Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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It's 1:08AM here in Meridian, ID and today was an emotional day. My mind is racing, my legs are restless and even after 9mg of melatonin and 6 consecutive episodes of 'Flipping Out', I still can't sleep.

Today I went into the doctor for my routine appointment and a nurse I haven't met before checked me in. She was making small talk and asked about where I came from and why I moved here from Hawaii. I told her I moved here to be close to family and was hoping to end the conversation at that. She then told me her friend had moved here from Hawaii because her husband had retired from the military and asked if my husband was military also. I froze. It felt like 4 weeks ago when I checked in for the first time and was asked my marital status and I couldn't bring myself to say the word "widow" so I just stood at the counter and cried and made the front desk girl feel incredibly uncomfortable until Nikki explained my situation. I don't know what triggers the tears these days but it doesn't take much, and once I've had my first cry of the day it's all downhill from there.

This nurse took my blood pressure and it came back at 150/104. For those not in the blood pressure know- that's high. With both Izzy and Hudson I developed gestational hypertension around 35 weeks and was induced at 37 weeks to avoid/in fear of preeclampsia. This pregnancy is not being tolerated as well because of this ongoing stress and my blood pressure has started its ascent earlier than anticipated/desired. Today I talked to my doc who said, "We need to get you to 35 weeks. If you deliver now its a 100% guarantee Adeline is going to the NICU and we want to let you walk out of here with your baby, so we need to get you 35 weeks." He gave me a steroid shot to strengthen Adeline's lungs in preparation for a premature delivery next week and I have to have a second shot tomorrow. He also put me on a small dose of blood pressure medication to hopefully hold off these symptoms... however 90 minutes after taking it I was shaking and lightheaded, feeling like I was going to pass out and my BP was down to 118/56 so now I'm scared to take another dose until I go back to the doc tomorrow and talk to him about it.

At this point I feel like there is no good answer. I want to keep Adeline safe and growing and I certainly don't want to be spending any time with her in the NICU but I'm losing confidence daily that I'm capable of doing that. My body is telling me I need to get this baby out of here, but I'm not emotionally ready for her. This is the last thing I have that is keeping this entire 9 weeks somewhat of a distraction. As long as she's in there I don't feel like I have to completely deal with losing Brian because the rest of our lives without him haven't started yet. Once she's here - that's it. I'm a single mom with three kids and together we have to navigate how to be a family without a husband and without a father and I don't want to do that.

When Brian and I found out we were having this baby we were so excited. Cautiously excited after two miscarriages, but each secretly really excited and had a good feeling this one was going to 'take.' Knowing this would be my very last pregnancy/baby, I wanted to enjoy every single moment of it. Every craving, every milestone, every new size described by fruit, every week.. everything. I told Brian I felt a feeling of mourning knowing this would be the last time I would experience all of the ups and downs of pregnancies but that at the end of it we would have the most beautiful family and that's all that mattered to both of us. I feel cheated with this last 9 weeks and that I didn't get to experiences any of those pregnancy ups and downs. This is my very last experience with having a baby and I will look back on this pregnancy and time of my life with such sadness. Instead of experiencing the ups and downs of this pregnancy and baby we both wanted so incredibly bad, our family has been strictly focusing on survival. The ups and downs of the past 9 weeks have been reactions to incredibly challenging life decisions we've had to make; to deliver this baby on Oahu or not, if not, where to have her? How soon does that mean I have to pack up our home and move off the island? What clothes and articles do I have cremated with my husband? Where will the kids and I live after having Adeline? Brian was an organ donor, they called approximately 12 hours after he passed away and I had to make decisions about which organs of my husbands to donate. Can I afford these 3 kids on my salary? Do we still have health insurance? These are/were not the ups and downs we were looking forward to when we got that positive test on Christmas morning and certainly not how Brian and I had envisioned and planned our lives. There is an end in sight now, only a few more days and hopefully meeting our baby and having her here will help alleviate at least this portion of the anguish.

Isabel and Hudson are doing as well as possible given the circumstances. They both kiss my belly many times a day and are excited to meet their baby sister. The rest of you should/will most likely get an update from me early next week to let you know I'm headed in to have this baby. Until then, thank you all for your ongoing show of love and support, your messages, your gifts, (I had another box of diapers and Target gift card arrive today- THANK YOU!!) Please keep sending the love, it's going to be an emotional transition over the next week or two and I'm so thankful to you all for reading these posts and keeping my spirits up.



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