Today I find my thoughts scattered.
Much I’ve held in. Some for good reasons. Some for not so good.
But the urge to write is strong. I write while I shower. I blog while driving the car. My mouth reads the words coming off the Frozen book Leyla wants to read every night . . . but my mind is far away. Lost in thought.
Most of my writing never actually makes it to actual writing.
But today, I read some Glennon Melton Doyle. And she’s about the best person to read when you want to write. If she can be all over the place, still make total sense, and you love her for it . . . well, who’s to say I can’t be a little scattered myself.
So for starters, I need to tell you about Gigantor II.
Now, in case you don’t remember, Gingantor I was the biggest. most awful spider I’ve ever met. Well, actually, I’m not sure “met” is the right word . . .
Maddy and I were driving along the highway. Then Gigantor popped out from his hundred-year den in our car, upon which time Maddy began screaming “Spider!!! Spider!!”
Now if you seriously want to get your adrenalin up, simply cruise along at 60 mph while a practical tarantula is making eyes to eat your daughter. Or charge your bare legs. One or the other. But you can’t look behind you, so you don’t know what Gigantor will do.
I ignore my first compulsion to crash the car to kill the spider. Thankfully, common sense told me to drive on.
After a very fearful drive, I pull up to a bank, park in the back corner, and hop out looking for Gigantor. I had glimpsed his spindly legs oh so briefly while driving, and he was HUGE. HUGE.
While I’m doing my best to not scream like a girl, and move things out of the way in hopes of uncovering the cowering little coward, I notice something else. Hornets. Hornets who seem angry and are flying at my head and in my car.
This time I do scream. I scream a lot. I grab Maddy’s backpack and wave it around like a shield.
Crazy lady in the bank parking lot screaming “Get away!” and waving a bright pink Roxy backpack around like a shield of protection against invisible attackers.
I needed a distraction. Not for the actual people watching me, but for the hornets themselves. I need to distract them from eating me and my kid.
The backpack wasn’t good enough. I grabbed a packet of honey I randomly had in my car (please remember, I had two kids — I am well stocked for an insect emergency) open it up, and toss it away from the car. A bribe of sorts. A peace offering.
“Go eat! I’m not food!” I yell at the hornets. And well, at anyone around who just so happened to be gawking.
And once I am finally sure that all hornets had in fact exited my car, I hop in the drivers seat, and beeline it the heck out of there . . . taking my chances that Gingantor will scurry up my vulnerable little ankles the moment he has a chance.
Finally, we are home. I grab my daughter out of the car as though the car was on fire and she was in fact in danger of dying, and proceed to dump everything EVERYTHING out onto our driveway in no form or fashion, whip out my Dyson, and suck the crap out of my car.
I never found Gigantor. I hoped my Dyson ate him.
Sadly, I found out last night his legend lives on.
Gigantor’s successor came to visit.
I was watching back-to-back episodes of Gilmore Girls on my phone. Of course, my phone is muted, and my glasses are off, meaning my phone is about 2 inches from my face and I’m desperately trying to both read the captions at the same time as I focus on the faces, so I miss anything else going on in the world.
I’m so absorbed, I don’t notice Maddy come in. Until she is right there, in my face, just like my phone.
“Mom, there’s this big black spider in my room.”
Trying to be the bigger parent, and let my husband sleep, I get up with her, thinking, “it’s probably this tiny thing scampering on the floor.”
This is Gigantor II. Clinging to the drapery right next to her bed. A monster. Next to my baby’s bed.
I’m calling it. I’m no match for Gigantor.
Time for reinforcements.
“Ryan, Maddy has a spider in her room,” I say, rousing him from his dead sleep.
“Um, what do you want me to do,” he sort of mumble moans, fully expecting/hoping me to say “Nothing. baby, I got this. You go back to sleep.”
“I need you to get it. It’s really big. I mean, really big.”
Being the really nice man I always knew he was, he rolls out of bed, and blindly stumbles down the softly-lit hall. I quickly turn on all the lights so he can see how massive this creature is.
“Geez, that’s big.”
I want to say “told you so. I wouldn’t have gotten you out of bed for anything less.” But I hold my thoughts.
He goes to get something to capture it, and I standby, waiting to report on any movement. He comes back with a Tupperware. Strange choice, I think, but whatev’s, he’s the spider-killing-machine in our house. Use your weapon of choice.
“Here, Rachel, stand by with a shoe and get him if he falls. These big guys can be fast.”
What he should have said was, “These huge spiders are so adept at remaining out of sight, that the moment I so much as move toward him, he will drop to the ground and disappear like magic. We will never, ever find him again.”
Because, actually, that’s exactly what happened. I didn’t blink. I didn’t move. I just sat and watched a full-grown spider disappear in front of my eyes.
Ryan and I did our due diligence. We moved the bed, picked everything up, searched all over. But Gigantor II was lost to the to world.
And it was up to me to break the news to Maddy.
“Sorry baby, we tried. You’ll just have to try to sleep, and if you see him again, let us know. And you can keep the lights on.”
She took it better than I thought.
Or at least I thought she did.
Until the clock read 2:45 am, and I awoke to a human silently staring at me. Once I realized said human was actually my daughter, my heart dislodged itself from my throat and returned back to my chest, like a good heart should.
“Mom . . . I have been up this whole time. I can’t sleep and I can’t find the spider.”
Exactly what a mom wants to hear on a school night.
So I move over, and make room for my girl, like any good mom would. And then once she’s sound asleep, I wake up the hubby and ask him to move her back to her bed. Well, to be honest, he probably wasn’t that sound asleep either. As soon as she woke me up, the nausea hit, my bladder reminded me of just how dang full it gets even when I’m not drinking much, and my intense need for personal space right now meant that I kept moving around, trying to get away from touching the humans on both sides of me.
All that to say — this morning, we were tired.
Also to say, spiders suck. And so does nausea. At least there were no hornets involved.
Today I made it to mom’s group. I haven’t made it to mom’s group in about 6 weeks. Basically, for all intents and purposes, I’ve mostly dropped off the face of the planet.
There’s one big reason for this: Hypermesis gravidarum. Even a mild case is still a pretty good reason to stay home most days.
Now before I get started talking about it, I want to make two things really super crystal clear:
- Dealing with any pregnancy complication/health complication, when it results in a live, human baby and a live human mother, is 100% better than wanting said live baby, and not having the chance to have it — either through loss, or infertility.
- I have never, nor will ever, forget this. I promise a million times over.
That being umderstood, this current bout of nausea/vomiting has caused a bit of an existential crises for me.
I don’t know where I got it from, and maybe when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter where I got it from. But a HUGE part of what I value in myself is what I contribute. Which means, if I’m not PRODUCING something of value, I have NO self-respect or self-esteem at all.
That means, I sometimes don’t understand love when you haven’t done anything to deserve it.
I don’t fully comprehend this unconditional grace and unashamed love thing Jesus has going on.
In my book, things are earned.
So when I can’t earn it … well, I don’t like it. Because every feeling I face every day that says “I’m not enough” comes right back at me. Stares at me. Challenges me.
And right there with the feeling of feeling oh-so-not-worthy, I also feel guilty. Because I remember ever single freaking night I cried because someone around me complained about morning sickness, and I ached — oh heaven, how I ached — wishing I could be sick as a dog as long as it meant there was a live baby in me.
But this other thing this pregnancy has been, besides a crystal-clear mirror on the serious amount of personal growth and straight up surrender to Jesus that I need to do — has been something of a phantom.
Because I WANT to attach to my baby. I want to be excited, and hopeful, and look back at this time as a sweet gift from God.
But what I FEEL is almost complacency.
Gratitude — yes. For sure. Always there, always will be.
But it’s this sort of incredulous gratitude because none of this actually feels real.
I mean, the nausea that is never-ending feels real. The bone-tired exhaustion, the laying in bed most of the day, the inability to at times brush my teeth, drink any fluid or take my kids to school is real. The million times the nurse tried to stick an IV in me felt awful real. The sudden vomiting with no warning whatsoever feels real.
But a baby? A real baby, with a beating heart, and a future in my arms, seems still as far away as it did when I had given up hope.
Ultrasounds show things are progressing, and I literally am dumbfounded as to how. I’ve not done anything differently this time around (I mean, besides having to treat the hyperemesis gravidarum.) I took all the same supplements, did all the same things, and somehow, there’s a baby still growing. There’s still a heartbeat, even though I never expect to hear one when the doctors go to check. And for crying out loud, I still look at my toilet paper every single time. Every time.
I’m grateful. But I’m still sort of waiting for the ball to drop.
And so today — I make a pact with myself that I will do everything in my power to make it to mom’s group, in spite of the fact that a giant spider and my nausea conspired against me. I might be (oh the shame) wearing the same outfit I wore and slept in for 2 days. (I have to at least tell you I changed panties. That helps, right?) I put a cap on my messy hair, and I just sort of say, “screw the looks, I’m going to go be with my peeps.”
And I could cry. (Ok, I did cry.) Because all my beautiful mommy friends didn’t cringe away from my haphazard job to pull myself together. They were so excited to see me. As I was them! Lots of hugs, lots of them.
I couldn’t help but think, man, all this shame I have been wallowing in these days. Feeling like I’m not good enough, pretty enough, successful enough, or heaven-forbid STRONG enough for keeping all my feelings in, and I show up, just as I am, and I’m embraced, and loved on.
Not only did these mamas love me. They even secretly went around and got borrowed all the books on my wishlist so I had something to do when I was lying in bed pukey all day. I left with all the books I’ve been dying to read.
And then, to top of grace upon grace, my dear friends and upline Georgie and Meredith sent me an edible arrangement, saying they hoped I’d feel better soon and they were thinking of me.
This is of course, after my sweet mom drops everything on Tuesday for me. Because I text her and say, “I can’t roll over. I can’t move. I can’t do anything without throwing up.” And my mom drops everything, gets my girls ready for school, takes them to school, folds my laundry, takes me to her house, takes me to the pharamacy, and after all the meds I’ve stuffed down and stuffed up (don’t ask) starts to kick in — she feeds me. And then, of all things, draws a bath for me.
And I sit submerging my body that feels all wrong and looks all weird under the weight of hot water, and for a time, a short sweet blissful time, I’m free of nausea, and I’m free of oily hair, and I’m free of all the yuckiness.
I think, if the world had more moms like my mom, this world would be a better place.”
All of these women in my life. Women I love, women I desperately want to please and be enough for, loving me just as I am. Showing me grace when all I see is shame and lack.
Showing me the extravagance of Jesus’s love.
If only this world had a lot more people who love like Jesus — and a lot less Gigantor spiders. This world would be even more amazing than it already is.