The Heartbreak Years

The teenage years… I could write an entire book about those years…

We moved to another house when I was about 11.  Man was I glad to get away from that creepy old house. 

By now I had a younger sister.  She would have been about 5.  I hated her.  She took all of my mom’s time and attention.  My adoptive dad doted all over her.  I was just the “red-headed stepchild.”  Not long after this, another younger sister arrived, she being a full 10 years younger.  Well, mom and dad had their hands full now and not a whole lot of time for me anymore. 

By the age of about 13, I had already begun to pull away from my parents.  I could tell they didn’t love me the same way they loved my sisters.  I was, after all, the reminder of a twice failed marriage back in Georgia. 

In desperate attempts to maintain at least some of their attention, I played sports.  That was the only way dad and I could relate at all.  But my sports career was pretty short because, well, I wasn’t any good. 

I want to note that through all of these years my sisters and I continued to protect dad – keeping his little secret.  I realize that many people don’t believe marijuana is a big deal but my perception is much different.  My dad was an addict; it was a true addiction.  He was a monster without it.  He became severely verbally abusive and slightly physically abusive without it.  I don’t remember the physical outbursts being directed at my sisters, only me.  One such instance that has always remained at the forefront of my mind is when he cornered me and proceeded to practice his jujitsu moves on me.

About this time, I met who would be my high school sweetheart.  We will call him B.  He and I adored each other.  Both of us coming from dysfunctional families, we held onto each other for dear life.  At the ripe old age of 14, I gave up my virginity to him.  Oh, how we were in love.  We had grand dreams of running away together. 

Fast forward a few years – B and I were still going strong.  I knew we would end up married one day.  But I was still longing for that perfect unconditional love, the kind that doesn’t judge and has no limits.  I did something that would end up making me a serious “in-your-face” mother to my own boys later in life – I began throwing away birth control pills. 

I was playing with fire and I knew it.  I so desperately needed to feel loved and accepted and, in my mind, a baby was the answer.  A baby would surely love me unconditionally, right?  And who better to have a baby with than my high school sweetheart?  At the age of 17, I announced to B, my mother, and his mother that I was pregnant.  Our parents cried.  They were shocked and heartbroken.  To this day, I don’t know if any of them know it was an intentional pregnancy. 

Over time everyone came to accept the pregnancy and even looked forward to having a baby and grandbaby around.  I absolutely loved being pregnant.  It is possible that it was only because of the attention I was finally getting. 

Six months into the pregnancy, my world came crashing down. 

At a routine doctor’s appointment, my doctor was not able to find the baby’s heartbeat.  She sent me to another office to have an ultrasound.  It was confirmed – my baby had died inside of me. 

Everything stopped and my world shattered.  How could this be?  How can I possibly go on?  No, this must be a mistake! 

The rest of that day is a blur.  Doctors and nurses giving me options to induce labor or let my body naturally expel the baby.  Expel?  What!?  No, no, no, this can’t be.  Get it out.  Get it out now! 

That very evening, I was admitted to the hospital and labor was induced.  They allowed me to pump my own morphine since the baby was already gone.  I told them when the baby came to just take it away.  I don’t want to see it.  Just make this all stop.  It was so surreal. 

Finally, my son was stillborn with just B and I in the room.  One single push and out he came.  As soon as I felt him exit my body, I knew I had to see him.  That was my baby. 

The nurses came and took him away.  I begged them to bring him back so I could say goodbye.  They cleaned him up and finally brought him back to us.  There he was, my tiny perfect little boy.  Our family came into the hospital to say their goodbyes as well (well, except my dad).  The hospital staff was incredible.  They allowed us to spend some time with him and take some pictures before they took him away for the last time. 

To this day I wonder what color his eyes would have been.  Or his hair – would he have had my red hair?  Would he have been tall like his daddy?

Over the next couple of days, we planned a small graveside service for him.  I couldn’t just let him be thrown away.  He was a fully formed little human and he had a name. 

My dad, well he disagreed.  He didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.  He thought we should just dump him.   

At 17, I buried my first child.  I clung so desperately to my boyfriend; he was the only male in my life who had not abandoned me.  My own father, well adoptive father, was states away at a softball tournament rather than being there supporting me in my grief. 

Incidentally, during my pregnancy, my doctor had discovered a large ovarian cyst – 8 cm to be exact.  Within a month of losing my son, I had to have my first major surgery – this was before laparoscopy was as advanced as it is today.  My entire ovary had to be removed. 

Within the span of a month I lost my son and part of my womanhood, and all respect and love for my father. 

As with a lot of tragedies, it tore B and I apart.  Our 4-year relationship came to an end during my senior year of high school.

So much loss in such a short time…

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