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Cycles of Life

Sep 26

Posted by: ACHA
9/26/2011 1:45 PM  RssIcon

By Stephie Goldfish

Every month I order my congenital heart disease medicine. Every month I order my oxygen tanks. Every month, since taking this new CHD medicine, I have to get a pregnancy test. And, every month, since about the age of 13, Mother Nature orders my monthly cycle.

This month, however, when I called in to order my CHD medicine, I got past the normal questioning of setting up a delivery, etc., but then came the question asked every time I call in, "Stephanie, when was your last pregnancy test?"

Oh, no, I think to myself. I should have already had the test, but this month it got missed.

"I took it last month," I begin my explanation to the nurse on the phone, "But… this month I forgot."

Then, I go into my normal bargaining plea, "But, I know I'm not pregnant!"

How could I be? I'm not in any sexual relationship and I had just had my monthly period, but mainly I know because when I was first married, I had two ectopic pregnancies within four months of each other that required surgery and ligation of each fallopian tube.

So the chance that I could get pregnant is less than 1 percent. I think it's actually zero percent, but there's always hope for a miracle.

"I understand, Stephanie," the nurse goes on, "but it's important to get the test because of the government regulation on the medicine you are taking. Since the medicine can cause birth defects, it's required. So, you have to get the test before your order can be shipped."

I succumb, and I go get the blood work for the pregnancy test.

Anyway, these trips to the hospital lab provide an opportunity to view and enjoy some of the beautiful artwork that hangs along the corridors in the patient registration area and in the waiting rooms of the hospital.

I enter the lab waiting area, and a sign in the window of the lab says, "Please ring bell for service."

A young woman nurse comes to the window.

"I'm here for a pregnancy test."

The nurse gives me a look over and smiles. She then says for me to have a seat, and she would be with me soon.

As I wait, I notice two Impressionist paintings that hang on one of the walls of the waiting room. One painting is of a mother and her two young boys playing on the beach. One young boy has blond hair and the other boy has brown hair.

The other painting is of the same mother with the blond-headed boy. The mother is leaning over looking intrigued by something the boy has in his hands, perhaps a seashell or starfish.

I think of how things might have been different with my marriage if I had had children. I'd like to think we'd still be together. Children often bond a marriage union in a way nothing else can, especially if the two people love one another.

My twin sister had wanted, and even offered, to be a surrogate for me and my husband. She knew how much I wanted to have a child, and she knew it would put my life at high-risk for me to carry a child, due to my CHD. Things never worked out for the surrogacy though, sadly.

The nurse calls me back, and asks, "How far along are you?"

I start to give a long explanation, but I just say, "I don't know."

After my blood is drawn, I start to ask the nurse when the results will be back, but I stop in mid-sentence, because I already know what the results will be: Negative!

So, I just leave.

I walk down the long corridor to the lobby and entrance of the hospital. I stop to study one painting that reminds me of "Water Lilies" by my favorite artist Monet. As I get close up, I see that the painting is by a local artist, Bob Rankin, and is also called "Water Lilies."

Outside, the hot air hits my face, the lingering smoke of a few smokers standing outside the hospital stifles me, and I'm quickly brought back to my reality.

Although it's a hot day, summer is nearing its end. I know that fall will bring some cooler days, then winter will be here, and then spring again.

Stephie Goldfish, aka Stephanie Hodgson, was born with a large ventricular septal defect, but it wasn't diagnosed until age 17. Since her defect went unrepaired, this resulted in Eisenmenger’s physiology, and she has developed severe secondary pulmonary hypertension. Stephie is an artist who graduated at the top of her class from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh; she is currently pursuing her love of writing, and writes short stories and poetry, as well as nonfiction. Learn more at her website and personal blog.

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Location: Blogs Parent Separator ACHA Blog

7 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Cycles of Life

Wow, and I get jaded just for the regular stress test and defib download. I often argue with myself and wonder 'Is this really necessary?' Of course we all know the answer the doctor will give, so what's the use in questioning it.

By Matt K on   9/26/2011 3:07 PM
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Re: Cycles of Life

A myriad doorways leading to the most amazing discoveries, freedom and joy, are locked up "inside" of all of us, until we allow our perception to loosen up and shift - perception that flows through our heart center. The shift provides the flux and combination code that can unlock these doorways. Creation is far more dynamic, flexible, fluid, and what we would call "miraculous," than we dimly perceive. The flux during the shift is the flowing stream of the miraculous.

By Madison Reed on   9/26/2011 4:05 PM
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Re: Cycles of Life

Matt: Thank you for reading my post. It's really hard to keep the momentum going sometimes, isn't it? It often gets redundant taking so many tests that sometimes we just do them, not questioning them or the doctors. Take good care of yourself!

By Stephie on   9/26/2011 5:04 PM
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Re: Cycles of Life

Madison: Thank you for visiting over here and for your epiphanies! Your words are encouraging and heart warming! ;) Talk to you soon. Take good care of yourself too.

By Stephie on   9/26/2011 5:12 PM
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Re: Cycles of Life

Sorry to hear about your failed marriage. Belive me...children do NOT make a marrriage any stronger than it was ( or should have been ) from the start. My ex had a terrible time from the get-go dealing with my CHD. We adopted because I could not have kids ( health risk ). We still split up...because he could not only handle my CHD but didn't like the added responsibility of being a parent !! I married a wondeful man when my daughter was 12. HE loves me *in sickness and in health *. Sorry about the hassel with the meds. Take care and stay positive. Michelle

By Michelle on   9/26/2011 10:20 PM
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Re: Cycles of Life

And you would have adorable children my dear sister. I feel the whole disappointment is resurrected for you every month. The fact that you risked your life to try and still have a child, not only once, but twice, demonstrates your love for the sanctity of life. You are a very brave person.

By Kimberly Hodgson on   9/28/2011 11:56 AM
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Re: Cycles of Life

Hi Stephanie,

I echo Michelle's sentiments. Not only does having children NOT make a marriage stronger, it can place a great deal of stress on a truly loving relationship. Like you, I attempted two pregnancies and failed. I was devasted. My husband and I have a very loving relationship, built on friendship and mutuall respect. At the time of our loss, and still today, we loved each other too much to let our grief get in the way of our relationship.

In response to our loss, he did his computer thing, and I wrote. Today we own a successful computer business and I am a full time writer! Good things often sprout from adversity. As well, we have adopted two WONDERFUL high needs children who challenge our capacity to love unconditionally every single day! My husband and my children are my earth angels.

Life has certainly not always been easy, but it is always interesting! Find your happiness in your passion, and never blame yourself or your condition for what might have been! Love is all around ...

By Lorie Hill on   9/29/2011 12:46 PM

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