Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Five Years


Five years ago, I hit send on an email to Steve. It wasn't easy. It had taken me a year to decide whether or not to bring up the idea, another week to actually write it, and then several beers to work up the courage to send it.

I knew that email was going to be a turning point. What happened next would be determined by Steve's reaction. Either he would think I was nuts and ignore the email, in which case I'd have to decide whether or not I was willing to continue in our marriage the way it was. Or he would see the email for what it truly was, a desperate cry for help in fixing things, and be willing to join me in trying to fix things, with or without my unusual solution for doing so.

I couldn't bring myself to stay in the room while he read it. To be honest, I ran off and hid in the shower in the master bath. I stayed in there long after I was clean, the hot water had ran out, and I had heard our bedroom door open. I thought it took a lot of courage to send that email, but it was nothing compared to what it took to walk out of that bathroom to see Steve's reaction to it.

Thankfully, he didn't think I was nuts and was willing to give it a try if it meant fixing our marriage. Five years later, we're still going. A lot has happened over these past five years. Some things have had us jumping in joy. Others have broken our hearts. But we've weathered it, both good and bad, together.

DD owes a lot of credit for that. While it seemed like a crazy idea at the time, it's worked for us. We learned how to talk to each other and listen. We started making time for each other and showing appreciation for the little things. We began to identify behaviors that were destructive to our relationship and take steps to get away from them.

It didn't change things overnight. It took time. Sometimes we'd stumble and we'd need a little help from each other, sometimes you guys as well, to find our way back. There were times when we had things in such a mess that we had to backtrack to figure out exactly where we went wrong so we could fix it. Occasionally, I'd veer off and blaze my own trail (not necessarily a good one), but Steve always came to find me. It wasn't always easy, but we stayed committed to it, and more importantly we stayed committed to each other and improving our marriage.

It's been a heck of a journey so far, but from where I'm standing, I think we can call it a successful one. I can't wait to see what the next five years brings.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Such a Lovely Place

Several years ago, I found myself in a place that I'd only heard about in whispers. It was a wonderful place. I was so relaxed my entire body from head to toe felt like jelly and I was flying on a cloud of pleasure and warmth. It was almost like an out of body experience. At the time, I was too busy enjoying the experience to analyze it, but later, I remember thinking "This must be subspace. No wonder it's spoken of in such awe."

To my dismay, I couldn't find my way back to that wonderful place. The harder I tried, the further away it seemed. Finally, I gave up, figuring it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. Over time, it became a distant memory.

The other night Steve and I were snuggled up in bed watching TV. As sometimes happens, one thing led to another. Several orgasms later, I was laying there catching my breath when it occurred to me that I wanted more. It came as a surprise since depression and grief has had my sex drive pretty low these past few months. But it was an overwhelming urge. I wanted more and I wanted it now!

Steve was easily convinced to go for another round. The moment he entered me, an orgasm hit. It continued as he began to move and then another started, overlapping it. Then another. And another. It was like one never-ending orgasm.

I was so focused on the orgasms that it took me a minute to realize that floaty sensation creeping in. By the time he reached his own orgasm, I was flying. I savored every minute of my visit to subspace. Later when I had returned to Earth, I was so relaxed even my bones felt like they were made of jelly. I was also exhausted so I curled up right again Steve and went to sleep.

Now that I know it's possible to return to that lovely place, I want to do it again and again. I just hope it doesn't take several more years to do it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Finding Our New Normal

Steve has always been protective of me, even before we started DD. Stepping into the HoH role strengthened that protectiveness, but he balanced the need to protect with my need for independence and it worked well for us. When I got pregnant, he got a little more protective. I have to admit at times that I would get annoyed, but knowing that it would ease up once the baby arrived made it easier to take.

Then we lost our baby and I nearly died. Steve's protective instinct went into overdrive. At first, that was a good thing. I was such a mess that I wasn't taking care of myself and needed someone looking out for me. Someone to make sure I took my medicine, remind me to eat, make me rest and keep me from overdoing it.

It took me a while to realize that he was protecting me from himself as well. No matter what I said or did, he let it go. I got mad and yelled at him one day. He apologized for upsetting me. I forgot to turn a burner off before leaving the house. He didn't say a word, just started checking behind me whenever I was using the stove. He'd ask me to take care of something and it wouldn't get done because I forgot. He would just remind me the next day or do it himself. Finally I asked him why. He said I had been through so much that he didn't want to hurt me.

It started to bother me. All I want is to feel normal again and you can't feel normal when everyone is treating you like you're breakable. It probably sounds crazy that I wanted Steve to get upset with me, but I needed him to. If he reacted like he did back when everything was normal, then I could feel normal again.

This past week, I hit my limit. I was determined to get a reaction out of him. So I decided to push a few buttons. I started small with a little act of rebellion that I figured he'd call me on. Nothing to get us in a fight, but it should have got some sort of reaction. Nothing happened.

I'm stubborn, though, so I didn't give up. I stepped up to a bigger button, his major pet peeve. I didn't just push that button. I danced all over it, sticking out my tongue and practically daring him to say something. I could tell it was bugging him, but he didn't say a word.

It was my counselor that pointed out the cycle we were stuck in. I'm getting frustrated because I want to feel normal and can't because Steve is treating me like something fragile. He sees my frustration and backs off thinking he doesn't want to make it worse. That just gets me even more frustrated, which makes him back off even more.

A little while after my appointment, Steve called so I took the opportunity to talk to him about it and tell him what the counselor said. He just repeated what he'd said before about not wanting to hurt me, which had me ready to pull my hair out in frustration. I didn't get much chance to say anything else because another call came in so he had to go. It was probably a good thing because it gave me a chance to calm down before trying again.

After he got in from work, I brought the subject up again. At first, it didn't seem like we were getting anywhere. Then it occurred to me to point out that feeling normal was important to my emotional health. We ended up reaching a compromise. He promised to start treating me like normal again, although with a little grace on my bad days, as long as I promise to tell him right away if anything is making me feel worse.

I guess he was pretty irked about me stomping all over his pet peeve because he took me at my word and I got a reaction later that evening. He took it easy and just used his hand because it has been over a year, but I definitely felt his displeasure. Much later after the stinging had eased and we had made love, I curled up against him and fell asleep right away, something that I haven't been able to achieve for months without reaching the point of exhaustion or taking medication.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Q&A

Who is the oldest? 

Him by a lot

Who was interested first?

Him

Same high school?

No. Given our age difference, he was graduating about the time I was born. We did have the same mascot though.

Worst temper?

This is a tough one. We both have tempers. I'd say me because his fuse is shorter so he lets it out while I simmer until I blow.
 
Who is more sensitive? 

Me.

More social?

Him. I'm an introvert.

Wakes up first? 

Him usually. He's a morning person. I'm the night owl.

Bigger family?

We're about even. Although if you look at cousins, especially once you get into the second and third cousins, I have him beat hands down. My mom's side of the family must have spent a lot of time in bed. LOL

Who cooks the most? 

Me. Steve doesn't really cook aside from grilling or the occasional eggs.

Flowers?

I love flowers, although I tend to prefer wildflowers. As I told Steve once, anybody can go to the florist and get roses. Taking the time to pick wildflowers off the side of the road means someone is thinking of you.
 
Cries more?

Me.

Better singer?

Me. Steve tries, but let's just say he shouldn't give up his day job.

Best driver?

It's about even. I'm a more cautious driver, but Steve is a more defensive driver.

Hogs the remote?

Him. I rarely watch TV aside from a couple shows I like so I don't mind giving up the remote.

Clothes'/shoe hoarder? 


He has more clothes. I have more shoes, which is kind of ironic when you consider I prefer to go barefoot whenever possible.

More stubborn? 

Depends on the issue, but in general, it's me that's more stubborn.

Who said I love you first?

Him. I'd been burned a couple times so I wasn't interested in getting involved in a relationship, but that was one time he was more stubborn than me. Twelve years later, we're still together.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Feeling Alone

It's been a rough week. I had been steadily improving, both physically and emotionally, but that came to a screeching halt this week. I had a really bad day on Monday and it went downhill from there. Having a bad day from time to time isn't out of the ordinary, but usually I can shake it off. I just can't seem to do it this time. I've been down all week.

I just feel so alone in all of this. My mom, who was such a huge support in the beginning, has gone back to her life. While I can still call her if I'm having a rough day, it's not the same. She's busy with other stuff and half the time we talk, she has to go because she has something else going on.

Steve's been gone a lot for work. They changed his schedule so he's going in earlier now. In theory, that should mean he gets to come home earlier, but it hasn't worked out that way. Nine times out of ten, a call will come in just before he's due to leave and his boss sends him out to take care of it. He's also been on call this week and has received several middle of the night calls. When he has been home, he's been so exhausted that he pretty much eats, showers and goes straight to bed so I haven't really been able to talk to him about how I'm feeling.

My best friend disappeared on me after I lost my daughter. She called out the blue this week, asking if she could come by. I reluctantly agreed and we talked. Even though she's apologized several times for not being there for me, I'm not sure I can forgive her for abandoning me in the darkest moment of my life, especially since it's taken her nearly six months to finally come around. I can't help but feel that the only reason she's coming around now is that she needs a friend because she just split with her husband. I really envy those people that have a true friend that they can depend on.

It's lonely being the mom of a child that's gone. In the beginning, everyone gathers round. Then they go back to their lives and you're left trying to cope on your own. Very few people in my circle have experienced a loss so even though they try to understand, they don't really get it. Until you've had your heart ripped out of your chest, you can't.

The isolation is compounded by the fact I rarely leave the house. I've started having panic attacks when I'm in the car so I don't drive unless I absolutely have to, mainly just picking up my older daughter from school (Steve usually takes her in the mornings) or going to counseling.

P.S.-It occurred to me recently that I never updated my email address when I changed it last year. If you emailed me and didn't get a response, I'm not ignoring you. I just didn't get it. The correct email is on the sidebar.

Monday, February 6, 2017

One Word

It's funny how it only takes a single word to take you back in time.

As you know, I've been in counseling. My counselor is pretty flexible with how our sessions go. Sometimes he'll start the conversation by asking about something specific, but a lot of times, he just asks what's on my mind and we go from there. It's a pretty good system because it ensures that I get a chance to get out whatever is weighing on me that particular day.

Last week, I brought up something that has been on my mind for a while, but I've been avoiding talking about. Me and Steve's relationship or, if you want to get really accurate about it, my fears about the strength of our relationship to cope with losing a child. In the midst of our conversation, the counselor said something to the effect of not wanting to just be roommates.

With that word, I was suddenly thrown back in time to five years ago. Our marriage wasn't in a good place then. We were still together, but there wasn't a strong connection between us. We shared a home, a child and sometimes a bed, but we pretty much lived separate lives. We were basically roommates. Even though I was unhappy, I lived in fear of him saying he didn't want to stay married any more.

So I took a huge chance and wrote Steve a massive email spilling out my heart and asking him to consider something that probably sounded a little strange. And even though it was a bit off the wall, he took a chance in trying it. It made a huge difference in our relationship. Our bond strengthened. We started talking, really talking. I learned that I could be independent and still lean on him. DD has made us the couple we are today.

When I look back on these past few months, I wonder if we would still be together if I hadn't taken that chance five years ago. Losing a child can take a toll on a relationship and a lot of relationships don't survive. But we have. A bit bruised and battered, but we're still standing together.

Because we strengthened our bond and opened the lines of communication, I feel safe sharing my grief with Steve. Even though I get frustrated at needing someone to lean on, I know that I can lean on him. I don't think the woman I was five years ago could say that.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Still Going

I don't want to be one of those bloggers that just up and disappears, but these days I find it hard to put into words what's going on and where my head is at. So I'm going to take advantage of this being a day where I have some words to do a quick update.

I continue to heal physically and emotionally. I have to admit I sometimes get frustrated at how slowly I'm healing. Even though it's been a little over three months, I still have quite a bit of pain and fatigue. I'm also still fighting the cold that started shortly after I got out of the hospital. Even though I told the doctor that I'm prone to upper respiratory infections and was worried it was heading into bronchitis, she refused to give me anything for it so I've been taking over the counter cold medicine and hoping for the best. At least the Nyquil knocks me out so I can sleep. Otherwise, I'm awake for days until I'm exhausted enough that I can sleep.

Emotionally, I still have my ups and downs. Some days are okay; others not so much. Christmas was really hard. Then this week I had a bad day that resulted in a total meltdown. To make a long story short, I got in an argument with Steve, spent some time driving around in my car screaming at the top of my lungs and then returned home to drown him in tears. Thankfully, he understands that it's the grief talking and I'm not myself right now.

I started counseling last month. It has its own ups and downs. I like the freedom of being able to say whatever I want without worrying that I'm going to hurt someone's feelings or stir up their own feelings of grief. Some sessions are really rough though. I had one recently where I was so wrung out emotionally that I came home and went straight to bed. I just couldn't deal with anything else that day.

I was able to find an online grief support group. They have a few chats daily, mostly in the evenings. I've attended a couple so far and found it helpful. I was also surprised to find that there is a Facebook group for women who have had my particular complication (which is a rare one). While not all of the women in the group lost their babies due to it, it's nice to be able to talk to others that have dealt with it, especially when I have questions about the recovery process.

Steve's still enjoying his new job, although he hates the on-call aspect of it. There's been a couple days when he's got a call right after arriving home and he's had to turn around and go right back out. And of the course the middle of the night calls suck as well. Thankfully, it's a rotating schedule so he's only on call two weeks out of the month. The second week isn't as bad because he's not the main on-call person, just the backup.