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Archive for August, 2010

The Story

We’d been trying for awhile to get pregnant.  We found out that we were when we were working on painting the house we were going to move into that fall.  We were both so very, very excited to have a little one on the way.  We didn’t do any of the major testing because we both said it wouldn’t make any difference what we found out, it wasn’t going to change anything. 
 
My best friend gave me a baby shower on February 23.  In my mind, that is the last happy day we had together.  He left for a work trip the following Monday.  He called me from the hotel each night, always sounding extremely tired and kind of out of it.  I chalked it up to having too much fun.  He was going to sleep at around 8 or 9 each night; usually he stayed up until around midnight or later.  But then he got home and it just seemed like he was a little sick.
 
He went to work the next week, telling me that he wasn’t feeling very good and that he hadn’t eaten much.  One day he’d just vomited, but he never really told me how badly he was feeling.  On Friday, March 14, he wanted me to make him a doctor’s appointment.  I didn’t get to it, because there was too much to do at work so he had to do it himself.  I still feel very guilty about that.  The doctor ordered a blood test and Jim told me he’d lost 15 lbs. since the last time he went to the doctor about 5 weeks earlier.  Hadley was due the 24th, so this was the last weekend to get things set up and get the last things we needed for the nursery, so off I went while he stayed home.  The doctor called…on a Saturday…to give him the results and told him he wanted him to go in for a CAT scan on Monday the 17th.  On Monday afternoon, the doctor called to tell him they’d seen spots on his liver and he needed to go in for a biopsy the next day.
 
Tuesday he was feeling horrible and when we talked to the doctor, the biopsy surgeon or whatever said if he’d taken an aspirin he couldn’t do the biopsy. So we were going to have to wait.  Wednesday, as I was leaving for work I checked on him and his stomach was swollen and he was in pain.  I called the doctor to get him admitted to the hospital.  Thursday, they did a biopsy and confirmed that it was pancreatic cancer.  Thursday, the 20th.  4 days before our baby was due.  The hospital was terribly worried that I was going to go into labor.  I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that Jim was going to die in probably less than a year.  On Friday, they discharged him.  If he was going to be hospitalized, I wanted him in the hospital where I was delivering so at least we wouldn’t be separated at that point.
 
On Sunday the 23rd, I took him to the ER at the hospital where I was supposed to be admitted later that evening to start being induced.  I delayed my admittance as long as the doctor would let me, but finally had to go up at around 9 that evening.  Monday, Hadley was born.  Monday night at 7, Jim started vomiting blood.  They discovered he was bleeding into his stomach and if they didn’t operate, he would bleed to death.  The operation had a 50% chance of success.  At that moment, it was possible that our daughter would come into my life on the same day that my husband would go out of my life.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
 
When I was discharged, I moved into a hotel room in the hospital and stayed there for a week and a half.  Other people took care of me.  I was dividing my time between an infant and a sick husband and I’m sure I didn’t serve either one very well.  Thank goodness for my sister who stayed with me for a week and then for my mom who stayed with me the rest of the time.  The rest of my family took care of all the other things that needed to be done. 
 
On Thursday, April 3rd, the oncologist stopped in to see him at 10:30 at night.  When she left, she told me that he maybe had a month because the cancer was much more aggressive than they’d thought.  Typical Jim…he had to overachieve on the aggressiveness of cancer.  Couldn’t be satisfied to just let it progress at a more controlled pace.  They were going to do an operation on Friday morning to drain some fluid from his abdomen and relieve some of the pressure.  That was the last thing they could do; hospice was going to take it from there.
 
Friday morning came and his surgery got delayed…and delayed…and more delayed.  At 11, I told the nurse to call the doctor because we weren’t doing the surgery and Jim just wanted to go home.  I wish I’d told them that at 9, because it was 5 that afternoon before he was discharged.  Another thing I feel guilty about…
 
On Saturday, my brothers came to finish replacing the fence around our new backyard.  Jim had built the first fence, but the architectural committee decided they didn’t like it and wanted it down.  Jim held on until they’d finished the fence.  I’m sure he knew they were done; I’m sure he wanted to stay until he knew that for this one last thing I was taken care of.  And then I sat with him.  I told him he could go, that I would be all right, that I was glad we’d had the years we did and that I’d rather have a few good ones than 60 mediocre ones.  I told him thank you and that I would take care of our daughter.  I don’t know if he heard or understood any of it.  I don’t know if it made me feel better.  I do know that I wanted everyone to be gone but I didn’t want to be there by myself.  At 3am on April 6, he was gone.  Hadley was 2 weeks old.

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Tomorrow starts yet another chapter for little Miss Hadley.  Tomorrow is her first full day in the next room at daycare.  This is the room where potty training REALLY starts to happen.  But I’ve heard it’s also the room where they start moving the toddlers toward what’s ahead of them…kindergarten.  It may be 2 1/2 years away still, but I’m definitely not ready for that!

On Friday, we gave our thank you notes and our specially decorated cookie to Ms. Melissa, Ms. Kiki, and Ms. Debbie.  Drop off is going to be quite a bit different on Monday.  There’s no chatting with the teacher; no smooth and gentle goodbyes.  From the outside, it seems as if it’s more drop the kids, drop their things, say goodbye and beat it.  I guess I’ll find out soon enough if my observations have been accurate.  Oh, and no more reserved seat with a nameplate.

Same routine every morning. Go to the seat, open the wipe, have breakfast.

I’m sure Hadley will adjust.  She always does.  I just hate when I can hear her crying as I walk away.  I know they say that staying only makes it worse, but there’s just something about turning my back on her while she’s crying.  It’s difficult and it makes me feel horrible.  On the flip side, I’m sure she’ll learn a lot.  She likes to learn new things.  She’d already read all the books in Ms. Melissa’s room and had started reading them to the other kids.  I just hope that when she realizes she’s stuck in Ms. Rita’s room all day, she doesn’t look like this:

But I don't WANT to move to another room!

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