There was a line in “Private Practice” this week that made me pause, and I knew right away that it would end up as a blog. Shelton (one of the resident shrinks, if you’re not familiar with the show) says to someone else..”Unfortunately human beings need pain to grow and learn”. I stopped. I ran the words through my head. I went over the line one more time. Oh wow….this was what I needed to hear. Today. This week. This year. I needed to hear those words. Because for me it was almost like validation, or maybe just one more of the puzzle pieces I had found, finally.
In 37 years or so on the planet I have faced a lot. I have faced more than one lifetime’s worth of hope, and love, and loss, and moments. My life to me, is now divided into two sections, two parts. My life before was healthier, stronger, I could dance and I could run. I was young and beautiful and strong. And I had never really known the kind of loss that rips through your soul and divides your world.
In 2001 I lost a child. A little girl that weighed about 9 ounces and was born too young to breathe. I was that 1%, that unimaginable number, I was that one in a million.….and I lost my baby girl.
And it almost destroyed me. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t think. They delivered her to save me (long story, not the much fun to tell so we’ll just skip to the pertinent parts). If I did sleep, I slept with the light on for the first 6 months. I had nightmares, 2,3,4 times a week for almost 18 months. My body was trying to deal with everything I had been put through, it was trying to regenerate lost blood and heal a broken heart. My mind and my soul just took a vacation because I was just a zombie for a good part of that first year
I went home after I was discharged, told to rest and let my body mend.
But my darling ,sweet husband came home more grateful that he hadn’t lost his wife of less than 2 years. I’ve been contemplating that in the last few years. How hard that must have been. I was devastated and he was hurting for our loss, but he was grateful for getting to keep what he wanted more than anything else.
We waited 9 months and after many long late night discussions, swaying from a yes to a we can’t survive that again, we went with yes and tried one last time to have a child. The docs answered up and said we had one more shot at a healthy baby, and then something drastic would need to happen to either P or I so that somebody’s baby making ability was shut down, and we knew they were right. What needed to be taken care of was.
And it was a hhaarrdd pregnancy, I got tossed over to the high priority team, I was a “complicated OB patient ” due to the fat that I had suffered two miscarriages after having two healthy children 10 years ago. I believe in miracles, and this is one of the reasons why: Dr. Cynthia Wilkes saved my life the first time. She was able to see the labs and the scans, and the charted meds and suddenly………she saw what everybody missed and sent me to Straub’s Trauma One Center. She couldn’t be there at the very end, but she treated me post delivery. I went to see her a few weeks after delivery, telling her that I can’t eat, or think. All the while, bawling my eyes out. She said one of the greatest things I have ever heard anyone say as a doctor, “I can not medicate it out of you, you have to grieve. You have to deal with this.” At the time, I wondered if could.
But with the woman’s amazing hope and strength, she got me to 20 weeks through my final pregnancy. And she was amazing. She never gave up on me. And I have a beautiful baby girl who is almost 9 now because of her unfailing ability as an OB.
My “before” is my life before the pregnancy in 2001 that almost killed me and claimed my baby girl. My “after” is the 10 years that have passed since that. My husband and I have faced the kinds of things that destroy people and tear apart marriages. And we did struggle because of these things. We did almost break down, but at the last minute, what really existed between us was still there by the skin of our teeth and we pulled ourselves and our marriage out from under it all.
Fast forward a few years and I’m smack in the middle of going through Chief’s Induction with my husband, but he was 1,000 miles away. And the whole thing brought me to my knees.
The point in all of this is that people do indeed need pain to grow and learn. To me, that’s an important piece of the puzzle because my life has been more difficult, more painful than a lot of other people that I know. My childhood was chaotic and hurtful. I have lost family and friends and dealt with the aftermath of a suicide, leaving me feeling guilty and so regretful. I have hurt. I have felt the kind of agony in your soul that would tear a person down. But, somehow, I’m still standing.
I believe that we come back. I believe that we come back until we get it right, and I believe that this is my last run through. This is my last time here. So I have a lot of things that I need to get right. I have a lot of things to learn, so I’ve had a lot of pain.