Friday, December 4

It's Not Easy: Mothering, Malro and Me

From the moment I found out I was pregnant with the twins I went through a few really difficult times. When you live in the Bible belt and don’t do things in the conventional way, people talk. And people judge. And people suck.

In fact, as clear as a bell I can think of one girl who was so jealous that I got pregnant, she was, and continues to be, mean to me. It took me a long time to realize her jealousy was why she was so wretched to me, and while it makes me sad, it also makes me angry. Angry because mothering is freaking hard and I got enough of my own guilt about working and being a good mom and a good wife and making it to Church on time that I don't need a bitchy acquaintance.

But mainly it makes me angry because of December 5, 2014: The day I handed my newborn son to a stranger with the very real feeling I might not see him again. How dare she take out her jealousy on me that I got pregnant "easily with twins" and everything fell right into place.
For the entire time the twins were in-utero I was in incredible amounts of pain in my hips, back, fingers and belly. I was unable to eat for days at a time. I struggled to walk. I didn't talk about it because it wasn't anyone's business and it was just part of an extremely high-rick pregnancy.

Yes, I delivered them full term, vaginally. I also lost so much blood I had to receive a blood transfusion and came very close to receiving it through a PICC line. There’s always more to the snippets of things you hear…

Then there was December 5, 2014. Yea, it was so easy to hand a two-month-old over for surgery and not know what was going to happen. To be in actual hell for four hours while a nice man you met four hours prior was moving your newborn’s intestines around to save his life. Yea, that was real easy.
I don't want this reflection to come from a place of anger—I am so incredibly thankful for CHOA-Egleston, Dr. Meisel and God for watching out for Alex; for making Alex "all better." We were so incredibly blessed throughout Alex's entire malrotation surgery and recovery; I have a lot of guilt when I think about it. He hit the milestones he was supposed to right on track.
But what I didn't think about would be the after. The indelible mark I would be left with. In the immediate days after we left the hospital I did nothing but cry and worry and feel sick to my stomach. I watched Squeaks like a hawk.
Overtime my fear abated, but never left. Every single time he eats, I feel nervous. When he goes a few days without regular loose bowel movements I wake up in cold sweats, go into his room and make sure he's still breathing and not covered in green vomit.

I hear myself constantly say, "You have to be careful with Alex," which is nearly always countered with, "Stop being overprotective."
The worry faded, but it never went away because for those three weeks we waited for surgery and the week we were in the cocoon of CHOA-Egleston 4226, everything went smoothly. So, obviously the other shoe is going to drop and rock my world.

Except it hasn't really. A few days ago, after a few weeks of Fitzgerald struggling to make dirty diapers of any kind, Mark asked me, "Do you think we should have him tested?"

There it was, the other shoe. I survived one malro baby; I could do it again. But Fitz isn't showing any malro signs. He eats like a horse. In fact, he eats too much bread, which is why he's always constipated. I frequently catch him snatching crackers off Alex's plate. That's why he's clogged and he enjoys daily doses of milk of magnesia.

Intestinal malrotation affects one in 500 live American births. It is a congenital condition that happens during the first trimester of pregnancy and can show signs immediately after birth or never at all or sometime in between. It's a scary thing to deal with. Once you've survived a malro baby, it never ever leaves you.

Yea, it might be easy to have sex and get pregnant, but mothering? The day in and day out? It might seem easy on instagram but it actually is really, really hard.

Tomorrow marks one year. I don't know how I will feel as the day progresses. I am so glad I listened to my little voice, that I fought for my son, that Dr. Meisel saved his life and gave me a ferocious toddler who loves Peeps and ice water just like his momma. But damn, it hasn't been easy.

There is one element of tomorrow that will be extremely easy. As a family of four we will all watch the SEC Championship game together, no machines, no cords, no nothing. Just us and our beloved Tide. I'm so grateful for that! Roll tide, beat the gators!!


  1. Love Alex and y'all! Glad there is no more just singling out "fat baby" anymore! ;)

  2. Roll Tide and hugs, sweet lady. You're a perfect mama bear!


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