I've been peeking on the board, but haven't responded much, but it's been a crazy month to say the least. MH's mother was in the hospital for two weeks for C-Diff [highly infectious, much like MRSA] when normally people recover much quicker. While she was there, they discovered a "spot" on her liver. She chose not to have this hospital address the spot until she was discharged and go could to the same hospital she used when she had lung cancer back in February, and the same hospital that did a complete PET scan in August and declared her Cancer Free.
At the beginning of October, a week after being discharged, she had her appointment at the second hospital and was informed that it was terminal liver cancer, there was no use doing treatment because it had spread so much and she had six months to live! That's about when I posted last saying I was going on a road trip at 35 weeks pregnant up to NH.
On Monday, she got her diagnosis, went home and cried and sat on the couch and had a glass of wine and said she was too young to die. MH and I started making plans to drive up that weekend and stay for a week.
On Tues, she climbed in bed and stayed there most of the time. I started packing thinking maybe we should commit to two weeks for sure.
On Wednesday, she stopped eating and only started taking in water. BIL thought she might make it four weeks more. I added to my packing list items needed in order to deliver the baby up there.
Thursday was the last day she sat upright. I tossed in a black dress and asked MH if he had packed anything for a potential funeral. He hadn't and I switched topics.
Friday she wasn't able to verbalize her needs very well and took to moaning and grunting and twitching her body to indicate where it hurt. As I was loading Katie into the car to start our 45 minute commute, MH called me sobbing. He was having a mental breakdown in the parking lot at work because the reality had started to hit him. I felt HELPLESS! I started driving to his work 60 minutes away to pick him up, the whole time trying to calm him down, call his boss and explain he wouldn't be in today, call my boss and say I'd be working from home, and then calling him back to reassure him some more.
We started our 14 hrs of drive time on Saturday and had planned to take it slow in 2 seven hr increments since I was 35 wks pg and shouldn't be making the trip anyway. Four hours in, we got the call that her urine was turning pinkish red and MH decided we were going to drive straight through. At 1am I made him pull over and it broke my heart but I just couldn't take the drive anymore. We slept for 4 hrs and got back on the road.
For the week and a half we were up there, she only opened her eyes twice. She couldn't communicate beyond moans but we knew she could hear us. The entire family was there [the other sister from NC with her kids made the drive days after us] and there were 11 of us living in a three bedroom house for several days. For four days, the hospice nurse would tell us daily that she wouldn't make it another day, and yet she did. When the meds needed to be given every 2 hrs instead of 4 and the family was exhausted from that and the death rallys...is this her last breath?...they decided to admit her to a hospice house. She lasted another two days there before finally passing. I'm sad that she's gone, but it had been so tough on the family physically and emotionally so in that respect it's a relief.
The night she died is the night New England had the snowstorm that knocked out power for a week. MH and I were at his sister's house the night she died, huddled on the couch under a ton of blankets trying to keep warm. The next day, I realized that MH was having a really hard time processing his grief being in his sister's house [she played the martyr card one too many times] and then BIL snapped at him over something stupid because BIL was catering to his wife and her grief, which made me angry. MH's mother just died too, so he needed the respect and sympthy as much as SIL did. I made the decision that we were going to check into a hotel further down south where there was still power and get him out of that environment in order to properly grieve.
At this point, I was near my breaking point both physically, emotionally and mentally. I was doing everything I could to be there for him and lighten his burden physically and emotionally, but it was beginning to take its toll on me. I had about two sobfests of my own [thank you 36 week pregnancy hormones], and asked him if we could end our trip early and head home. We went over to her house, packed up any belonings and mementos of hers that MH wanted to keep into our mini-van and on Tuesday, we began our long drive back home. We were gone a week and a half, but it was utterly exhausting. I had one more melt down when we got home [poor Best Buy clerk watching a sobbing pregnant woman wrangle a naughty toddler in the middle of her store].
It's taken me a week to get back to a better state of mind, and now I can start concentrating on how uncomfortable I am physically. ;-) I'll be 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow, and I took pictures last night to compare my belly to Katie's pregnancy, and I am about twice the size this time at 38 weeks than I was to Katie's 30 weeks.
Thank you to those that were keeping up with all of this via FB and were sending me messages and texts. That meant so much to me!! I wasn't able to do much more than quick blurbs on there to update people, thus why I'm finally now on here posting the whole long story.
Thanks for reading this, if you managed to make it to the end. It was very theraputic to get it all out.
Katie, Duke Gardens, 6months
Zach, Duke Gardens, 6months
Photo courtesy from the amazing Ever You Photography!