SPLASH!

 

I haven’t been able to share publicly an incident that happened to Molly my 3 & 1/2-year-old daughter a few weeks ago. Maybe because I am ashamed of myself as a mother. Maybe because if I put it out there for the world to see, they will think badly of me. Maybe because I feel that if I don’t make it public it will be easier to pretend it never happened. Honestly, the whole episode couldn’t have lasted more than 15-20 seconds, but I cannot shake it. It’s like a continuous looped replay in my mind that is a slow motion blurred nightmare. Anytime I think about it or talk about it, tears fill my eyes or I completely break down. But after running into a friend (who’s a damn good mother by the way) a few days ago and hearing that it happened to her with her 4-year-old just days after my nightmare, I knew that I had to share it.

It was a hot summer day and we did what most families do, packed up our bags and headed to a family members pool. It was awesome because they were on vacation so we had the whole place to ourselves.  All day long Molly kept saying she wanted to try swimming without her swimmies. By the end of last summer she had really started to get the hang of it. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to get to swim over the winter months so she is a little rusty. In other words, swimmies are a must. I told her repeatedly, once we were all in the pool she could practice for a bit. We got to the house and Matt (my husband) headed upstairs to get some towels. I took the girls outside to the backyard. They were ready to go! Suits on, swimmies in hand, and overheated from the climbing temperature. I paused for a moment at the fire pit because I wanted to surprise them with s’mores later on. As I stood with my back to the pool which was about 20 yards away. I heard a splash. I thought to myself, Oh boy, Buddy (the families Golden Retrieve who was infamous for jumping in the pool on hot days) is excited to swim too! But then my mind snapped. Buddy had sadly passed away last month! That splash had to be one of the girls. I turned to see Maddy my 2-year-old standing on the deck, pointing and yelling. And then I saw Molly in the center of the pool flailing. She was keeping her head above water but she had a fear in her eyes that put me into a state of shock. I raced through the grass and threw myself over the side of the pool. Screaming over and over again “Mommy’s coming Molly!” “You’re Ok!” as I swam as fast as I possibly could. I reached her, thank God before she went fully under. I don’t know who was holding who tighter! I tried to not let her see how panicked I was. I tried not to yell at her. I tried to keep myself together as best as I possibly could under the circumstances. I tried by I was failing at all of these things as my body succumbed to the enormous state of shock that my mind was experiencing. Matt came out of the house holding the towels with a puzzled look on his face as he observed the scene in front of him. Maddy on the deck of the pool yelling “Bad Choice Sissy!” Molly clinging to me, shaking in fear. Her arms wrapped around my neck so tight I thought I would pass out but I never wanted her to let go. And me in the pool with all of my stuff still on frozen. I asked why he didn’t come running out when he heard me screaming. But it was obvious to me before he said a word that he hadn’t heard and was clueless. Wow! If I had still been in the house, just a couple more steps away. I would never have heard that splash. That splash echos  loudly in my ears to this day, but at the time it could never have been loud enough to hear if I wasn’t in the yard. I replay it constantly in my mind. What would have happened? Would Maddy have tried to jump in to save her sister, putting herself in danger too? Would Molly have been able to keep herself up any longer? What would my life have become if true tragedy had struck us that day? How would I live with myself if something happened? How will I live with myself just letting this happen? I am struggling. Every day I am struggling to keep my mind from drowning in the possibilities and fears.

It wasn’t till my friend shared her horror story with me that I felt like I could breathe a little bit more. She, like I said, is a damn good mom! She is someone I look up to. And it happened to her. Two moms drowning in fear of what could have happened to their babies. Two moms in the same week, getting a wake up call that will never let them feel completely at ease on those hot summer days at the pool. But two moms who in their still fresh sense of shock, were able to share a bond that they are not alone. It’s okay to feel panic. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to feel like we are the ones drowning. Our kids are back in the pool. They are kids. They are able to float, while we sink in our own mommy pool of self-doubt and fear. They are the lucky ones not the victims. We became each others life vest as we shared our stories with tears streaming down our faces in the middle of a busy restaurant, dressed as cows. (that is a story for another day! HaHa!) Of course I would never want my friend or any mother to feel this way, it was nice to not be alone drowning in this “pool of emotions”. Our husbands don’t get it because they weren’t there. They didn’t see their babies struggle. They didn’t see their wives fight the heavy weight of the water as they rushed to reach them. I cling to the fact that someone I admire as a person and a mother, could be my life vest when I desperately needed it.

So why write this? Why do I feel like it’s okay now to share what I feel is something that could label me as an absent-minded mother? Why? Because I know I’m not! I am a damn good mother! Some may even say I am a “helicopter mother”. I’m the mom at the park that is right by my kids making sure they know that I am there to help them. I don’t hold them back. I let them climb. I let them jump. I even let them make their own “bad choices”. But I also let them know that I am right there. Within reach. Ready to save the day when things go wrong. Sure maybe that hot summer day, I was a bit distracted. I would never have imagined my daughter would think she could jump into a pool and swim. But isn’t that motherhood? They never do what we think they are going to do. I think they actually enjoy going left when we think they are going to make a right. Like they thrive to keep us on our toes and test us to see just how fast we will come to their rescue. Regardless if its, hitting their sister, saying a naughty word, or  for some reason thinking they are a mermaid all the sudden. You just never know what to expect by each passing second. That, is why I am writing this. It happened to me. It happened to my friend. It could happen to you! Always stay completely alert when you are by a pool or body of water. We can get so easily distracted as moms. On our phone, socializing, thinking about dinner, if we have enough toilet paper, how long we can sneak away to Target for, just in our own thoughts. That splash was definitely a wake up call for this mama! I will forever be changed over one little splash. A splash that washes over me like a title wave. A splash that echos in my ears down to the pit of my very soul. But a splash that gave me the speed and strength to feel those little arms wrap around my neck. You can judge me all you want. I am glad that I have two beautiful blessings to be judged about. And if this helps just one more mama who may have dealt with this themselves. Or prevents someone from dealing with it. Then I will take any kind of criticism that is splashed my way.

I’m sorry if this seemed to ramble on. I haven’t blogged in so long and I am a bit rusty. But, boy it feels good to finally get it out of my head! Now it’s time for me to hit the hay! I have an important hot summer day of swimming with my two beautiful daughters awaiting me tomorrow. I am terrified and excited!

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My Listen To Your Mother Piece…

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Listen To Your Mother Was such a powerful experience for me. I honestly am still trying to wrap my head around all the impact it has made on my life. I will blog about the experience soon but I don’t want to rush the process because I want to find the right words. For now I am going to share my piece with you. I am very proud of it and hope that the humor comes across to you the reader in the written form. Of course once the performance video is up on YouTube I will share that as well. Boy it felt good to have the audience laugh along at the craziness that seems to go hand and hand with my life! Oh here is a fun tidbit to add to your reading experience… The “young good looking surgeon” was actually in the audience for the performance! How hilarious is that!

Enjoy!

There’s No Modesty in Motherhood!

By Melissa Bigelli

I wrote this sitting on the toilet, in between the few moments I could sneak away from my two adorable yet clingy children. Of course, they opened the door on me and attempted to climb on my lap several times, but I’m a mother, so I take anytime I can to multitask and writing this piece was no exception.

Thank God I wasn’t really born with a major sense of modesty because when it comes to being a mother, any type of privacy and dignity has to be thrown out the window. This happened long before our little blessings are placed into our arms.

Yes, from the moment you get that plus sign on the pee stick, you know that your lady parts are now officially public domain. And if you are a high risk mama like I was, then you know that no matter how much you “spruce up down there” something in you just clicks and you think, “Screw it! I’m not even shaving my ankles for this next appointment, let alone worry about having to deal with the bumps, itchiness, & regrowth rash.”

Three months before my wedding, I was diagnosed with an early stage of cervical cancer. Thank God we caught it when we did. After three surgeries that left me with a tiny part of my cervix, I was told I was cancer free for now, but any chance of carrying a baby was slim to none. Well, a few short months after my wedding, I was able to conceive and carry my beautiful daughter Molly Mae to 35 weeks. She was tiny, but perfect and I loved every moment of being a mommy. A few short months later we found out to our shock and surprise, we were expecting again. Sadly, that baby was not meant for this earth. That was a crushing blow and my heart still struggles to this day. However, that is not the story I am here to tell.

My story for you all begins 6 months after our second sweet baby was taken to Heaven. My husband and I decided it was time to try again. After all, they said having Molly was a miracle and we hoped that we could give her a sibling to share her life with before I was forced to under go a hysterectomy to ensure the cervical cancer would be gone once and for all. Wouldn’t you know it, we conceived on the first attempt! Way to go honey! Now if only he could remember to put the toilet seat down! At 37 weeks, we welcomed our sweet little Madeline Mary into the world. Getting her here was not an easy journey for my body, my mind, or any more modesty that I may have had left in me! By this point all the appointments I had, the cervical cancer, Molly’s pregnancy, the miscarriage, the check ups, and weekly internal ultrasounds, I was sure that the whole Lehigh Valley had seen my vagina (in a strictly medical way of course) and there was nothing else left to surprise me. Well, all that went out the window once I was told I would have to receive a cerclage.

For those of you who don’t know what the cerclage is, it’s when they stitch you “inside” to  keep the baby cooking where it belongs. Kind of what Grandma used to do to keep the stuffing in the Thanksgiving bird! Sounds fun, right? This procedure is done in an operating room where they give you an epidural to numb you from the waist down. Since I was “a special case” they decided that they needed two surgeons to get my cerclage in. The head surgeon decided that this job called for what they called the candy cane stirrups. Sounds like fun I thought. How can anything that’s called the candy cane stirrups be terrifying? Well, let’s put it this way, they were not red and white stripes liked I hoped. Nope, they were a dingy gray, surgical metal and they were connected to the end of the operating table. I guess at some point, unbeknownst to me, my legs were hoisted up in the air by my ankles and I dangled spread eagle in front of a room full of strangers. Now, any of you who have had an epidural before probably know that you can’t feel anything, so I thought I felt my legs still down on the table. That’s until they asked me to move my arms, which were bundled in a warming blanket, so they could strap me down like Jesus. My hand hit something that I thought was a balloon or something. Nope, to my surprise it was just my meaty thigh dangling high above me.

I was shocked to finally have my eyes focus and realize the spectacle that my body was now putting on.  I began to nervously laughed so hard that, like most pregnant women, caused me to have to relieve myself. “I’m going to PEE!”I exclaimed!

“Oh go right ahead, Melissa,” they said, “you have a catheter in!”

It didn’t feel like I did, but I figured they have that epidural working so well that I didn’t know that my thighs were literally dangling over my ears. Still I questioned, “Are you sure? I don’t want to pee on you!” They assured me it was OK and what I was feeling was normal. So, I peed. I Peed like I’ve never peed before. And I peed all over the sterile operating room floor! I watch the doctors scamper away as it splashed around their surgical booties. “I told your so!” I whined!

“It wasn’t you, it was me!” proclaimed the younger, good looking, might I add, surgeon trying to make me feel better.

“Well, then that is very unprofessional of you,” I teased back. But as mortifying as it was, it kind of broke the ice.

After a quick cleanup, they assumed their positions between my two outstretched unshaved ankles.

The one doctor said, “See how great these candy canes are? Now we can both fit in here!”

To which I replied, “Gee! That’s what every girl wants to hear! My parents will be so proud!”  The room once again erupted in laughter. At that point I also realized that if I angled my head just right, I could see them working in the reflection of the surgical lights above. I felt like Mary Poppins carpetbag down there! Things were being put in and things were being pulled out. It was terrifyingly comical. I prayed that the stitch would work. I prayed for the baby that was in my womb but couldn’t feel right now because of the epidural. And I really, really prayed that they were not going to leave anything up there inside of me! They didn’t, thank God! But they did provide my body the opportunity to become the mother of two beautiful girls who are 18 months apart.

So now as I sit on the toilet with those two little girls bouncing on my lap, I think about the journey that has brought them here and I couldn’t care less about my unshaved legs or my over grown lady parts. I hope my husband really doesn’t care either because one day we will have the energy to actually touch each other again and he’s just going to have to get used to it like every doctor and nurse and the entire Lehigh Valley who has experienced my vagina (in a medical way of course).

Now if you will excuse me I’m going to be in the ladies room for the rest of the evening, enjoying an uninterrupted “sit”! Thank You!

A dead battery and a spark of romance

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Today Matt & I went on a “date”. We borrowed my brother-in-laws truck to pick up a playhouse to makeover for the girls. We felt pretty “bad ass” in the old orange beast.
Even though I had to hold the review mirror up for Matt to back out of the driveway.

IMG_0339                After picking up the playhouse, Matt took me to Toby’s for a hot dog,

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dropped the playhouse off at home, then took me to Lowes to look for paint.

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Those Bigelli men sure know how to treat a lady! HAHA! We actually had a really fun time together. And I got a piggyback ride into Lowes. I haven’t had one of those since I was about 5! (Another bonus of loosing almost 100lbs!)

Anyway, there was a small delay in the fun because upon returning to the truck we found out THE BATTERY DIED! UhOh! Mark to the rescue! (He wasn’t really happy about that) but there was no other choice since Matt is clueless when it comes to auto-mechanics and busy looking at free tutus we scored for the girls during our playhouse pick up.

How can two brothers be sooooo different? HAHA!

I guess the moral of this blog is. Although we love our girls dearly, it’s fun to sneak away & make to most of any alone time we can get together. Today it felt like we were dating again & to me it was very romantical!

IMG_0340                                                                               He’s a keeper!