Wednesday, January 26, 2011

whirly winds and roller coasters

(warning this is going to be a long post- I'm just feeling it today)

Well its been a whirl wind since I posted last. I'm a little overwhelmed at how well things are going right now. Sometimes I'm confused at blessings. Does that ever happen to you? Where you ask yourself, Gosh - what in the world did I do to get this? And you realize its just that we have a gracious God. That's how I'm feeling.

So it happened like this:
In December we visited family in Texas. We got back late on a Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning I discovered I was pregnant. Yeah. Pregnant with a "P". All day I was in a state of shock and I hardly knew what to do with myself. Doug got home and I wrapped up the test and gave it to him as a belated Christmas present. We cried and sat on the floor in the kitchen and talked for hours about how scared we were. The next morning I was bleeding very badly. I wasn't sure how much blood was normal for implantation bleeding so I went in to the midwife clinic. They confirmed I was pregnant and then had me go over to the hospital to get an ultrasound. They couldn't find anything so they told me I had probably miscarried. I was very sad and though I hadn't gotten to the point where I was truly excited about the pregnancy, or had pictured the baby or clothes or names or any of that, I still felt sad. Then on our way home they called and said I had to come back immediately.

I had an ectopic pregnancy outside of the uterus. They did a bunch of tests and discovered that my HCG levels were low enough that my body was getting rid of the fetus on its own. So I went back every other day to get tests done to confirm that my hcg levels were going down and the fetus was being expelled by my body. Sunday of that week was the biggest drop in HCG and I could feel it hormonally. I couldn't stop crying. I only lasted an hour at church. I didn't want the girls that I oversee to see me like that so I left.

Doug was such a champion throughout it all. I was incredibly sad and everything seemed to remind me that I was a failure at making a baby. We went to WalMart one night and the cashier, with bra straps hanging down past each shoulder, told me all about having babies and how when I have a baby this and that and pregnancy this and my first baby and my sixth baby and I just started to cry. Doug just gave me a giant hug and held me as I cried in the car. I do not struggle with fertility and this was just sort of a fluke thing, but I felt for weeks one small iota of what it might feel like to struggle with that. Let me tell you- it sucked. I have an empathy I never had before for women with fertility challenges. It changed my perspective about how I will talk about motherhood and pregnancy in the future.

The new year began and I went back to work. Shortly after that the semester started back up. And while I struggled to decide on whether to pursue having a family to fill the void I was feeling from the miscarriage, my career sorta took off. I feel like I received blessing after blessing. I had a meeting with the one of the founders of my company, the CEO and the Executive VP where I presented my career plan for the next one, five, and ten years. And you know what? Rather than laugh at it, they actually embraced it wholeheartedly.

Friends, we are talking huge things! My pie-in-the-sky 10 year plan involves me becoming the executive director of Influencer Institute, the non-profit that the founders of my company have asked me to help get off the ground (and which I'm currently spending most of my waking hours working on). Let me explain further - Influencer Institute is a non-profit dedicated to solving a variety of difficult social issues by applying smart and strategic six source social influence theories to complex problems. Think the Gates Foundation but with a scientific model to attack social conundrums. This means essentially I receive about five million dollars (to start) to go strategically solve whatever problems me and the founders choose. Are you kidding me? Imagine someone telling you, I'm going to give you a starting budget of 5 million dollars and some of the smartest people on the planet to go solve some key social dilemmas. I feel a little like I get to be the President of the US but without all the political hula hoops.

But it still leaves me in a rough spot with lots of un-answered questions. Like:
When do we start a family?
Is it irresponsible to get pregnant shortly after starting a new position?
How are we going to make my career aspirations work with a family?
How are we going to make my career aspirations and my husband's career aspirations both work?
How am I going to make this all work when we move out of the state?
What if I have another ectopic pregnancy?
Should I feel guilty that I wasn't totally ecstatic when I found out I was pregnant?
Can I have an incredible career getting to do exactly what I want and still have an incredible marriage and fabulous children?

Hopefully I'm not putting the cart before the horse. A large part of my big 10 year plan is the first step, which involves me getting a job that I haven't been offered yet and which I'm mostly unqualified for (but am totally perfect for). The up and ups are all for me getting that position but they actually don't make the decision (though I think they will try to influence it a bit in my favor). There is a woman who is not my biggest fan who makes the final decision. So lets all pray that she gives me a stamp of approval. I have a meeting on Friday but ultimately my 'audition' if you will, will be next Friday on the 4th. I will likely find out a few weeks after that.


Thats my life right now. Any words of wisdom for me besides hold on to my dang hat?


Rachel B. said...

Oh my goodness, Jo, that is a whirlwind. I'm so sorry about the pregnancy--that must have been so difficult (and, I'm sure, still is). Don't feel guilty about your mixed emotions over it . . . I feel like there's so much guilt inherently involved with parenting (you can't avoid feeling like you're doing things wrong, even so early . . . did I make the right/wrong choice getting pregnant? Am I being selfish by not wanting kids/more kids? Will I be a decent mother? The list goes on and on) you have to just avoid as much extra guilt as you can. I have no words of wisdom for you, other than I think you are wonderful and inspirational and I have no doubt that you're capable of making smart, fantastic choices for you and your family's lives. Good luck in your big "audition," and I think you deserve all the best!

Nat said...

Wow Sweetie! I can't believe you've had to deal with all of that! I am SO SORRY. And those HCG blood draws are the WORST, I hate doing the every-other-day series because they leave you just feeling so drained all the time. I don't think you need to feel guilty that you weren't immediately ecstatic when you found out you were pregnant. Even every infertile woman I know has been terrified out of her mind for a short while after learning she's pregnant. :)

Shannon said...

Sorry you had to go through that Jo. Wish we could have been there for you. :(