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A Time of Mixed Blessings and Breakdowns

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Time of Mixed Blessings and Breakdowns

On October 18, 2001, the twins made their entrance into the world by planned c-section. It was not nearly as traumatic as Nico's but I was afraid of complications since it was a twin birth. I couldn't have been more wrong. Everything went smoothly and we even got to take them home with us when we left 4 days later. I was even nursing them with lots and lots of help from the nurses. One of my favorite Leo stories is when I wanted to bottle feed and he wanted me to breast feed. For the first two nights, I never made it into bed. Someone was always eating. On the third night home, Leo promised he would help me and he did. I stayed in bed and slept and he got up when a baby cried, changed them and brought them to me to feed. Just when his head would hit the pillow, the other baby would cry and he'd have to get up and do the same routine. That went on for the whole night and then in the morning, he woke up and said, "You should just bottle feed. It's too hard to breast feed." Then my sister had twins and proved me wrong. I just had too many issues to be any good at it. One being the depression I was fighting against since finding out about Nico. I can honestly say that despite that, I was happy. Tommy was a hard baby. He was fussy right off the bat. He just could never settle himself. He loved Leo and Leo was so good with him that we were partners in taking care of the babies and in taking care of Nico. It felt like we could handle it. It still hurt but it stopped feeling like the end of the world.

I felt like I was bad luck so I told our doctor to call Leo with the results of the CF test but I really felt like the twins didn't have it. I think because they didn't have the same NICU experience, I naively believed it would be different all the way around. I remember it was November 4th and Leo came home from work to find me on the couch with both babies asleep on me. He said he had good news and bad news. I wanted him to stop talking. I didn't want to hear anymore news. He said Isabella didn't have it...wasn't even a carrier but Tommy had it. What???? He said, "It's going to be okay. Nico will be able to help him. They'll have each other." I didn't care. I handed the babies to Leo, got in his car and left. I cried all the way to my parents' house. I remember screaming, "I hate You, God! I freaking hate You! I will NEVER believe in You again!" I remember feeling so lost and so alone with the thought that God didn't care about me or my family. Both the thought of losing both my boys and the thought of losing the God I loved and believed so firmly in was devastating to me.

After we found out about Tommy, I became someone that is very hard for me to look back on and say was me. I immediately wanted a way out of the guilt of having given this to our boys and the hurt I felt everyday just being in the house so I told Leo I didn't see how we could stay married. I remember telling him, he could leave and start all over and not have this be a part of his life. I was the one that was infertile, not him. I felt like I was the one dragging him down and making his life full of things he didn't want. It got so bad that I imagined leaving and getting out the way so that Leo could marry someone that embraced taking care of a family with kids that had medical needs. Some women are so good at making it their life's fight and they wear it as a badge of honor. I am not that kind of woman. I am a "hide in the sand until it goes away" kind of woman. It wasn't fair to my kids to be that kind of mom. I imagined his new wife would be a great mom and love cooking and cleaning and she would even have blond hair so they would all look like they fit together (I was the only brunette in my family). Just having those thoughts would reduce me to tears because I loved my family and just couldn't understand how we ended up where we were. How could Leo and I have given them a deadly disease? I completely underestimated how strong and loving Leo could be. He assured me when I would cry that he didn't want to leave and didn't want me to leave and that we would get through it somehow. He even said, "Maybe God gave us Tommy and Nico because he knew we'd be the best parents for them." I wonder if Leo knew then how close I was to ending our marriage? I am so grateful that he saw my weakness and at my worst and loved me anyway. That thought brought me some comfort but not enough to battle the depression that consumed me.

The worst part of looking back is how I was with Tommy. I had a very hard time bonding with him. He preferred Leo so it was easy to hide but my heart broke when I would hold him because I was so afraid to love him only to lose him. I was afraid to go anywhere because I was afraid he'd get sick (the irony of that is that I brought Nico everywhere). I remember having a CF appointment for Nico and refusing to bring Tommy. The doctor was shocked that I didn't bring him but I wanted to keep him untouched by them. I didn't want to hear that anything more was wrong. I knew I was having a hard time so at my 6 week appointment with my doctor, I cried to him. He put me on antidepressants and gave me the name of a therapist. Immediately, they both helped. At the very least, I wasn't imagining me leaving and Leo remarrying.

I lived in fear of the boys getting sick. I scrutinized everything the boys did and was so relieved that CF might have been there but it was hiding at the moment. I even felt like with therapy and the meds, I could handle it. I could be a good mom to them. Just one day at a time and not focusing on it was how I got through the days. Then, while I was so busy worrying about what could happen to the boys, I had no idea that the chaos about to happen wasn't going to be caused by them but by Isabella.


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