I had always struggled with weight. Even as a child. I don’t think I need to travel that far back but you get my point….
I remember when I got engaged (the first time) I weighed about 230 or so possibly more. I choose not to remember. I always told myself that I was big boned and had wide shoulders like a quarterback and that’s why I weighed what I did. But, I knew I could be smaller, at least I hoped I could. So, I joined Jenny Craig…The program had great reviews everyone was so nice. I had structure. There was classes. They told me what to eat and when. Even “sold” me the food from their freezer (wow!!That was expensive). I also had to visit the market to purchase the fresh fruits, veggies, bread and dairy to accompany the food they sold me. The worst part was the taste. All the food, OK the majority of the food was so nasty. I would not eat, cheat or worse eat it and follow up with a tasty treat. I never exercised, unless working and housework are classified as exercise ( they may have been then, I have since learned otherwise).
Fast forward to September 15, 1990 I got married at a stealthy 209 pounds. I was so proud of myself. Then I got pregnant on my honeymoon and it wasn’t long before I discovered the beauty of morning sickness (insert sarcasm here). Every single day including the day I was induced I was sick. I had severe acute toxemia and my baby girl was born several weeks early with complications not related to that. I had gained about 85 pounds during that pregnancy. We struggled with caring for that tiny baby girl with her complications and was advised to not plan another pregnancy for a couple years while we sorted through her issues. (I can elaborate on those things later). Well, you know females with obesity don’t always have regular menstrual cycles? I tried to take birth control pills but evidently they are cholesterol based and my cholesterol skyrocketed. I just opted out of taking them and anyway….I didn’t have a cycle so how would I get pregnant?!?! Around her first birthday I discovered I was pregnant with baby #2 purely by accident. I had a friend who thought she was pregnant but was afraid to test alone. I said I will do it with you. Silly I know since I never even considered I would be the one to come out with a positive result. Sorry Pat… She did eventually get pregnant.
I was about 12 weeks along and was put on bed rest. Baby was growing way to fast and was born 6 weeks early with multiple birth defects (I’ll get into these things soon). Baby boy was transferred to another hospital and stayed for 5 weeks while he was treated. During this pregnancy I gained about 65 pounds and don’t recall what my weight started at. But, I really never lost weight from my first pregnancy, aside from the baby weight.
Feb 12, 1993 we brought baby boy home where we had baby girl who was 22 months old and not mobile 100% yet.
Ok… 2 babies with issues. Baby girl had small jaw with obstructed airway and a cleft of the small palate. Went on to have failure to thrive and developmental delay. She had her palate repaired at 9 months of age and started to thrive and become a normal toddler. Baby boy had 4 heart defects the major one being his aorta did not develop completely. We noticed several things once he started to grow. Many appointments later we were told he had suffered 2 strokes before birth and was diagnosed with partial Cerebral Palsy. He then began different therapies to focus on areas of weakness. We were seen by a genetic counselor who suggested that the babies had a chromosome deletion and led me to research and ultimately reach out to a specialist who did confirm it. Baby girl is 27 years old now and baby boy is 25. Both of them doing well considering symptoms of the deletion.
In July 1995 my father who was my best friend and mentor was diagnosed with terminal cancer. They gave him 3 months to live. He passed away in Oct 1995. I was devastated as you might imagine. I lost my biggest supporter. He was my rock and strength to keep moving forward with caring for these babies. He would hold, rock and comfort one while I did the same for the other.
My husband you might be curious about. He was the sole income earner of the family and was very caring and helped where and when he could but it was limited due to his job responsibilities. I ended up suffering from depression and anxiety. I went to counseling and learned that I needed an outlet. Something else to focus on. I was caring for these babies and also supported and counseled a support group for other families with children that had similar issues. I enrolled in school to become a manicurist. I thought that would give me the freedom to come and go as I needed and still be available for my babies when they needed. Eventually all these things led us to divorce. The marriage had suffered. We both lost loved ones during this time. We gained our beautiful children but that was also part of the problem between us. It was never us. It was always him and I. Doing what was necessary but never together as a husband and wife.
I share all these very personal things and feelings with you; the reasons I was angry, unhappy, depressed, anxious and miserable. I didn’t care about myself or anyone else for that matter. I wanted a normal life but didn’t even know what normal was.