Sunday, December 16, 2012

Unsung hero of the semester

This semester was pretty crazy for me.  So crazy I'm in shock that it's over and I'm still alive.  Not only did I get called to be first counselor in the Primary Presidency in my ward a week before school started, but, due to some unexplainable bouts of nausea, I discovered I was pregnant just before midterms.  On top of that, Andrea managed to get sick every other week or so for a month, making studying and sleeping difficult.  Had it not been for some divine intervention I don't think I would have survived.  Divine intervention and Paul.

He is the unsung hero of this semester.  Before my first day of class in August, I told him that I would need help around the house and with Andrea if I was to go to school, be a housewife, mother, and fulfill my calling.  He nodded calmly, and I worried he overestimated my abilities and would therefore under-perform where I needed the most compensation.  So, when I came home from Philosophy class to find the living room tidied, the dishwasher loaded, and Andrea sleeping in her bed, I was pleasantly surprised at the service he rendered that night.  As the month wore on, the kitchen got messier, the house got more cluttered, and Andrea wasn't always in bed when I got home, but he kept trying to at least take the edge off some of my household duties.

Then October hit like a Mack truck.  First, Paul became sick.  Then Andrea.  Then me.  Except I seemed to be experiencing some rather different symptoms that weren't going away with rest and time.  On the twentieth of October I told Paul I thought I was pregnant.  Five minutes later, a positive sign proved it.  We anxiously kissed each other and said a prayer asking Heavenly Father (if it was His will) to let us keep this one.  Detailed miscarriage dreams seemed to occur almost weekly, and there were several mornings I ran to the bathroom expecting to see blood.  Sometimes I would wake in tears and lay in bed shaking as Paul held and reassured me that all was well.

After going through the miscarriage, Paul and I wanted to wait until we were out of the first trimester to make any announcements.  The last thing I wanted was a "we're pregnant" facebook announcement only to be followed by a "just kidding" a week later.  However, I was feeling pretty horrible-- so much sicker than I had been with Andrea.  I had to eat hourly to keep from puking (most of the time it worked), but even that could not alleviate the constant nauseous feeling in the back of my throat. Andrea did not understand why mommy was always laying down or hunched over a bowl.  She would poke my face and beg me to get up.  When Paul was home he did his best to distract her.  He'd take her over to her grandparent's house so I could finally rest.  He'd distract her with food, toys, Dora. . . so much Dora, or even his cell phone if he was desperate.

When I  fell behind on my school work because I was too sick in the evening to comprehend opening a text book, Paul would spend his entire Saturday reading an exorbitant amount of board books and playing dress-up, the chasing game, blocks, and coloring so I could slip away in the wee hours of the morn to write papers on Islam and vaccines until evening.

When I couldn't cook, Paul bore the burden of starvation quietly.  One week passed that he ate three meals at his parent's house and survived on crackers at home.  When I realized I was no longer compatible with the smell of food and the look of food and feel of food and, heck, even the thought of food, we packed up and drove to Costco to buy provisions for the rest of the family.  Paul spent the next three weeks eating frozen waffles and Jimmy Dean sandwiches which, I guess, was a step up from crackers.  His coworkers pitied his lack of lunches (that I so lovingly use to pack from leftover homemade goodies) and donated food (a.k.a. granola bars) for his starving belly.  Slowly, but surely, some of my nausea began to subside, and I was able to start cooking again (mostly just soup).  Paul's ribcage and third-world stomach are finally becoming less noticeable.  He still does not complain.

I admit, I've told Paul he was lucky to be a boy.  And one morning while shaking and holding back the urge to vomit I even told him he had it easy.  But he didn't really.  He has been more helpful this pregnancy than he was with Andrea's; he had to do more and give up more.  And I am so so so so grateful.  Thanks for diving in the trenches with me, Paul!

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