Brook and I made a commitment to each other in January of 2013. We decided that we were going to get our bodies the way we want them. We were going to work really hard for about a year and then we were going to try to have a second child. We purchased Insanity (a workout program), and many different foods to help us lose weight. We decided that the best way to go at it was to hit it hard. Both of us were ready. For the first time in our marriage we had both decided that no matter what happened we were going to finish this intense 60 day program.
On the first day we both were intensely tired and out of breath after the workout. Brook said "this time we are going to finish this" and she went to write on our chalk board. She wrote the words "Insanity 1/14/13! Suck it up and DO IT!" The second day found us both very exhausted but she seemed much more fatigued at the end than I was. This is not typical. generally when we do anything that is related to cardio I finish in much worse shape than she does. Together we helped each other off of the ground and we had a recovery shake each. On the third day is where the real fun begins. We started to work out and about five minutes in she was sitting on the ground and kept saying "I can't." These two words are not usually uttered by my wife or myself and I tried to convince her. I said "look at that board! Remember what you said about suck it up and do it!" My wonderful wife was in tears and said again "I can't."
Then, like she was just slapped in the back of the head, she looked up at me with big eyes and a seemingly renewed sense of energy and said something that would change my life in ways that I never thought one sentence could. Brook said "I haven't had my period in a while."
I didn't react as some of you may expect. I simply smiled and said nonchalantly "ya want me to go get a test?" Not too long after that I found out that I was due to be a father to a new little life. I didn't get overly excited or grateful. Instead of that I immediately began to fear. I was worried about how this unplanned pregnancy was going to affect my wife. I was worried about what kind of birth defects my child may have. I was fearful of the hardships that my baby would endure in this hateful destructive world. I then sank into true Joel mode. My life has been a big question, and i need to know the answers before I find out through experience. I research and read about everything. I don't like to be surprised by anything. I plan everything down to my conversations. I spend extra time in my day reviewing conversations and interactions with other people. I think "how could I have handled this situation better?" I spend countless hours at night wondering what people think about me. I worry and I worry and I worry until I fall asleep and then I dream about terrible things. I have these nightmares and these fears that I won't be a great this or that.
For 1 month things seemed fine, and then my wonderful wife began to bleed. I called Brian into work and left before he got there. I took Brook to the ER and they evaluated her. They determined that she had a problem with the placenta being pulled away from the uterine wall: Likely miscarriage unless she stayed on bed rest for a then undetermined amount of time. The next three days were very difficult. Brook and I had to work together. I took on the responsibilities of the house and I did everything in my power to keep brook laying on the sofa and comfortable. Not long after that Brook got cleared to return to her normally scheduled life.
At 5 months or so Brook and I were back in the hospital to get her checked out because she couldn't walk. The baby was pressing on her sciatic nerve and was causing some intense pain. After that situation was handled I spent a lot of time preparing myself to help my wife through the incoming bad news of a birth defect or even worse, a miscarriage. I began mentally getting ready to not be sad. Ready to be strong because that's who I am. That is who I have had to be for so long. I'm the strong one in my immediate family. I am the confident rock that everyone can call and talk to. I am the Stone that cannot be moved. I am the unbreakable wall that is always here. I am always here to help my friends, siblings, and even occasionally parents through any hardship or loss. All they have to do is call me to get my love, sympathy, or even my admittedly sometimes cold analysis of a situation that they are involved in. I speak truthfully and often without letting my emotions (or my filter) cloud my judgement. I was ready for anything. I was ready to assure Brook that it was nothing that we could have done. I was ready to let her cry on my shoulder. I was ready to love her and Anna through this hardship. Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. Nothing could have prepared me for Molly Dean; not a thousand years of research, nor as many years hardening my heart to pain could have made me ready to receive the most breathtaking moment of my life to date.
3 am and we were awake. We were ready to leave at 4 am. We got to the hospital at 4:30 am. We were in the room by 4:45. Everything was going perfectly. Brook was prepped with an IV and leggings to prevent clots during surgery. I was given a gown to put on at the last minute. Brook was taken away from me to receive anesthesia. I was told that they would come get me before they started the surgery. Time started to pass... and pass... and fifteen minutes later someone came in and got me. They had already begun but had not been going for very long. I sat next to Brook and talked to her. We shared a calm conversation about life and after a long silence I asked "Which kid at the daycare is your favorite?" and she yelled "You can't pick favorites with BABIES!" That's when I heard it. It was the most terrifying beautiful sound I could imagine. Molly Dean began to cry. She was taken away from us to be cleaned and I was allowed to go see her. She had so much Hair but I couldn't believe how small she was. 6 lbs. 15 oz. and only 18 inches long.
But that isn't the amazing moment that I was talking about. That doesn't come even close.
About 10 minutes later I was allowed in the nursery with my child. Molly was lying naked on an incubation table. She was crying a bit, so as any father would do I went over to her and held her hand between by fore finger and my thumb and talked to her. I told her her name and welcomed her to the world. Amazingly when I began to speak she got quiet and "listened". That's when I felt a different feeling then ever in my life. I was...Perfect. Nothing was wrong. I was enveloped in the most amazing feeling of love and confidence that I had ever felt. I knew what I was doing and didn't have to think... I just needed to be there for her to give my love to her. If I stopped talking to her, she began to cry. If I let go of her finger she cried. I was even asked at one point to let her cry because she had fluid in her left lung and she needed to cry it out. For the first time in a long time I told someone who "knew more than me" no. I wasn't going to let my child cry because she was terrified. She needed her father. Molly needed me to be strong.
At first I thought that my whole life had been preparing me for that moment. For the past two months I have felt like this. I couldn't be more wrong. I think that the past 11 months have been preparing me for the rest of my life. In the past 11 months I think I was coming to this exact moment. This moment when I put down in writing how I have been surviving. I've been hanging on by a thread. I've been slipping from my family and friends. I've slipped away from myself. Worse of all I've slipped away from my faith. I believed that searching the world would give me the answers to the world's questions. I researched many different cultures for answers. I asked men and women. I read what men and women wrote. I was satisfied that I knew what the world is made of.
About two years ago I prayed, completely naked, before I got in the tub and asked God what was the reason for everything. I need answers! Please tell me that you are here and listening I "heard" two words "Ezekiel," and "Timothy." I talked to my father about this and he encouraged me to read both books of the Bible after telling me that Ezekiel translates to El Shaddai which means "The God who is more than enough"
I began reading Ezekiel and stopped because I was lazy and that wasn't my priority in life like I said it was.
As I've written this I used the words "I wasn't going to let my child cry because she was terrified. She needed her father. Molly needed me to be strong." Let me take a few of those words and change them up a bit. "He isn't going to let me be alone because I am terrified. I need a Father. I need him to be strong." I am not who he wants me to be. I am not what he wants me to be. I think I finally realize what I've been missing. Please pray for me. I'm giving in. Too much of this is in my heart to deny it now. Now it is written and I can re-read it if I need a reminder. Even when I'm alone, I'm not alone. Not Ever.
I titled this 2 months ago. I started writing it then and got 4 sentences in. A week and a half ago I wrote another sentence and deleted 3. This is all that's left of it. Everything after in the next paragraph.
For the past 3-4 years I have supposed to be finished in the transformation of my life. I felt as though I was on on track to be great. I was already on a path to greatness in my professional life, my Marriage, and in being a father. All I had to do was avoid a few obstacles and jump a few hurdles. Sounds simple right?