Thursday, August 22, 2013

A week that's run the emotional spectrum

Friday I had the day off work to spend prepping for Gus' third birthday party. We know how that day started.

It was in the morning, shortly after I got home from dropping Gus off when I went to the bathroom, and there was the spotting. It wasn't very much, it was brown, but it was 11dpo, just like last cycle. I lost it. I sat down at the kitchen table, put my head on my arms, and cried. I cried that we weren't pregnant. I cried that I had foolishly believed that the bloating that I was experiencing was a resurgence of OHSS symptoms. I cried that this was another failure. I cried that I had to be dealing with this at the same time that I was preparing for Gus' celebration.

I decided that night that I would take a test in the morning. I needed to see actual confirmation that this cycle was over. The test was negative, and I was able to focus on Gus and his party exclusively until mid-party I started cramping. Why, oh, why did my CD1 come only 12dpo? Is this something new to worry about? I was doing so well focusing on Gus and his party, celebrating what a big boy he's become and watching him have fun with his friends, but it's really hard to ignore cramps, even when they're mild.

After nap, Gus had his soccer practice. The practice didn't last for very long, but the kids all had fun. Afterwards, we returned home so Gus could open his gifts, which turned into a very long and slow process since he wanted to play with each thing that he opened and didn't care that there were more presents waiting for him. In hindsight, this is a good thing; we don't want Gus to just open a present and toss it aside because he expects more. He should enjoy each present and not worry about how many he's received.

Sunday, Gus' actual birthday, we decided to have it low-key. We would let Gus make all sorts of choices and follow his lead. I wanted to bring him to the store to begin choosing his big boy bedroom furniture and bedding, and while he was excited at the idea, he could not be swayed away from his new toys. So, we mostly stayed home in the morning and let him loaf and play in his jammies. Gus had a 2pm soccer game, which we weren't sure if Gus was going to go to; it's right in the middle of nap. So, we asked Gus if he wanted to go play; he said yes. It was so great. Even though it was nap time, and the last time we played a game at 2pm it was terrible because all our kids were tired, they did great! Some of the other parents commented that Gus was the start player of the day and the team MVP for the day.

That night, after Gus was in bed, I was I had an email from my dad. My grandpa was not doing well. On August 10 he fell and broke his hip. No big deal we all thought. Have some surgery, rehab at a nursing home and then all would be good. That is not what was happening. Grandpa did have the surgery, but he was running a fever and the docs didn't know what was causing it. Earlier on Sunday they ran some blood cultures to see if they could identify the infection, as it wasn't responding to any of the antibiotics they were trying. My dad stated "The doctors are not giving up, but I think they are prepping everybody for the unhoped for." I don't know why I felt so strongly that I should go see my Grandpa, but we made plans that we would visit on Monday.

Monday morning we dropped Gus off at school, then made the 2.5 hour drive to my hometown. We met my dad at his house, and we went together to the hospital. When we arrived, my grandpa wasn't really there. There was no recognition of who I was. He wasn't really talking. He was breathing heavily. He kept falling asleep, but would then wake with a start. My dad kept trying to get him to drink some water, but he didn't really drink that much, if any. His lunch came and my grandma tried to get him to drink some juice and broth. He refused both.

A short time later, the physical therapist came in and asked if he should try to get Grandpa to do PT or if we were only doing comfort measures. Grandma said that if Grandpa would cooperate, there wasn't a reason to not try PT, so we all moved to the family lounge. While in there, my dad spoke up and asked if Grandma had heard what the therapist said, did she understand what comfort measures were? Until my dad asked her, I think her brain didn't allow her to hear those words. When my grandma got it, she said that she did understand what he meant, but until the blood cultures came back she was still going to proceed with OT and PT. Then, Mr. PT came into the lounge. He said that he did not do any PT, he spoke with the doctor (who happened to be at the nurses' station, and that he would return later in the afternoon to try again). Then, the doctor came in.

The short, and biased, version is that I wanted to punch him. He presented a far too optimistic view for my grandma. The blood cultures weren't back, and wouldn't be back for another day or two. He had just seen Grandpa, he was awake and alert (really, he wasn't a minute ago?) and that if he kept on his current path that he might be discharged in a couple of days. That's it. He stopped at that and didn't say anything about if Grandpa didn't continue on his current path. I could see that my grandma had been lifted. Her hopes were renewed. I knew exactly where she was. I knew that until there was absolutely no hope, she would hold on to whatever shred of hope she could. I think that's why I'm so upset with the doctor.

When we were admitted with Oscar and Bella, all anyone focused on was getting the test results on Wednesday morning to show that I didn't have an infection. When we found out that morning that there was none, Jon and I were thrilled. We thought we'd ride the pregnancy out in the hospital. It never dawned on us that we wouldn't bring out kids home. Then, just a few hours later it felt like everything was ripped out from under us when the doctor told us that we would not get to bring our babies home. I'm certain that even if the doctor did continue his statement and include what could happen if Grandpa didn't improve, Grandma still would have held on to hope, but at least her head, if not her heart, would have heard the words.

A few minutes later, after Grandma had left the room and another family member was updated by my dad (the family member had not been there when the doctor was), we returned to my grandpa's room. It was a night and day difference. He was awake, aware, he recognized me! I was able to give him a hug, give him a kiss on the cheek and tell him that I love him. A short time later, Jon and I had to leave so that we could make the 2.5 hour drive back home.

I tried so hard not to cry while I was saying good-bye to him, and while tears didn't fall from my eyes, there were tears in my eyes. I got in the car and the tears started. I know that it was because, emotionally, I knew what my grandma was feeling. He wasn't dead, but she was trying to prepare for his death. I was emotionally transported to that waiting period when Oscar and Bella were still alive in me, but we knew they would die and we would not be able to take them home.

Jon and I got back home and it was time to be happy and cheerful and excited for Gus. He's just beginning to comprehend and understand death and Heaven. I knew he wouldn't understand what was happening with Grandpa, so Jon and I didn't tell him, especially since we had Gus' 3-year-old photo shoot at 5:30pm. I almost started crying during the photo shoot. Gus was doing such an awesome job listening to the photographer, giving his best smiles, and being an absolutely wonderful big boy. I sometimes can't believe that he's grown into such a wonderful little boy. Also that night, I took the first pill in my birth control pack. Not only was I saddened that I even had to take the stupid thing, but it hit me that any more children we have Grandpa would probably not get to meet or see.

Thankfully, all was quiet on Tuesday. I went back to work, but my mind really didn't want to be there. I was tired from the drive. I was tired from the emotional rollercoaster that I'd already had with Gus' party, the early AF, the negative test and seeing Grandpa at the hospital.

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, my dad put on facebook that my grandpa had been moved to the nursing home. I was hopeful that that meant the blood cultures came back to assist the doctors in finding the proper antibiotic or that they had stumbled on something that worked. Around 6pm yesterday, I got a phone call from my dad. Things were not looking good. He was moved to the nursing home, but they were only giving him comfort measures. He wasn't swallowing or eating, so he would slowly starve to death. The docs said that even giving IV fluids would be an aggressive treatment. I talked with my dad. I asked how Grandma was doing before asking how he was doing. That's when he started to cry. His head knew that the choices that had been made were the best for Grandpa, but his heart was in a different place. Selfishly, part of me hoped that Grandpa's imminent death would give my dad a better perspective on how I feel about Oscar's, Bella's and Tittle's deaths. I shared with my dad that I was not trying to shove Grandpa out the door, but that Jon and I had already decided that when it happened, our family would be attending his funeral. Our phone call ended with Dad stating something about Grandpa being with the kids and telling them stories. It meant so much to me to have them recognized, but I knew that it was hard for my Dad to further the reality of losing his dad in his own mind.

I got into bed last night around 9:50pm, but I could not fall asleep. Around 10:30pm my dad called. Grandpa passed away around 9:30pm. After hanging up the phone, Jon asked me how I was doing. I'm all over the place. I'm sad for my Grandma; they were married for 66 years. I'm sad for my Dad and uncle that they no longer have their dad here. I'm sad for Gus, that he will not remember the man whom we honored in naming Gus. I'm worried that Grandma will not be far behind Grandpa; I've read too many stories of couples that have been married for so long that the survivor literally dies of a broken heart. I feel bad that Grandpa had to to through the pain of surgery, just to die a short time later. I feel grateful that I was able to go see him Monday and, perhaps, let him feel a little bit of extra love. I feel thankful that Jon and I aren't doing a treatment cycle right now, because now I don't have to worry about trying to schedule appointments around my grandpa's funeral (I'm still waiting for any details of when/where it will be) and know that whenever it is I can go without worry. I'm comforted that Oscar and Bella now have their great-grandpa with them to play with and hear stories from.

It's been a very difficult week. I'm emotionally and mentally drained. The  difficulties are not going to end anytime soon. I just hope that this rollercoaster doesn't have so many ups and downs in the near future.


  1. What a terribly hard time. I'm so sorry to hear that your IUI didn't work and about the passing of your grandfather.

    Abiding with you during this impossible time.