He had a malrotated Bowel with a volvulus. Which meant his small intestines were all twisted around and blood flow was cut off and he needed immediate surgery to correct it. They couldn’t tell me what the outcome would be, there were multiple. 1 they would get in there and be able to untwist them and close him back up- the best case scenario. 2 they would untwist them but if any of his intestines had died, they would have to remove them and then close him back up. 3 they would get in there, remove his intestines that had died and have to give him a Ileostomy and he would have a poo bag on his abdomen, with hopeful reattachment if the ends that they cut off got life back to them. 4 they would get in there and the death to his intestines would be so severe that they wouldn’t be able to save him.
Holy crap! No pun intended. My husband arrived right as they were there to take him to surgery. We were in the ER for 30-45 minutes at most, literally just long enough for my husband to get there. We were sent to the NICU where he would be post surgery. My parents and his dads parents arrived and we all waited in a private family room. The surgery lasted a few hours. Forever for us. Our 4 day old baby was dying and having emergency surgery and we had no idea what the outcome would be of surgery and what our life would be like.
Dr. Helikson came into the NICU family room to consult us when surgery was over. Our baby was alive, she had taken out 10cm of his small intestines which was a significant amount. The doctor said while she was at it she removed his appendix and he would poop them out, that way we never had to deal with the possibility of appendicitis in the future. Jax was scenario 3, he had intestines removed but where they cut them and removed them on both sides she was unsure if they would come back to life with time, so he had an illeostomy and had a bag on his stomach and he defecated through his intestines onto his stomach into the bag. This was to give his intestines time to heal. He was admitted into the NICU and this would be his home, we would be able to come and visit our newborn baby there each day. Looking back now, I don’t know if I thought this way then, but we were so lucky. I at least got to see him daily, I still had a baby. So grateful. It could have been worst. My baby was alive.
Jax spent May 16, 2005- July 2005 in the NICU.
My DUI. Looking back on this weekend and my choices really makes me disappointed. My husband was newly sober at home, and I had a beach trip that really was a drunken shit show. I didn’t realize at the time the girls I was choosing to spend my time with didn’t have my best interest in mind or give a crap about me. We went down, partied and got wasted. But I had driven. I drove home. There was not one person with me sober enough to drive, although they would all say otherwise and had been drinking all day with me. I got a DUI but not from driving, I was getting in a fight with one of the girls in my car and being drug on the ground after she had thrown my keys in the lake because she who also had been drinking was upset I was driving. Which set me off so I’m pretty sure I started the fight when that happened. But the cops were called seeing us fight, they showed up and I had been sitting in my truck driver seat. No keys, they were in the lake. I got a DUI and had sobriety test and obviously didn’t pass and was taken to jail. My husband was starting a new job the next day so when I was released from jail after midnight he didn’t come get me. My dad picked me up. Thank you dad. That was the last time I ever drank Alcohol. It never did me good in life, and I had to go through rehab after my DUI and so I just quit and never went back to drinking because I felt so good not to drink. I learned I shouldn’t drink. I also learned what kind of friends I was hanging out with. I definitely wasn’t making good choices. It sucked getting a DUI and it cost a lot of money, but it’s not on my record and I did everything I needed to do so that my life and career wouldn’t be ruined. A super expensive lesson for one girls weekend. I’m so glad it happened though, I learned some very valuable lessons because of it.
Divorce I learned so much about myself through my divorce and what led me to get a divorce. I knew I was married to a great man, but he wasn’t great for me. It took me really caring about myself, him and my son to make the decision to leave. My parents had been married since they were like 18 and same with my ex husbands parents, we didn’t come from divorced homes. But I didn’t come from a perfect home either. I saw myself following the path of caring more about the marriage being easy and looking so good from the outside, than what I wanted and what made me happy. I mean if I wasn’t happy then my ex husband and son weren’t truly happy. I listened to myself, I made a decision most thought was insane and I left my husband. We were separated for a year and I thought I had made a mistake. I am not sure if I just hadn’t figured out myself yet or what but I needed him. I wanted him. I didn’t want my son to have a broken home. So I told my ex all that and we tried. We definitely tried, counseling and all. I can look back now knowing I did everything I could for myself to know I tried. So we got back together and then a year later I left. He was smart and filed for divorce right away, I can’t blame him. I put him through a lot.
I can say now that things are settled and life isn’t such a mess like it was after we first officially separated and began to divorce, it was the best choice, the right choice. I went through hell for a few years, but through it all I found myself and my new husband and we have been through so much more in the 7.5 years I have known him than I ever went through in the 15 years with my ex husband. But I know I am with the right person. He makes me feel right. It has not been easy, it’s been such a challenge and work, but it’s right. He is right for me. I’m sorry I put my ex husband through hell, I’m sorry I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted and needed. But I am so thankful for what a great man he was to me and I’m so grateful he is the father of my son. I’m so happy I have grown up, found myself and figured myself out. I know where I am is where I am meant to be. I am so grateful for the 15 years with my ex husband and all he taught me through all those years and all I learned about myself.
My brain injury I have learned so much from this and am still learning each day. May 16, 2020 will be 2 years. But the amount of what I have learned in less than 2 years is unreal. My biggest take away is how incredibly lucky I am and how great of a life I have. I have the best family, close friends, son, ex husband and his girlfriend and husband. Almost dying and going through something so big really shows you who is in your life that matters. It also shows you what truly matters. Life is short. Life can be taken from you in a instant. But I still have life. We are able to modify our life to still work for us, our family and our needs. We have discovered what truly is important to us. What deserves our time and energy and what doesn’t. I am so thankful and lucky to have a husband who only cares about me, us and our family. We have had to lose so much, but as he tells me often he didn’t lose me and that’s all that matters. Things become not important. All of a sudden I woke up one day. My priorities changed, I changed. How I think of people and treat people changed. I really lost a ton of tolerance for the bullshit in life. I don’t have time for it. I want to live my life as full as possible, spend time and make memories with those who matter to us and be grateful for it all.