22 Birthdays Later

I know last week I said I would talk about how to begin losing the mental weight we carry around, and that post is mostly written.

But since this is mostly for me and I get to decide what goes out, I changed my plans. Again 🙂

Today is more of a journal entry so keep that in mind, and feel free to skip over it if you like. It might get long.

Today is my fourth child’s birthday. He was born July 19, 1999. The previous week I had turned 29 on my own birthday.

I was home with my three kids, ages 5, 3 and 1, when my water broke. My husband was at work as an assistant installer for a custom closet company. He had no cell phone and didn’t even have his own car at the job site.

I called his company and managed to get the phone number of the installer he was working with to let him know I was heading to the hospital and he needed to figure out how to meet me there.

One thing we have learned during our decades in Arizona is that if you can go somewhere, to visit family or vacation, or whatever, July is a good time to do that because it is so dang hot. And it is generally monsoon season which makes it a little more humid than usual. If you can leave, you do!

That is why it took a minute to find someone to watch the other three kids. That and the fact that my due date was not for another 6 weeks or so.

After calling my neighbor to see if she could watch the kids, I grabbed what I needed for the hospital since I was not ready for that, put a towel down on the seat, and I drove myself to the hospital.

10/10 would not recommend 🙂 ….. but you do what you gotta do! The stubborn, self -reliant portion of my personality is what it is.

There were a lot of thoughts!!! Mostly questions.

What if my husband doesn’t make it to the hospital?

Why is this happening so early?

What if there is something wrong?

Long story short…… I made it to the hospital. My husband made it to the hospital. I didn’t have to have a C-section (somewhat of a worry since baby number 3 had been a C-section). There were no extra complications.

Entering the TMI section of the entry……. When my water broke it was what doctors refer to as port wine color. That indicates blood in the amniotic fluid. Not generally something you want to see. But the color denotes “old” blood not fresh blood.

We didn’t know the sex before he was born. Super old school! It wasn’t until our son was delivered that they found the cord wrapped around his neck. And not long after he was born they delivered a blood clot roughly about half of his size.

He was 6 weeks early. He weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces and was perfectly healthy. His lungs were fully developed and he had no problems other than maintaining his body temperature because he was small and had no body fat to speak of.

The doctor commented on his healthy lungs and said most likely with the placenta rupture (that we were unaware of that had caused the blood clot), his body sped up his development in the womb realizing that he wouldn’t be able to survive in there much longer. Between the rupture and the cord around his neck he likely would not have made it to term alive.

After 2 days we went home and began our “normal” life. Four kids 5 and under. Life was good!

Loren was a mischievous child; very active and always into something. There were lots of challenges.

When he was nearly 7 months old, due to the chaos of kids, miscommunication and life in general, he drowned in the bathtub. It may sound like an exaggeration but pulling him lifeless from the tub while my husband called 911 and I gave him mouth to mouth felt extreme at the time too.

After 2 breaths, and still on the phone with the 911 operator, he started crying and breathing. It was a miracle!

He was extremely smart and did not realize he was not the same age as his older siblings mimicking them in everything he could. He loved Winne the Pooh, and his dad more than anything. The cover picture is the two of the on Mission Beach in San Diego when Loren was 17 months old.

Then our world came crashing down on May 3, 2001.

While I was finishing up teaching preschool for the day, Loren drowned. His 3 year old sister used to tell us about the fireman coming and cutting his clothes and giving him medicine to make him better before they took him away in the ambulance.

He was 6 weeks early. He weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces and was perfectly healthy. His lungs were fully developed and he had no problems other than maintaining his body temperature because he was small and had no body fat to speak of.

Hello Friends!

I’m Michelle. I am learning how to minimize my overwhelm, perfectionism, and people-pleasing and I am ready to help you do the same. I’m a certified Life Coach and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Come with me and learn how.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Because on that day in 2001 I didn’t think I would survive. I couldn’t see how that was possible given the events that had transpired. The emotions were overwhelming.

But I did survive. I survived the first 21 minutes. Then 21 hours. Then 21 days. Then 21 weeks. Then 21 months. Then 21 seasons. Then 21 years. I am still surviving. But I can do more than just survive.

And even though I don’t do it perfectly, that’s okay. It continues to be a work in progress. I have learned how to allow feelings. All the feelings.

One of the preschool parents drove me to the hospital and I called my husband to once again meet me at the hospital. I arrived before the ambulance. As they wheeled him in, my first thought was, “He will be okay! He has good color!” It didn’t register that his color was due to the CPR efforts the emergency medical personnel had been administering to him for over 30 minutes.

Shortly after the 45 minute mark the ER doctor told me there was no more they could do, and there had been no response to their efforts. My son was gone. He was just over 21 months old.

They led me to another room and at nearly the same moment my husband walked in and I had to give him the news. The rest of the day is a strange mixture of a blur and every minute being indelibly seared on my memory. The hospital staff allowed us all the time we needed to be with him. Friends and family came to the hospital to support us and say their goodbyes.

What seemed like hours later as we drove away, with broken hearts and broken lives, our conversation turned to how we could ever tell our other 3 children.

I believe with my whole soul that the only way we survived and did the things that we had to do over the next days and weeks (and years) was through the grace of God, the atoning power of the Savior of the world, and the comforting gift of the Holy Ghost.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Because on that day in 2001 I didn’t think I would survive. I couldn’t see how that was possible given the events that had transpired. The emotions were overwhelming.

But I did survive. I survived the first 21 minutes. Then 21 hours. Then 21 days. Then 21 weeks. Then 21 months. Then 21 seasons. Then 21 years. I am still surviving. But I can do more than just survive.

And even though I don’t do it perfectly, that’s okay. It continues to be a work in progress. I have learned how to allow feelings. All the feelings.

Love, joy, frustration, anger, madness, happiness, wonder, guilt, sorrow, sympathy, compassion, regret, agony, grief, fascination, awe, sadness, disappointment, tenderness, kindness, worry, confusion, gratitude, empathy, anxiety, depression, relief, contentment, resentment, bitterness, hopelessness, peace, comfort, safety, powerlessness, despair, blessed, protected, alone, silently supported, heartbroken, renewed, hopeful…… and on and on and on.

Today is his 23rd birthday. We only had one birthday with him while he was on the earth. I don’t want to forget the time we had with him. And I fully anticipate a beautiful reunion with him in the next life.

I have learned that I can generate the emotions that I want to….. and sometimes I can’t. And that’s okay. I can experience all the emotions that come and know that they are all a part of the experience.

Next week I will go back to some of the ways you can begin to “lose the weight”. But for this week I wanted to remember and feel. If you have feelings that seem more than you can manage “Contact Me” and send me a email. I would be honored to be with you and hold space for you while we process or examine those feelings. We can talk about those emotions that feel overwhelming and to hard to handle, because the interesting thing I have found is that resisting the emotion or trying to pretend it isn’t there takes so much more effort than acknowledging and allowing it to be there. If you prefer, you can “Schedule a Consult” for a free session to discuss your emotions, including processing them as we let go of and how to get started.

And as always…..Remember…..It’s ALL good!!….. In the end!!! If it’s not good, it’s not the end!

Published by mrkeil

I help women face the overwhelm of parenting, family and multiple schedules, let go of the shame and people-pleasing perfectionism they place on themselves as women of faith, and create a life they love with intention and purpose. I can help you find your own answers for any problem, reach for any goal, and discover how to be more of yourself as you learn tools to use your own gifts to strengthen yourself emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. In choosing to design your life and live into compassion and lessen the guilt and judgment, you can teach your family to do the same. Find the real you by showing up authentically for yourself and the ones you love. And remember... It's ALL good!!!

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