It’s not news to anyone that I tend to be a glass half empty person. I tell myself I’m just being “realistic” but more and more I see that I’m just being negative, hopeless and all around depressing. In my faith, I tell myself that God would remind me of all that I have been blessed with and I have nothing to complain about. It can ALWAYS be worse. But it’s hard! Life is hard and constantly throwing curve balls, so it’s so easy to get caught up in the “Why Me?” game, as I call it. I always find myself asking this question. Whether it be something as small as spilling a little coffee on your shirt or forgetting to bring the receipt for something you wanted to return once you already made the trip ALLLLL the way to the store. Or as big as a serious relationship trial, break up, car accident, job loss or medical diagnosis you never foresaw coming. How do you stay away from the awful, self loathing game of “Why Me?”
I don’t have the answers. Ha! Sorry if you were reading this ready for some awes-inspiring, magical fix to this struggle. I ain’t got it for you. But I am here to share some insight, perspective and hopefully it helps you look at this in a different light. Now, I will say that my family and I do have some pretty terrible luck. I’m in no way saying we’ve had a bad or challenging life. Both of my parents are still together, Godly people who have worked hard to give us the best life they could give. But we have had some pretty bad luck throughout the years. Most recognizably would be our bad luck when it came to our pets. The poor outdoor cat we had who was crushed in the garage (yes, that happened and it was awful), our hamsters that froze and got lose and became wild in the basement for almost a year, our dog who had seizures and velveteen show rabbit that became so evil and aggressive she was let lose in the woods. Guys, it’s amazing I was brave enough to even get another pet let alone have my dog, Lexi, for almost 11 years now. (She’s my big fur baby and I love her so much!) But in all of those situations, it was a “Why is this happening to me? Why is this happening to us?” moment. How about when I crashed my car in a 10 foot ditch hitting an electric fence, totaling it, right after I got my license in the snow. OR the other time I totaled my cavalier when driving back from Athens slamming into the back of a truck because I dropped my taco (yes, you read that right), TACO on the floor and bent down to pick it up. That was fun. I played the “Why Me?” game several times after I graduated from college with a degree in Art Education and I could NOT pass the Praxis test that was required to get my teaching license for the life of me! I took that test FIVE times people. I resorted to taking a shot of vodka in the parking garage out of the trunk of my car before the test to ease my anxiety. Hey, don’t judge me. My mom suggested it and guess what, I passed. But when I didn’t pass it for the fourth time, I started doubting ever becoming a teacher and fell into that depressing place of why is this happening to me? That place of doubt, losing all motivation and self-confidence. It’s not a fun place to be. If you ask my friends, they will agree and tell you I have had some pretty terrible luck. When something happens to me, their first response is, “how does this stuff always happen to you?” I reply back, “I DON’T KNOW but really, why does it always happen to me?!” It was a running joke in my family that we had the bad “Poole luck” and when I married my husband Danny, I was going to inherit his good “Pierson luck”! I’m still waiting for that to happen…
But this isn’t a place for me to be on my soapbox and play my sad violin about all of the “hard times” I’ve had in my life. I am thankful enough to have always had a roof over my head, food to eat (even if it was ramen noodles), clothes to wear (more than I need) and surrounded by family and friends. How can I seriously sit around and be sad about life when I put it into that perspective? When I look at it as my glass being half FULL. My life is FULL. But man was that hard, so very hard to say when we learned that our son, our first child, suffered from a medical diagnosis called hydrocephalus when I was 36 weeks pregnant. Talk about the “Why Me?” game and it hit us HARD. I will never forget that moment. I had been pregnant for 36 weeks with no complications. I am talking no signs of any distress, all blood work normal, blood pressure normal, no heart problems, no gestational diabetes, no signs of preeclampsia and baby growing as he should, NOTHING that pointed towards a high-risk pregnancy. I was young (enough) and generally healthy. So when I told my gynecologist that I felt as though Kai wasn’t moving around as much as he should be at this point, she told me we would go ahead and monitor him for a half an hour. He was super active in that half an hour, of course, and she wasn’t concerned at all after that. But she said that the ultrasound tech just happened to have an opening and that we would get an ultrasound just to “ease my mind”. Well, I can tell you right now, I know why that ultrasound tech had an opening and it wasn’t just good timing. There was someone else bigger than me, the doctor or Kai orchestrating that. The look on that ultrasound tech’s face will forever be engraved into my brain. I’m sure she was expecting a routine ultrasound and was just as shocked as I was when she discovered a substantial amount of fluid in my son’s brain. Now, I obviously wasn’t seeing this, those ultrasounds are so hard to see and understand! (Que Rachel Green from Friends crying “I can’t see it!!”) But it was written all over her face that something was not right and it would be my lovely “Poole luck” that Danny wasn’t at this appointment with me. (Although, he had attended every single other appointment with me throughout my pregnancy – but in the words of Ali Wong, no confetti for you! Where is my confetti?!)
To learn more about hydrocephalus, you can go to the link below. If you feel compelled, please consider joining our team in a free walk or donate to our cause. Our fight: raising awareness and money for a cure!
After about ten minutes, three other doctors, including my gynecologist, flooded the room to discuss the ultrasound. As I laid there helpless and clueless as to what they were saying (medical jargon), my mind wandered to the most terrible places. It was apparent something was wrong but to what extent and what exactly it was, I had no idea. They later explained to me that everyone has spinal fluid in their brains, this run through our ventricles that circulate up through our head and back down our spine. At least I think that’s how it works? Kai’s ventricle was either “plugged up” or not even fully formed. It was all hard to see in an ultrasound but what was very clear was the massive amount of fluid built up in his brain, that wasn’t supposed to be there. Oh and we discovered he was breech. So, his large head was shoved up in my rib cage. That felt great. I was immediately sent to St. Ann’s hospital to their MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) department to get another ultrasound by a high-risk gynecologist who confirmed what we previously discovered. She gave us several options, all which led to having a C-section, it was just a matter of when. Her name was Dr. Rink and she was AMAZING. I will forever be grateful for that woman. In that appointment, I sat with my husband and my mother as we just held each other and cried. None of us, including the doctors, knew what this fully entailed for our little man. There were so many questions. Will he come out crying, screaming and breathing on his own? Will he be coherent at all? What does the inside of his brain look like? Will he ever be able to eat, crawl, walk, talk, etc? Will he have some sort of mental disorder? Be classified as “special needs”? What does this all mean and WHY ME? But this is truly where this gut-wrenching question changed for me and became, “Why Him?” As believers, my husband and I have tried to constantly lean on our faith in this venture with Kai. That gives us comfort for sure but still doesn’t make any of it easier. God also never promises that any of the trials we go through here on earth to be easy.
But seriously, if you’re in the Columbus area and experiencing a high-risk pregnancy (which I hope isn’t the case for all of you) , I highly recommend this amazing doctor.
I left the MFM office with a C-section scheduled three days later on Monday, December 11 in the morning. I spent the weekend trying to keep busy and surrounded by family and friends. I remember going shopping, packing our bag for the hospital (as we weren’t ready since it was 3-4 weeks before we thought this would be happening) and watching TV/having meals with loved ones. But if I’m truly transparent, the most memorable part of those three days waiting for Kai to enter this world was the Saturday morning, two days after we found out, when Danny went to LA Fitness for his usual morning work out and I was alone. (Well, with my dogs) I sat on the floor or our nursery, leaning up against Kai’s crib and sobbed. I just kept asking God, WHY? Why Me? Why Him? I guess I was hoping for some big thundering moment hearing God’s voice telling me why… but I didn’t. In fact, I felt more scared, alone and helpless than I ever had in my entire life. But I think God wanted me to feel that way, I think he wanted me to get that self-pity out so that I was prepared for Kai entering this world. So, I was ready to give him the best version of my self as his mother because it’s what he needed. It’s what he deserved. I promised myself after that moment that I was allowed to be sad and have moments when I question, “Why Me?” But I was no longer going to linger on that. I would let myself feel it, move past it, ask God to give me the strength to keep pushing forward, look at our beautiful boy and say, not today.
I know we all have struggles. We all have hard times. We have the lows and we have the highs. We have the moments when we ask, “Why Me?” But you’re not alone and it’s not always you. You can get past it and you will.
Thanks for reading. I’ll continue to share our story of our sweet Kai. Stay tuned.