Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Week Later

It was one week ago that my story changed.  It was one week ago that I had the hardest day and night of my life.  It was one week ago that I reached out for support in a way I never have.

You can see the results of the last week on my body.  You can see my now cresent swollen eyes, with circles under them that concealer doesn't even touch.  You can see my swollen feet both from being pregnant but also from pushing myself a bit more than I should have.  You can see my raw nose from using too many cheap hospital Kleenex.  Up until yesterday you could see that my hair even went a little gray-er, but luckily a friend came over and fixed that problem.

But beyond all that I wish you could see my heart.  I feel like it was ripped out, stepped on, and then shoved back inside. But through all the trauma, I feel like God held it together.  It might be bruised and battered, but it is still beating, and so is my mom's.

Yesterday was a rough day for me.  While my mom was doing better physically, you could tell she was getting emotionally tired.  I can't imagine being stuck inside my body, without sedation and unable to talk for two days.  This process has taught me more and more of what I take for granted and what really matters.  My mental goal for the day was to get the breathing tube out.  Based on the vent settings and conversations I had with the nurses the previous day, I wasn't really sure why it was still in and didn't feel as though I was given a good answer for it either.  I was frustrated and ready to kill someone.   If one more person walked in and suctioned out my conscious mom's lungs without giving her a warning, I was ready to take that tube and shove it somewhere else.  It was one of those days.  I felt mentally and emotionally done, and I was angry that while I could decide to throw in the towel and call it a day, my mom had no such option.  I was no longer in the mood to play nice and if my mother can't advocate for herself, then you bet your ass her family will.

Because the balloon pump was going to come out, they wanted to wait to take out the breathing tube until after that was done.  It is easier for that tube to come out once you can sit up and take a deep breath.  I get that.  I could get on board with that plan.  But then it took until 530 to get the balloon pump out because her liver wasn't able to clear the anticoagulant out of her system in a normal amount of time.  One of the nurses had told me they never extubate at night in case something goes wrong, because they are less resources.  So when the balloon came out at 530 and I knew she had to lay flat for 5 hours, I felt defeated.  I felt like I had fought all day for nothing.  Even if my mom's spirit could take one more night of that, even if it wasn't a medical necessity, I didn't think I could. My sisters came up to the hospital and I decided to leave.  I felt like I was out of my fight.

Maybe that was God's plan all along.  Maybe I needed to learn that I didn't need to fight alone, or that others are on my side and fighting too.  I left the hospital around 630.  Balloon pump was out and her chest tubes were going to come out next.  At 745 my sister texted me saying that she really liked the night nurse and that she was going to be extubated tonight.  So I sobbed my face of with excitement for my mom and with sadness for not being able to be there.  To not be able to hear her second, first words.  I know that sounds a bit ridiculous, but our goal by the doctors was to live through the weekend.  I think I spent those five days mentally preparing for the very real possibility of losing my mother.  I didn't know if she was ever going to tell me something again.  While she had written some things down on paper, I didn't know if my whole momma's mind was still in that head.  I didn't know if she would still have the spirit to fight when we took away all the support.  I didn't know how broken her heart would be, beyond the physical, which I knew all too well.

But according to my sisters, she is still in there.  She bargained for two ice chips last night almost immediately after the tube was removed, once she realized she wasn't going to get that one inch of water.  She told my sisters that she loves them.  And she could tell people what she needed.  It must have been the most beautiful whisper my sisters had ever heard.  I can't wait to hear it for myself this afternoon.

So I guess my goal was accomplished, even if it wasn't in the way I thought it was going to happen. I'm learning that God is big enough  and that I am not alone, and that I do not have to fight alone.  I'm learning its OK to rest a bit, and to remember I am pregnant.

In my super honest talks with friends and family, I have said how I want a first pregnancy redo.  Because in the past month I have really kind of forgotten about being pregnant and not focused on it at all.  But today I am able to see, that while I might not have had the giddy focus on my growing belly, I have learned so much more about life and myself that I can now teach my sweet babe to be.  I have grown up and been given more perspective.  I wish it was easier to gain such things when life is easy and I am running forward with full steam ahead.  My tendency is to run through life, accomplishing as much as possible, and slowly God is teaching me that this is not how life is meant to be lived.  It's not just about painting a cute nursery and buying cute maternity clothes.  It's not about having all that crap you are told you need at BuyBuyBaby.  It's about creating a world for my baby where they learn what really matters.  It's about focusing on those first words.  It's about the first time my mom asked me to come close yesterday so that she could rub my growing belly.  It's about letting my guard down and allowing people to be on our team, to influence our lives for the better, and then also our child's.

Please continue to pray for my mom.  She has a really rough and long road ahead of her.  I am so excited for how far we have come, but we still have a long way to go and I want to know she has people fighting for her, praying for her, and supporting her.  We still have things to work through with her foot and my mom has not moved her own body in the last week.  She has been incredibly deconditioned and the heart took a big blow.  We have not yet been given a plan or an idea about what her rehab looks like. I think she surprised everyone by her improvements in the past couple of days.  So as we navigate these waters, pray for us.  Because God will continue to be faithful, as he has demonstrated in the past week.

I just want to reiterate that God would still be the same faithful and good God if my mom went to heaven last week.  There have been so many highs and lows, and I am learning to trust.  Trust that God's plan is good and true, even when it doesn't make sense to us.  So I will trust that she is meant to be here, and I will continue to love, support, and fight for that.  I am grateful for that.  And I am scared of the journey that lies ahead.  One moment and one day at a time, I hope my family and my mom can take this on with grace.  That we can be a living example of hope.  We will have our ugly moments, because we are real and we are human, but I pray that overall, we will be an open story of hope for others.

My sister just texted.  I need to go update people that the dialysis tube is out.  Happy Independence Day.  Grateful does not begin to describe my current state.


  1. Jaci, my eyes welled up with tears reading your mom is talking! She will continue on her path to recovery and peace (of mind and soul). She has God's strength to lean on. Don't forget to lean on Him yourself! We will always be here for your family, no need to ask. Thank you for the wonderful news AND your enlightened perspective on Life, God, Being. Hugs!! Love, Karen

    1. Happy Independence Day indeed! Love, the Bells

  2. Hi Jaci. We've never met but I'm your Mom's first cousin. (Barb Bornhorst Wierzbicki) I'm thrilled to see your Mom is doing somewhat better and I'd appreciate it if you let her know I've been praying for her.
    Her brother Bob told me what happened and I've been trying to somehow get in touch with you and then I noticed the comment section here. (I'm a computer idiot sometimes...LOL) It's like I told Bob, prayer really works and I will continue to pray for her and for all of you. You're a good daughter kiddo. Hang in there. Your Mom is a strong lady. Please give her a hug from me.

  3. More prayers from California for your Mom and you girls and your family. We pray she will continue to gain strength and heal. Hugs. Tell her her Sister's sister sends love!