Friday, July 17, 2009

Ask & Answer

Wow, some awesome questions! I want to post a disclaimer here. There are some deep questions here, and I have answered very candidly, revealing details that some people might think are unnecessary. What I want everyone to understand is that I don't do this to be mean spirited or to gossip. In fact, I have recently learned just how easy it is for the things you thought were the strongest to slip away, and if my being open can help one person save their relationship before it's too late, it's worth it. I answered all these questions, saved them, then let them sit for a day so that I could make sure I was representing everything fairly. I feel like I've done that to the best of my ability.

Also, you'll notice that in many cases, I address my own culpability in a situation instead of John's. That is not because I think that this situation is all my fault, but because I am not in control of his actions or of the reasons behind them. The only thing I am in control of is my own part in our marriage that helped to lead us here. Taking responsibility for me does not mean that I condone what he has done.

Momof2Bz asked: How are you planning on celebrating Seth's birthday?

Normally, our family tradition is to eat cake for breakfast on our birthday, hang out and do whatever the birthday boy/girl wants during the day, then head to the beach for dinner and to play in the ocean and watch the sunset. For various reasons, that didn't happen this year. Luckily, Seth's a baby, and he'll never know. I think he really enjoyed his birthday even though it was super low key, and at least next year it won't be hard to top this one!

Janis asked: You made a reference the other day to "crappy lungs" was that about Seth, if so what is his Dx?

I vaguely remember that reference. I think I was referring to the kids lungs being premature for their gestational age, which has been the case with all three boys. I also could have been talking about Ava, who has asthma. Basically, if you're born into our family, chances are you have some sort of lung issues. We're not sure if it's due to their prematurity or just a family trait.

Ellen asked: I'm wondering: do you still consider Seth to be deaf even with his implants? Will he learn to sign as well as talk? Do you have much interaction with the Deaf community? If so, how do you find people react to your choice to give Seth the implants?
Sorry, that's a whole load of questions!!!

Hi! You have a cool name! Yes, we do consider Seth to be deaf. After all, he doesn't wear his processors to bed, in the bath, or at the pool or beach. He will probably learn basic survival signs for those situations, but at this point he is decidedly uninterested in any visual cues.

We have been blessed to have quite a bit of interaction with the Deaf Community and it has all been positive. They are just as kind to Seth now as when he was a regular old deaf baby. The percentage of deaf children being implanted instead of living culturally Deaf is very high. I think we're going to see a shift away from CI's being so hotly contested, as they're becoming a way of life, just like being big "D" Deaf. In fact, we've only ever had one person approach us negatively, and it was a hearing person, so I didn't let it bother me.

Jennifer asked: So I am wondering, does Seth only take one nap per day now? What time do you put him down for the night? My daughter was taking 3 two hour (minimum) naps per day until a few months ago. She suddenly dropped one and then another all within a month or so. I can't believe she went from needing so much sleep to needing so little! However, she does go to bed for the night at 6:30pm now whereas she used to go to bed at 8pm. She gets up around 7am. Anyway, just wondering if Seth's schedule has made in drastic changes in the last month or two as well?

Up until the summer began, we were so busy that Seth had to catch naps when and wherever he could. Since we've been home and less crazy busy, he has actually developed a nice nap schedule. He wakes up about 7 am, goes down for his first nap at 10 until about 12, then again from 3 to 5. Then he goes to sleep for the evening at 8. I love this schedule and I'll be sorry when he goes to one nap.

Erica asked: Do you ever consider renaming your blog to encompass the whole gang? I was thinking of "Profoundly ME". =0)
Cuz like you said, it's become a family blog more than a Seth blog. Maybe you could put pics of all of you in the header!

It's funny...before any of this even happened I was talking to my friend Julie about changing the focus of the blog a little. In light of recent events I only feel more strongly that this place can be about more than just Seth. I do love the name, though, so I don't know if I could change it. We may just become "Profoundly Seth & Co." He can be the mascot!

Beloved Aimee asked: Have you read any good books lately? I'm a book nerd and I just finished my last one. looking for a recommendation.

I'm a book nerd, too! I love reading. Love it, love it, love it. In fact, John just got me a Kindle for my birthday this year and it has been amazing.

Lately, I have been super into reading anything by Jodi Picoult. Right now, I am previewing Dune Road by Jane Green, Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weener, and The Pretend Wife by Bridget Asher. I haven't yet decided which one I'm committing to read yet.

The best non-fiction book I read recently is called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. After I finished reading it, I had to go to the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror, because I felt positive that I had become a different person. This book can be helpful to couples at any stage of the relationship and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Kara asked: My question is, what do I have to do to get you to move back to Indiana? :) Please be specific. Then, Lindsey asked: I'm with Kara on the question. What DO we have to do to get you to move back to good ol' Indiana...or even the midwest? Ya know...the house right behind Mike's and mine is for sale. *wink, wink* he he\

I love you both (Kara and Lindsey are my best friends from high school and Jace and Ava's godmothers). But unless you can get rid of that pesky season you all like to call winter, there's very littel chance I'll be back. Sorry!

Rose asked: How do you not weigh 5000 pounds after being pregnant for 5 years straight? Firefly Photo Jewelry chimed in with: Ok girl! How on earth do you stay so thin after 5 years pg? Then Momof2Bz asked: I am wondering how you stay so darn skinny after 5 pregnancies! I saw the picture of you in a bikini after 2 and was amazed! I have 2 kids and wouldn't I guess you have great genes but if you have a secret, please share!

First off, ask any one of my friends...I try to keep weight on after my pregnancy. I am always very sad to see my butt disappear. It's mostly mom was the same way. It doesn't help that when I get stressed I don't eat well. And that in my first three pregnancies I was sick pretty much continuously forever. I haven't thrown up this time around, so there's a good chance I could weigh 5000 pounds by the time it's over!

As for secrets. brestfeeding is always helpful as is having other kids to chase around. =)

Firefly Photo Jewelry asked: Do you like being pg? I am sooo impatient that it drove me crazy waiting for my baby. Although I guess you "cheat" and have them early LOL

The first pregnancy I truly enjoyed was Seth's. With Ava, Jace, and Eli, pre term labor made me crazy and miserable. But when I was pregnant with Seth, even though I was scared to death that he would die, too, I truly enjoyed being pregnant. When he was born, I was both relieved that he was ok and disappointed that I missed out on the extra weeks of pregnancy. I am hopeful that this pregnancy will be the same way.

Sonya asked: I have several questions but none of them are really my business. But I will ask....why have all your kids been born early. I am pretty sure you have mentioned it and I am sure that I have read it but I will ask again because my brain can't retrieve it!!! :)

Sonya, sometimes I feel like your guess is as good as mine! Ava was born just barely full term after a comparably uneventful pregnancy, but the boys have all been trouble.

Jace arrived after what I was convinced was a "false alarm" trip to the hospital at 35 weeks. Shortly after arriving, my water broke and he decided to make his appearance. Because of his size (7 lb 6 oz) they assumed that I had probably had undiagnosed gestational diabetes. Jace contracted pneumonia by inhaling amniotic fluid as he was born, which compromised his already immature lungs. That bought him a ticket to a stay in the NICU.

With Eli, I was only in my second trimester when I developed a rapidly shortening cervix along with pre term labor. I went on bedrest at 21 weeks and was hospitalized at 31 weeks, dilated to 4 centimeters. When I was stabilized and sent home at 33 weeks, I was on a strict regimen of procardia and terbutaline. My water broke at 35 weeks and he died a few hours after that. We're still unsure of the cause.

Seth's pregnancy was much easier thanks to the P-17 shots I took weekly to relax my uterus. However, my water still broke unexpectedly at 34 weeks. He was the biggest baby at 7 lb 10 oz with very, very premature lungs.

The common denominator seems to be that my water just breaks when the babies get to a certain weight, and I tend to carry very big babies, so they hit that weight way before they are ready to come out.

Anna asked: Were your babies planned? Do you use/believe in birth control? Not trying to be mean promise...I was on the pill a long time ago and then after hearing that it can cause an abortion/to lose the baby I don't feel right using it since then and we haven't. So, I am always wondering other people's takes on this and what they do or if they prevent or let God decide..I know he decides ultimately anyways but you know what I mean! (hopefully) Know these are asked with the kindest intentions and if it's too personal, feel free to not answer!

Ahh, birth control. No, not all of our babies have been planned. Some have, some haven't. I will say that while we didn't personally plan certain children, it is very clear that God did have them in His plan for our family, no matter our thoughts on the matter. I truly believe that we can and should take responsibility for avoiding pregnancy in certain situations, but that if God has a plan for our family, He can pretty much make that happen regardless of what we think is best.

As far as birth control goes, I am completely okay with barrier methods of birth control, less ok with chemical versions, and very much not ok with the forms of birth control that can, advertently or inadvertently, be abortificants.

Beth asked: This may also be too personal and I certainly don't want to offend you (and sorry - I don't have an account - so am anonymous) but have you ever considered giving the baby that you are carrying up for adoption?

I have four kids 7,5,2 and 2. My last 2 were 9.5 months apart and the last one arrived when the others were in the care of the state. I chose to give her up for adoption and placed her with a great family.

Honestly, I am still heartbroken sometimes but I know she is well taken care of and I can focus on being there for my 3 other kids.

I just wondered if it had crossed your mind.

First off, I want to say that I'm in awe of the selfless decision you made for your child. Her adoptive family must thank God for you every day.

As far as my family is concerned, I am far too selfish to be able to give one of my babies up. I don't know if I could do it even if I knew they would have a better life somewhere else. As for my particular situation, I still feel very confident that this baby will be able to benefit from being in our family. His/her brothers and sister already love him or her, as do I. I am thankful at this point that I am a breastfeeding, cloth diapering Mama, so that I don't have to stress as much about added expense for a while.

Sarah from Seattle asked: I guess I missed the post you wrote about your husband leaving. Was his leaving a total surprise to you? Did you suspect anything was wrong or have any idea he was seeing someone else? How long has he been involved with someone else? Don't hesitate to keep this info private if this is not information you want to divulge, I completely understand.

I can truthfully say that I was blindsided by his leaving. He would laugh at that since I am the one who technically said the words "leave" but I meant them in a slightly different context than he took them. We had gotten into an argument and I thought if he spent a night or two on someone's couch, he would miss us.

Unfortunately, a day or so later I got an $889 cell phone bill, which I was sure was an error. It was in looking for mistakes in the bill that I found out about the girl he was/is talking to, many times a day, every day. I am still unsure of the full extent of their relationship, except that it has been going on for 5 months and there has been at least some physical connection along with a strong emotional one. To be fair to her, she says they are just friends, although I strongly feel that any relationship, platonic or otherwise, is innapropriate when it causes or perpetuates a disconnect between spouses, especially when it is secretive. They both say that he did not leave me for her, which I believe is true.

I knew that John was stressed and thought it was due to work. He never told me that he had any personal issues with me until after I found out about this situation. By the time I learned of them, he felt it was too late to work on them with me. If you had told me the day before I found all this out that my husband was unhappy enough to have any kind of affair, I would have sworn it was impossible. I knew we were struggling, but thought that it was due to Eli's death and Seth's issues and that as Seth got bigger and caught up to his peers I would have more time to focus on John. It was an error of judgement on my part, as I see now that John was feeling very rejected and unimportant for a long time. When I realized how I had been making him feel without realizing it, I felt (and feel) terrible.

Jill Elaine asked: What made John decide to leave after he had already made plans for your anniversary???

You know, I don't know. In his mind, it could have been a last ditch effort to save our marriage (while he had not been telling me, he had been unhappy for some time). I guess it could also have been guilt over what he was doing or just that he knew I would expect him to do something for our anniversary. Who knows.

Momof2Bz asked: This one you don't have to answer if it's too much. I know you are sad/depressed with the current situation but are you pissed? (Sorry if that word offends you) I just haven't heard that in your posts so I was wondering. I always think that you are a much better person than me because I think I would be sad & pissed. Like ripping his clothes up (Must be my Irish temper :)

Oh my goodness, yes. The night I found out that he had been unfaithful I was beyond pissed. I grabbed my proof, called my neighbor and best friend to sit with the kids, and confronted John. When he told me that she was his best friend and that he had kissed her, I lost it. I wanted to give him a black eye, break his nose, anything to make it obvious to anyone looking at him that he had done something wrong. I wanted to make him hurt as badly as I did.

Unfortunately, I'm a bad hitter, and totally missed my mark. In utter frustration, I head-butted him.

Yes, you read that right. How embarrassing is that? In a parking lot, I head-butted my husband. I'm blushing now just thinking about it. Not only that, but I said so many hateful things I can't even tell you. Every time someone came out of the building, I would loudly ask if John was friends with that person, and if that person knew that he was cheating on his pregnant wife. Then, as if that wasn't enough, I decided I wanted to make a very dramatic point and as I was leaving, I turned and hurled my wedding ring at him.

It was not my finest hour, I can tell you that. I regretted throwing my ring immediately, but couldn't make (more of) a fool of myself crawling all over a dark parking lot while people watched me from inside. Luckily, John was kind enough to get my ring and return it to me later. Point is, yes, I was pissed. And doing all those things felt really good at the time, but I regret them now. I wish I had handled myself like an adult. I wish I had not given John the ammunition I gave him by hitting (head butting) him and saying all the things I said. And I really regret that I'm fairly certain I can never go back to that Chili's again.

Firefly Photo Jewelry and Erin asked: How are the kids coping with the separation?

In the best way they can, I think. They are definitely acting out, and have shorter tempers than usual. They're also waking a lot at night, and are clingier than they've been before. The upside is that I don't think they know why they're doing the things they're doing. They love their Daddy very much and are always very happy to see him and very sad to see him go.

Analiza asked: I guess my only question I care to ask for is how are YOU and YOUR beautiful children doing with the whole separation and new addition coming?

We're all excited about the baby! Ava especially. I am dealing with the separation fairly badly, but better than I was last week. It doesn't take long to realize that when you're alone with the kids, if you don't do it (cook, pick up, etc), then it won't get done. Getting back into a routine of feeding the kids and cleaning the house has been really helpful, but it is still very much a struggle. I miss John, and having someone to talk to, be with, sleep next to. I am really missing cuddling and hearing from him for no reason at all several times a day. It's the little, silly things.

Eva asked: There are questions I have for your hubby. I know too many couples in which the wife is breathingly beautiful {as you are} and slim {again.. you} and centered around Christ {seeing a pattern?} and yet their husbands run off. I don't get it. It frustrates me. I want to know why? Then Christa asked: My question is the same as Eva's, you're beautiful, spiritual, and a wonderful mother. Not to mention pregnant with his child. Why would he walk out on that?

First of all, thank you for the compliment! I don't know how John would answer these questions, but all I can say is that even (and sometimes, especially) Christians sin. Although I try to center my life around Christ, I have made a lot of mistakes, and there are a lot of things more important than physical beauty and weight. Those things don't matter much in the long run versus someone who makes you feel loved and respected, and I didn't do the best job of that. It's going to sound funny, but I was totally blind. I never even realized that the things I was saying and doing were hurtful and cutting to John. I was stuck in a huge, self serving (and child serving) rut, and he was the mud I was trying to gain traction in. When my eyes were opened to the way I had been treating him, I wanted to disappear.

Anonymous asked: I won't ask you to read John's mind or heart. I know you would if you could. But I will ask two questions

1) If he wakes up one day with a hole in his heart-a big hole-a hole the size of his family, and wants to try you feel equipped to fully forgive him? And

If John came to me and was truly remorseful, I would forgive him without a second thought, and I would love the opportunity to show him how awesome our family could be if we were both focused on the right things. I do feel fully equipped to forgive him. The things we've been through are awful, and everyone deals with grief and loss differently. Will I ever feel ok with him seeking out someone else? Of course not. But if this was the wake up call our marriage needed to get back on track, I would be thankful for that and forgive completely and be excited about starting the work towards a great marriage.

2) How would his relationship with God affect your willingness to rebuild your family?

John says that he is a Christian, but he currently has very different beliefs than I do. If he was able to put God back in His rightful place in his life, I know we would have a much smoother road to hoe. Being on two different pages, so to speak, as far as our beliefs go, is one of the most difficult things about this entire situation.

Jennifer and Jill Elaine asked: does your husband read this blog? I got the impression that he does since he wanted the post removed.

I don't believe he ever used to, although I always asked if he would. He says that he does read it now, but I don't know if he reads the comments. I'm not sure why he reads it.

Jennifer asked: Do you have family in the area who can support you, and are your husband's family telling him to "get is butt home?" or getting involved at all?

I am really blessed to have my mom just a few minutes away from me. She is incredibly helpful and supportive of me. My grandmother also lives in this town, and she's been great. We also have lots of good friends who have been bringing meals, calling over and over even if I don't answer, and basically being super supportive.

As far as John's family, I don't know. We've never been very close to them, although I do really enjoy his sister Becky. I don't know what, if anything, anyone in his family knows about this. Although I was unaware of this, John also have several friends who have been trying ceaselessly to speak to them. He is not happy about it, but I wish he could see that his friends are doing it out of love.

Sarah asked: How do you have such amazing faith in spite of all you've been through?

I don't always feel like I do have amazing faith. I still question God, sometimes with my fist in the air. Why me? I never asked for a testimony like this! Why did my baby have to die, baby be deaf, husband leave? I can't take anymore!

But even when I want to push Him away, it feels wrong on a cellular level. I know God can handle me railing at him, even welcomes it. He can take all of my questions. I know He has a plan for all of us, but I don't think he is thrilled about setting certain parts in motion. Free will is free will, and it always throws a wrench in things.

In the end, it's simple. My life feels better when I am growing closer to Him instead of pulling away, and even when I don't understand, that is enough.

Thanks for all of your questions! I enjoyed answering them.


Sonya said...

Thank you for being so open and honest when answering these questions. My husband and I were going through a rough patch for a while and I know that the way that I treat him and the things that I say to him aren't right. I am really trying to change and strengthen our marriage.

Mandy Hornbuckle said...

I don't have any words. So I'll just say that I love you and I'm praying for you.

Christina said...

You're so awesome! I'm so glad you are a part of my life. Love ya, girl

Jennifer W. said...

Wow. What an amazing honest post. Thank you. I will keep praying for all of you.

Unknown said...

This is beautifully written. I am praying for you and your family.

Eva said...

You have a beautiful, smooth way with words. I felt bad for posting my question... I didn't want to make you cry or open wounds. I feel so sorry for you, in the place you are at at this time in your life. I will continue to pray for you hubby to see you and choose to keep his marriage vows to you. Hugs.

Erin said...

WOW thank you for answering those questions! I know it was hard but I hope it felt good to get some things off of your mind and to be able to express your self.

You are brave and I thank you for allowing us to get to know you better!

Momof2bz said...

Hi El!

Great post! I am sorry that you didn't get to do the usual "traditional" birthday celebration but a day filled with those who love you is always awesome.

I have to say that I admire you because after all he's put you through you still would take him back. You have true unconditional love for him. I hope he reads these comments and truly gets it. I pray everyday for enlightening for him. You and your babies love him so and to me that is worth fighting for. I have been married for 15 years and it's not easy. Marriage is a job. It is exhausting but the reward in it outweighs all. My husband is the more understanding between us. His patience for me is amazing! I thank God that he brought him to me. I hope John realizes soon that YOU are and should always be his best friend. He should be communicating with you. Even though you have been more than willing to take your share of the blame, he should have said something if he was unhappy.

I know you are embarrassed that you got so pissed but in a way it's good that you got some of it out. Is it wrong to say that I was peeing my pants over the headbutt? My husband is over 6' so the best I could ever do is kick. Don't worry about Chili's, they're overrated anyway ;-) (BTW, pregnancy hormones can explain

Jessica said...

thank you for sharing such heartfelt and transparent answers. SO sorry that you are going through this...Still praying...

Tricia said...

El, on the deaf issues, oddly the only person who has ever said anything negative about our choice to implant Emmi was also a hearing person! I also found that Emmi has learned way more sign the older she has gotten. This is because of school. She is exposed to it more and must use it to communicate with some of the children who are recently implanted.

On another note, you seem to take a lot of blame for the breakdown in your marriage. Yes, perhaps there were things that you could have done differently, but it is still his fault for not talking to you about how he was feeling.

Shanda said...

Wow El,
Thank you for sharing so openly on so many levels.

This particular statement has so much power and depth to it...

"I never even realized that the things I was saying and doing were hurtful and cutting to John. I was stuck in a huge, self serving (and child serving) rut, and he was the mud I was trying to gain traction in. " are right, people can read this post and be helped in their own marriages. I am praying God will do amazing and miraculous things in yours as well.

Much love,

Shannon said...

Thanks for your openness. I really enjoyed this post and got to know you better through it.
The book Love and Respect was a HUGE eye-opener in our marriage. It came just in time. I wish more people knew about it.

Anonymous said...

What a post-particularly for those few of us who are aware of the unspoken issues John imposed over the history of this marriage. I admire your honesty, your accountability, and your kindness, and I hope for those qualities to resurface in John. You and the kids have made of him a better man, and he stands to lose so very much.

Sassy said...

What a beautiful and honest post! You are such a strong woman and I admire you so much.

My husband and I went through a rough patch a few years ago. One thing I've realized is that even the strongest marriages have trouble at some point.

I will be praying that this is just that! A "rough patch". Hopefully John will come to his senses and realize there is very little more important than the family you have created together.

One thing that (fortunately) both my husband and I realized was that the calling and responsibilty that God gave us to our marriage and children was FAR more important than anything else.

Marriage is a commitment. Yes it can be full of love and happiness but it isn't just about "feelings". Feeling loved, feeling happy, feeling like you want to stay in it. You COMMIT and do your part to make it better.

I will be praying for your entire family.


LucieP said...

what an open out there post girl!

I am praying for you!
I thought about you after reading Kingdom Mama's blog...she is so encouraging and inspiring.

You will make it through this. You will. You will. You will. You will.

Anonymous said...

I am new here and just getting to know you. First I want to say how sorry I am for all you have been through. For the loss of Eli.... and your marriage. I know words are not a comfort. I know that nothing I could write in a stupid comment box could ever mean much of anything. And I know I am a complete stranger that you have allowed to get a peek into your life.

I wish I could understand why life is so hard. I looked at your photo - a young beautiful Mama. Reminds me of me when mine were all small. And I just couldn't help but fight back the tears. I can only imagine how hard things are for you right now.

I just want to say that I am going to pray for you. I am sure loads of people say that to you all of the time. But, I will. I mean that in the most sincere way. I will pray for you daily.

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