Sunday, January 15, 2012

Daddy dearest.....

As I approach my 8th month of pregnancy there is one question that I can't seem to let go....I go to bed thinking about it, I wake up thinking about it....and during the few breaks I get through out the day, I think about it!

It seems a simple enough question....It almost seems silly when I say it out loud....It seems as though it would be common sense. However, I think until now, I never even considered it to be a question that anyone would even ask...but here it is, one of the main focuses of my life.

"When does a "father" really become a father and even more a dad?"

Now without revealing too much of my personal life (because we know I never do that).....I am playing the waiting game with this question right now. With an un-planned pregnancy now coming close to an end I'm flooded with array of emotions and questions. Being a planner by nature, I want to know what the next few years of my life will be like (if not just not the next few months.) However, unfortunately I have been put into a position where I have absolutely no control...and for me to lose control is tough!!

I am waiting to see if my little girl will have a "father" or what I believe a fathers role should be. Being as emotional and open as I am, I have made my situation known to people who have asked and I have been given more advice than I know what to do with. So here I am trying to sort it all out it my head.

Now with most things in life, you can settle an argument of definition by going to Wikepedia or Websters dictionary. There it is in black and white. However, even these 2 websites can't agree on a term for "father".

However at  it is in black and white.....the definition I am currently experiencing:

'A male person whose sperm unites with an egg, resulting in the conception of a child'

So is that what it is? Is that really what being a "father" comes down to. The fact that 2 people are physically able to make a child. I have to believe a fathers role has to be much much more.....otherwise the statistics of children growing up without fathers wouldn't be so shocking.....

Did you know:
-Over 70% of prison inmates grew up without a father
-Kids who exhibited violent behavior at school were 11 times as likely not to live with their fathers
-Children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and to receive lower grades in school
-72% percent of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers
-63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
-90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
-80% of rapists come from fatherless homes
-75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
-Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Jack the Ripper, Charley Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jeffrey Dahmer all grew up without fathers

Stats like this prove that the "father" role has to be more than just about the birds and the bees lesson we learned in middle school, right?

I mean I was a lucky little girl, who grew up with one of the most amazing fathers in the world. A dad who at the age of the 32, I can still call to help me change a light bulb or help with my car. In fact, some of my greatest childhood memories were just of my father and me spending time alone. My daddy was always there for me....he took me to breakfast every year on my birthday (even to this day), he was the one that took me to get my ears pierced for the first time when I was 5 years old, he was the one that stood on the side of high school track and encouraged me of every lap of those 2 miles I ran to finish strong...he was amazing. This is why it's so hard for me to imagine my little girl growing up without that!!

(my dads favorite pic of himself...with his watermelon he grew)

After doing much research (just trying to make sense of it all) and speaking to many guy friends that have found themselves in the same position as I am...I have been told that the "father" role hits a man when he actually sees the child, I guess like a sense of proof (as though my ridiculous size belly and 8 months of physical inability to do ANYTHING wasn't proof enough). This must be somewhat true, because every "I'm pregnant and alone" website I can find all have the same quote at the top of the page:

"A woman becomes a mother when she's pregnant. A man becomes a father when he holds his child."

So is that my answer? Is that when my little Lilly will be loved...when she's actually made her debut to this world??? If that was a 100% problems with anxiety, depression and sleepless nights would be over. I would have a time and date set in my planner to have a "father" for Lilly. However, as sad as it is, this can't always be the case....because if it was there wouldn't be so many "fatherless homes" to extract the above statistics from.

So when does a father REALLY actually become a father??? The weird thing about this is I now notice more than ever how many men do decide to step up and full-fill there father role. I find myself looking more closely at the shopping carts with babies in them at Wal-Mart and the Grocery Store to see if there is a father pushing them. I find myself looking inside cars next to me while sitting on the highway to see if the men have baby seats in the back. I find myself lingering in the baby isle at Target to see what type of men stop by to grab a package of diapers. As unconventional as it seems, even the most unattractive men have become just a bit more attractive to me as I see them head to the check-out isle with the baby items, or in their baby Bjorn carrier at the store. Instead of rich and good looking, being a caring, present, loving Father is now at the top of my list of criteria when asked what I'm looking for in a man.

After all my observations (yes maybe a little creepy...but it's research) I've come to realize that you can't tell who will and won't step up as a father. Some of the dirtiest and most ghetto men are the ones in the baby isle grabbing the package of baby wipes while some of great CEO's in our city couldn't tell you what a Boppy Pillow is.

So really there is no answer and really it's what I've been told and honestly known all along....I won't know if Lilly's father will want to be involved in her life until she's actually here. It is a waiting game....a long, emotional, draining waiting game. And the truth is, even if he decides he doesn't want to be involved in her little life, that doesn't mean I won't or can't find another man to fill that position one day. I have no doubt that somewhere in my future my knight in shining armor is waiting to be there for not only me but my kids as well. However, until then I will just relish in the fact that I can always count on her being dressed perfectly (because I'll be the one doing know a man doesn't know how to correctly put a bow in her hair), and an awesome big brother who will give her plenty of "boy perspective" for now!

So maybe you do have it right, Maybe the physical part is the only definition of Father....however, that's not the definition of "Daddy" and for now I guess I have to be patient and let Lilly come up with that definition on her own (and cross my fingers that her definition is just half of what I grew up with....because if it is, she will be one lucky little girl.)

"Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad." ~Author Unknown

Sunday, January 1, 2012

To abort or not to abort....a lot tougher than I thought!!!

So this is THE BLOG! The blog that I've been wanting to write....the blog that I've been waiting to write....the blog I was too scared to write. It's a controversial subject, it's the one my mom might get mad at me for, it's the one I could lose friends over (that is the friends I have left after not going through with this subject).....but I have to do it. I need to write it for me, I need to write it just in case somebody else is EVER in this situation so they know their not alone....and hell I want to tell this story...because it was so shocking to me at the age of 32 that I can only imagine what it would feel like if I was 16. So here it goes!!!


Okay, so now you've already made up your mind. I'm either your hero (for your pr-lifers out there) or I should keep my opinion to myself (for those of you that are pro-choice)....well I can promise you this: I'm not going to tell you what you should or shouldn't believe. In fact, (and this is where my mom gets mad)...I'm still 100% pro-choice. Like most areas of my life...I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions. What may work for you, may not work for me. I don't know your background, I don't know your story and I certainly am not going to tell you what you should do only because that's what I would do....
but here's what I did!

Disclaimer: Just for the naysayers out there....being pregnant SUCKS! Sure you get a cute little chubby cheeked baby out of it....but the entire process sucks!!! Your body goes through insane, disgusting changes...your emotions are out of whack you can breakdown in the middle of the frozen food isle at the grocery store and there is nothing you can do about it. You get fat, you're tired all the time, you have to go for over half a year without any sort of enjoyment (a martini, sushi, dating, tanning)...and in my case I'm sick ALL of the time. I throw up everyday (so far I've gone over 140 days of puking EVERY SINGLE morning)...I have stayed multiple weekends in the hospital, been dehydrated and am taking daily meds for my newest diagnoses: anemia!! So NO this is not fun, this was not planned and this is not something I think anyone would purposely want to go through....much less ALONE. Also remember I knew all of this would happen (this isn't my first baby) when I decided to leave the abortion clinic, yet I still couldn't go through with it...and this is why!

September 2011
Wednesday night out with my girlfriends, just like always. It's the one night my son goes to his dads house and I get to act like I'm still in my 20's. Sure I'm not always the most productive at work on Thursdays, but hey I've got this down to a science. My hangover is cured as soon as I hit Quicktrip and chug a lemon lime Gatorade and then down a chocolate milk. Lucky for me I'm a MAC makeup junky and that war paint will cover any black bags under my eyes that may be trying to show how late it actually was before I made it to bed, no worries for Thursday!! Except this Thursday is much, much different. Maybe it's my immune system...maybe it's my old age....maybe it's the flu that's been going around...but whatever it is, this hangover is not going away and I can not quit getting sick. I actually call in for the first time on a Thursday in my almost 4 year stint at my job. I lay in bed, cry to my mom how I must have the flu and hope it goes away quickly. After all I have HUGE weekend plans!!!

Now it's the weekend, I'm still best friend suggests I take a pregnancy test. I laugh it off. There is NO way. I mean there might have been the one time that I had too much to drink at a wedding and woke up regretting my company (not so much the company rather than the bad decisions)...but could I really have that bad of luck??? Does God hate me that much??? Could anybody be that fertile???? Certainly not! However, after trying everything else, and being in the pharmacy section at Hy-Vee at the pregnancy test grabbing my eye..I think "Why not?", couldn't hurt to see...after all it would just take a few hundred dollars to make that problem go away, I need to feel better!

Much to my relief....the test is negative!! So are the two after that. 3 pregnancy tests, all mind can rest....but geez I need to find out what is wrong with me. It's been almost 2 weeks and this flu won't go away. I decide urgent care will be able to tell me...or at least give me something to make the throwing up stop. One quick blood test later(only after telling the doctor it was a waste of time...I was POSITIVE I wasn't pregnant) and it's confirmed..........I AM that fertile, it DOES only takes one time and it's a possibility not so much that  God hates me, but he's definitely wanting to test me!!!! I simply tell the doctor " I'll go ahead and schedule this problem to go away"...before practically running out of the room. The doctor runs after me and grabs my arm "I just want you to know you do have other choices"...ya lady I get it, I'm 32, I know my choices and i KNOW this isn't what I need right now!
I book it out of that office...flooded with an array of emotions I know this will just be a memory in a couple of weeks...but for those 2 weeks I have a lot to accomplish. I need to figure out where I go to get this "taken care of", I need to decide if it's even worth telling the "father" or aka sperm donor, and I need to play off this sickness and figure out a way to work through it!!!

Still September 2011....
and only 6 days after I ran out of urgent care:
It's here...the day that's going to put make this problem a memory rather that a current situation. Lucky for me everything has worked itself out perfectly....a good OBGYN friend prescribed me meds to subside the throwing up for the better part of the day so I could work, my boss let me have a vacation day, the other half of how this happened, has been amazingly supportive and even given me the entire amount of money its going to take to make this problem disappear and my best friend has taken the day off and we are on our way to the Abortion Clinic...a place where problems go far far away!!! Unlike I thought it would be, it's not in the hood somewhere...its in a very nice part of a strip mall type building...and except for the protesters standing a good 100 feet away from the building, you would never know what goes on inside this building. I mean the protesters holding the bloody fake baby dolls and holding up posters of post-aborted fetuses...does give it away, but I choose to just look the other direction, and with the windows up you can't hear their pleading screams to reconsider anyways.

Now I'm walking into the building. I'm a bit confused...there must be somebody VERY important inside. At least that what I gather after having the 6'6 300lb African American bouncer/security guard go through my purse, pat me down and run a metal detector over the parts of my body he isn't allowed to touch. After reassuring Bruno (or whatever his name is) that we have left all electronics including or cell phones in the car he finally lets us in.

(this guy isn't half as scary as the real Bruno)

I look around and it's packed, I mean PACKED, for 8:30 on a Thursday morning. I ask the front desk lady "is this the only day you do the abortions" and her reply to me is "no it's always this packed". Wow! While we look for a seat I am just astounded at the array of people crammed into this building. It takes me about 10 seconds to realize I'm the oldest person in the room who isn't here to make sure my 16 year old daughter goes through with it. There are little girls all over the place with eyes full of tears, young women who are clearly almost to the cut-off limit (you can't have an abortion in KS after 19 weeks), and a few girls that you can tell opted for an abortion rather than giving up their sorority lifestyles. There is a woman across the room who looks to be about 4 months pregnant but has 3 children with her, the oldest child appears to be 5 years old at the most. I take it all in and decide to focus on my own goal....getting in and getting out, kid free!!!!

It's only about a half an hour into the process and my name gets called.....I think to myself this is easier and quicker than getting the test a few weeks ago at urgent care! I follow the friendly nurse back to her room. Now this is where it gets weird. This nurse is actually the sonogram tech who will be measuring how far along I am in my pregnancy so the proper methods will be taken for the abortion. Funny thing is we walk into the small room where I climb up the chair and lift my shirt so that she can do the ultrasound. The screen is directly in front of me (I've heard this is because KS passed a law a few years ago that requires you to look at the ultrasound before making your final decision). So to avoid this I begin looking around. Well there it is, the nurse is a brand new Mom, and boy is she proud. I don't think I've EVER seen more baby pictures in one room. It's seems odd to me. Almost like bad if I went to apply to The University of Kansas but walked in the Dean's office and he only had K-State Wildcat stuff up, doesn't quite add up. I quickly decide to quit trying to figure out why she's decorated her office in "baby" and look back down. There it is. My baby!!!! MY BABY!!! Right there on the screen in front of me....Now had I not had a 5 year old and been so excited the first time I saw him on that screen I don't know if this would have affected me as much as it did....but I knew from that second that that little bean of a picture could be a little mini-me. The talkative nurse quickly interrupts my thoughts by only confirming what I already knew, 8 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Then she asks (and I tell it was just a normal question)..."Want me to print a picture of the sonogram for you?" What? I mean seriously....did she really just ask me if I want a picture of my soon to be dead baby. I quickly reply "Um, no I'm good, thanks."

There it was....the 5 minutes that changed my life. Now of course there were 5 more hours spent in that abortion clinic that day. It's a bit more of a process than I knew. After the sonogram they send you to talk to a counselor, then to meet the Doctor (who by the way speaks no English...always reassuring before going into surgery), then they make you wait...and wait.....and wait.....and think about it. Bruno the bouncer limits you to two trips out of the building for safety precautions and the waiting room becomes your new home. So I sat there....and then at hour 5 I looked at my best friend, asked her to get my money back and ran out of there without looking back. I don't know if it was the anxiety of the surgery, the fact I was looking around at all these young girls who opted to take their pictures of the sonogram while they sat there and cried and stared at them, or the fact that they made me wait so long but I realized that a miracle might just be what I need.

(my sweet little Lilly at 18weeks)

At the time...while I was running ( almost sprinting) out of the building a sense of peace came over me. I knew it was going to be a tough, tough 9 mos ahead...and even tougher lifestyle being a single mother of two but I knew it couldn't ever be as tough on me as those 5 hours were. I also never realized by being open with how I almost went through with the abortion, how many girls (and 1 guy) would reach out to me to tell me the pain they still felt from when they made the decision to go through with it. I guess they are right when they say stuff happens for a reason...and of course, I'm still in the process of figuring out exactly why it's all happening as it does, but I know there has to be a bigger reason out there for me to have had this experience. Until then I've embraced the idea of having a baby girl.....and I've decided that maybe KS isn't that bad of a state after all. I applaud you KS for making me wait that 5 hours (although misserable) I probably would have gone through with it, if given any less time to process, and my regret and pain would be much worse for the rest of my life. Now instead of wondering what if, I'm looking forward to just a few short weeks when my little miracle arrives!!!

(t-shirt I ordered for when Lilly arrives)