I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Best Gift Ever (from DH)

I feel the need to rescue my poor DH's gift reputation by telling you all about the best gift he's given me - in terms of actual tangible gifts. The intangible ones are too numerous to blog about. (Awwww....)

I can't remember if I've blogged about this before, so forgive me if you've heard this story already.

Since I was old enough to do so, I've worn a gold chain around my neck. At various times it's had various things on it - but it always has a gold letter "M' which my Mom gave me, a small diamond and sapphire charm my Dad gave me, half of a 'best friend' heart my sister gave me (she has the other half), and at the moment there is a small opal DH gave me for my birthday several years ago, plus the item I'm going to tell you about in a minute. When I was pregnant, I hung my wedding rings on it because my fingers were so swollen, at times it's had charms from friends, and so on...it's a terribly useful piece of jewellery. I very rarely take this necklace off, and it's extremely important to me because it hangs right above my heart. I love that the people I love are symbolically close to my heart and so this chain pretty much is as much a part of me as my hair or my skin or anything else. Anybody who knows me in real life knows how much a part of me this necklace is.

The day the children were born, I lay in that hospital bed (feeling rather blech indeed) and DH handed me a tiny jewellery box. Inside of it was a small gold medal - basically a round disk. On one side it had engraved the words, "Citius, Altius, Fortius" and on the other, "17 May 2001."

Not surprisingly, I burst into tears, put it on my chain and it has not come off since.

Here's the backstory. DH and I went through the lovely process of IVF to have our children.  It was not the most pleasant experience (although compared to some, really not too bad either.) I struggled with the whole experience emotionally - I felt like a failure, resented that we needed it at all, and so on. Believing that knowledge is power, I attacked this experience like a project which needed me to whip it into shape. I researched, I read, I took notes, I asked questions, I demanded answers, I challenged the status quo on almost everything, I made phone calls, joined online forums and so on.  In short, I was the biggest pain in the arse patient my doctor(s) had ever encountered. I advocated not only for me and DH but also for the children we were yet to have, and I was determined as anything to be successful at this (but I did have a "no more treatment" cut off point in mind.) DH and I went through the main part of our treatment right in the middle of the Sydney Olympics, and pretty much that is all that was on TV, radio, news, etc. Olympic fever had taken over Australia in a big way. On one of my darker days, DH told me I needed to treat this experience like the Olympics - meaning that like an athlete, it may take us years and years and years of dedication, preparation, special treatments, etc...but in the end, making it to the Olympics (getting pregnant) and then maybe even winning (bringing home a child) would make the long haul to get there totally worth it.

The Olympic motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius" - or "Faster, Higher, Stronger" and so we adopted this as our mantra. I'd whisper it to myself every time I had an injection, suck down a pill, or sniff something (nobody tells you about those nasty nasal sprays.) I'd repeat it in my head while going through yet another embarrassing and demoralising internal examination. I'd scribble it down while writing down the notes from the (endless) lectures we got from doctors. DH would squeeze my hand and  whisper it in my ear when he saw I was going to (yet again) burst into tears.   Basically I lived and breathed that expression and I hung onto it like a lifeline because if I just believed in it and stayed the course, we'd get through it, surely. Giving up was not an option for me. I'm no athlete but in this case, I was as prepared and organised for that race as any of them are.

Once we got pregnant, I hung onto the mantra still.  Every time I had a pre-natal check up - because triplets are high risk, and we still needed all that strength to make it through the pregnancy we both wanted so much. We really NEEDED those kids to be faster, higher, and stronger than most triplets are - because more often than not, higher order multiples are born prematurely, need hospital stays, and are in general in need of more care than your average baby. So I swallowed enormous amounts of vitamins, drank oceans of water, litres of milk for calcium, ingested as many calories (of the good variety!) I could possibly, and basically again treated this pregnancy like I was in training for an Olympic event. These babies were going to come out happy and healthy and well because I was going to work damn hard to make it so.

On May 17, 2001 - the most amazing miracle babies were born. All of them a very healthy weight for triplets, none of them needing very much special care, all of them then meeting their developmental milestones either on time or even a scrap early. By the time they were 6 months old all three of them had not only grown enough to be on those stupid baby growth charts, but were the right size or a bit over what would be expected for full term singleton children. In short, all that preparation was well worth it.

The best tangible gift I ever got from the love of my life was the gold medal he gave me on the day our children were brought into this world. It's a gold medal we both earned, but I get to wear above my heart every single day to remind me that together, we can do anything - and that almost everything in life worth doing takes patience, time, and perseverance. The gift of the gold medal was in fact about much, much more than just a piece of gold.


Rachel said...

Beautiful story. x

Jewel said...

that is just insanely beautiful. you are amazing the two of you xx