Ethan had his first day of pre-K today. Does this mean he is officially a big boy? I surely hope not!
When we got home, I cranked up some music really loud and Ethan, Eli and I danced (well, Eli jumped in his jumper more than danced) and sang at the top of our lungs. Well, I sang really...Ethan didn't know any of the words. Ethan may be the only person who has ever heard me sing that loud (and its a good thing, too, though I worry about what effect listening to my "singing" voice will have on the poor dear). But it was great fun and it was a very "Gilmore Girls" moment. But a small shadow cast itself in an unexpected way and brought up some unhappy (and apparently pushed away - or so I thought) memories.
Bon Jovi's song You Want to Make a Memory came on. And it is a song I love and have listened to A LOT. Last year, when Adam was having his heart problems, it was the song I listened to when I finally let myself come undone. Being smack in the middle of my pregnancy and getting ready to stand by my husband's side as he prepared to have open heart surgery was not my idea of fun and clearly and obviously not Adam's idea of fun, either. Not only wasn't it our idea of fun, it scared me out of my mind.
Instead of running around and picking out baby furniture, nursery bedding, itty bitty jammies and clothes, we were running all over town interviewing cardio-thorassic surgeons. Each and every time I walked into a medical office, I looked down at my growing belly with my sweet baby tumbling inside and then looked at my handsome, young, otherwise healthy husband and felt that I was in a dream or at least someone else's life. I ignored the inquisitive looks from all the other patients in the waiting rooms...most of them much older than us. I ignored the half-smiles of pity. I just breathed and trudged through.
I kept so much of this experience to myself. None of my friends my age, no one in my family, and most especially, Adam, wanted to hear my darkest, deepest fears about what this surgery could mean to me. And who could blame them? I wouldn't want one of my young friends to ask me, "What if my husband dies?". I wouldn't want to look them in the eye knowing that the question they were asking me was a very real possibility for them.
And whenever I started to fall apart, my dear and amazing friends would do their best to piece me back together. Told me he'd be fine. And I knew the chances of him being fine were more than in our favor. But there was more to it that simply surviving open heart surgery. It was the risk of cognitive changes. The risk of infection. The risk of not making a full recovery. The risk of the psychological effects being more than I could handle. Not to mention that I'd be seven months pregnant when they'd be sawing his chest open. I NEEDED my husband to be there. To be FULLY present. And he wouldn't be. I'd had trouble getting pregnant. After losing a baby in June 2006, it took us almost a full year to get pregnant again and I really wanted to take the time to enjoy the pregnancy. But in the end I decided it was just a pregnancy...a means to an end, a way to get our beautiful son, Eli, who I could enjoy tremendously when he was here with us. No, I didn't enjoy it the way I dreamed I would. But that's okay. I gave up on enjoying it as soon as I learned that we had bigger issues to deal with. Now that's not to say I didn't love watching my tummy swell, didn't love feeling each kick and tumble. But it was different. I didn't feel like "we" were pregnant, I just felt like Eli was MY baby and I was experiencing this pregnancy in a vacuum. Just me and Eli, going through this sort of mommy-baby worm hole while the rest of my life carried on without me, but at the same time, I spent very little time thinking about being pregnant and dreaming about the days of his babyhood. They would surely be here whether I thought about them or not, and for now, I was trying to breathe.
It was interesting to see the ways my prayers changed during this time. I prayed that he'd live. I prayed that he'd be strong enough to be in the delivery room when Eli was born. I prayed that he wouldn't be scared. That I wouldn't be scared. I prayed that he wouldn't need surgery. Then I prayed for wisdom so that we could make sound decisions regarding the timing of his surgery, the hospital for his surgery, the type of surgery he would have (robotic or good old fashioned slicing), the surgeon who would perform the surgery. I prayed that his recovery would be as quick as the doctors were promising. I prayed for strength. I prayed that my two babies would still have a daddy at the end of this. I prayed that the urge to run away would stop. I prayed that I would be patient with people who told me, "Oh, he'll be fine." And in the end, they were right. He WAS fine. But not one person I knew wanted to trade lives with me during those few months.
So, yes, I kept most of this to myself. Julie asked me one day if I was scared. "I'm terrified," I answered. And I think that was about as much as I showed my fear to anyone. I cried out of frustration with the situation - my friends saw that part. I cried out of being exhausted - anyone who cared to could join my pity party. I cried because I knew that the man Adam was to me would be gone for a few months while he got better, if he got better. I discussed the details of his condition CONSTANTLY. I think all my friends now have enough knowledge to perform the surgery themselves. But I don't think I ever showed my deep, dark, fear. That my husband would either die or be changed forever.
My car was my favorite place to seek the solace of my tears. I turned up the radio really loud to drown out the sounds of my sobs. And I listened to Bon Jovi talking about making memories. In the days leading up to the surgery and the many days after, Bon Jovi shouldered the weight of my tears. Oh sure, I let loose with friends sometimes, with my mom a couple of times maybe...even with Adam. But not like I did in my car.
In the driveway, after grocery shopping
"Hello again, its you and me.
Kinda like it always used to be.
Sippin' wine, killin' time.
Tryin' to solve life's mysteries."
Willing myself to drive back to my house, not somewhere else, far, far, away
"How's your life? It's been a while.
G-d its good to see you smile.
I see you reachin' for your keys,
Lookin' for a reason not to leave."
On the way to the hospital
"If you don't know if you should stay,
If you don't say what's your mind,
Baby just breathe
There's nowhere else tonight we should be.
You wanna make a memory?"
On the way home from the hospital
"If you go now, I'll understand.
If you stay, hey, I got a plan.
You wanna make a memory?
You wanna steal a piece of time?
You can sing the melody to me,
And I could write a couple lines.
You wanna make a memory?"
Perhaps, I'm learning, I should've let some of this out while it was happening so that almost a year later, I wasn't still moving it around in my mind, batting it back and forth, spending at tremendous time vascillating between thinking that I am over dramatizing it or that I'm not grasping the seriousness of it.