Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We're rounding third...

We have one more school day with kids, then a work day on Friday, and after that, IT'S SUMMER TIME! Summer does not really begin the third week of June, it begins the first Monday-Friday day after school is out. If you don't believe me, just ask any 6-18 year old! (or any teacher)

I share a small classroom with two other teachers and we're working on getting everything put away and organized for the summer. It always takes me longer than anyone else because I have so much "stuff" to deal with. In the past two days, though, I've really been purging. Yesterday and today I had to hunt down our custodian to have the trash can emptied before lunch. I'm so proud of myself, getting rid of so much junk. I still have some things to go through, so there might be more to add to the trash can tomorrow.

Next Monday is my colonoscopy, and I just want to get it over and done with. I don't even mind the prep as much as getting the IV started. But the biggest reason to get it over and done with is that I need reassurance that there is no tumor growing inside of me. Cancer is such a cruel disease. I'm forever changed due to my experience with that terrible, horrific illness. But I think I'll save that for another time.

Ted's knee, calf, and ankle are really bothering him from work today. I wish I knew what to say to him to make him feel better. He's becoming really "down" emotionally and I want to help him, but I'm not doing very well apparently. I would love for him to get a different type of job that entails very little physical labor, but I don't know what to even suggest to him.

It's only a little after 9 pm and I'm exhausted. Thank goodness there are only two more mornings to get up this week. Think I'll take a shower and head to bed. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Exciting Day

Today was quite a was Ted's first day back to work since having his knee surgery on April 20; I went back to work after a long weekend; Joey went back to work after a long weekend; and Alex went back to school after a long weekend. Additionally, it was the first day that "the girls" would be home alone together with the run of the house. "The girls" refers to Pepina, our 14 month old calico, and Marina, our 7 week old calico.

All of this was enough to make it quite a day, but there's MORE! Today the pool company came and started on our pool! They dug out the hole and there are a few piles of dirt in the backyard, but that's definitely OKAY! Then around 9 pm tonight, there was a knock at the door, and the pool itself was being delivered. Apparently the manufacturing company was short a driver and they were all trying to make up for it, so this lucky guy got to drive from western PA to here and deliver it. It took him about 45 minutes to get it all unloaded and out by the hole in the backyard. It's amazing to think that in a week or 8 days we could actually be swimming in our own pool!

I also had the pleasure of spending about an hour at the hospital by the school where I work. Since I'm having a colonoscopy on Monday, I needed to have bloodwork, a chest x-ray, and an EKG. My procedure will be done at the same hospital, and today was my first trip to that particular hospital. My surgeon, who is doing my colonoscopy, recently gave up his privileges at our local hospital and is only working out of the hospital near where I work. It's a much smaller hospital than what I'm used to, and it was really quite quaint. Of course, nothing is ever easy with me...the bloodwork took 2 attempts (not bad, really), the chest x-ray, side view took 4 tries (but that wasn't MY fault, I think it was the tech who was struggling), but the EKG went fairly smoothly, thank goodness. Now I just want the colonoscopy over with. I NEED to know if there is any problem. I just continue to hope and pray that it's all clear. If it is indeed all clear, I won't need another colonoscopy for three years!

At work, I sort of felt like I was spinning my wheels. I worked hard all day, trying to get stuff packed up and organized, and don't feel like I got much done. I'm hoping that tomorrow will go much better.

Well, that's enough for today. Oh yeah, by the way, "the girls" seemed to get along just fine today. Well, at least I haven't found any blood anywhere and they were both doing okay when I got home!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Our Parenthood Journey

Parenthood, Part One

After Ted and I had been married for 4 years we decided to venture down that path of procreation. There was so much that went into that decision and we talked a lot about it before we felt it was the right time.

One of the issues was, of course, money. Would we be able to afford a child? Would we be able to provide for that child down the road? What about college?

Another issue was that I had a very good friend (who shall be referred to as Shannon) who was traveling down the infertility route at that time, and had been for several years. I know that it was a very difficult time for her, and when someone she knew became pregnant she always knew that she could call me and just let her feelings out. How would she be able to take it when her "sounding board" and last childless friend left her in the club all by herself? Ted and I decided that we would not tell her or her husband about our plans until we absolutely HAD when we hit the second trimester!

And then of course, there was fear. Fear of the unknown. Would we even be able to get pregnant? What about this labor and delivery stuff? Being that I did NOT like pain or discomfort of any kind, and that the mere thought of a needle sent my blood pressure through the roof, would I be able to handle this?

We pretty much decided that we would just jump into this journey feet first, without thinking analyzing each and every little aspect of it, and then deal with things as they came up.

Afterall, it wouldn't take long, right? I mean, when you start trying to have a baby, it just works right away, right? And my very good friend Shannon was just a HUGE exception, that only happened to maybe one out of around 100,000 women, right? about naive.

Parenthood, Part Two

So that summer I had a regular checkup with my gynecologist and just casually mentioned that we might be thinking about trying to conceive. He told me that at that point he saw no reason to worry and that he wasn't anticipating any problems. If I was not pregnant in a year, we would talk about things. Okay, that seemed fair enough.

We had decided that we weren't going to tell ANYONE that we were going to try. It was going to be our little secret until it happened. But that wasn't going to take long. I would probably be pregnant within two months at the most. That's the way this whole trying to conceive thing worked, right?

I was desperately trying to remember everything Shannon had ever told me about her infertility issues and whether or not there was anything in all that information that could make this happen for us immediately. All I could come up with was a temperature chart. So I bought some graph paper and created my own chart. Remember this was back in the mid 1980s, before the internet could provide anything like that at the stroke of a few keys.

So I had a thermometer and graph paper and I was ready to go. Every morning I would take my temperature around the same time, then graph it. When I saw that ovulation was about to take place, I told Ted, and that evening, we let "nature take its course."

Afterwards, I can remember thinking to myself, "Oh no...what have we DONE???" I got so worked up about this that I was sick to my stomach. And then I thought that, hey, what's done is done, and our lives are about to change forever!

Oh wow...I can't believe how naive we were. We just assumed that it would work the first time. Heck, we were even looking at possible due dates! We thought that a spring baby would be so exciting.

We found out a couple of weeks or so later that it didn't work.

What's up with this??? It didn't work?? Why not? It was supposed to work. We did it at the right time. What was the problem?

Off I went to the book section of our local K-Mart. I was looking for books on getting pregnant, and found a few. I purchased the one that seemed to give a lot of practical information. I was already doing one thing (taking my temperature) so we needed to know what to do next to help achieve conception.

I knew I could have just asked Shannon, but of course did not want to let her know that we were trying. How could I possibly be the next person to tell her that there was a baby on the way?? She really suffered emotionally every time someone she knew got pregnant and knew that she could always talk to me about it because I was not expecting, nor (to her knowledge) were we trying. I felt like if I told her, it would be like abandoning her, so I just couldn't do that. I had way too much respect for her.

So the next month we tried the pillow trick. After our "session" I slid a pillow underneath myself and stayed that way for about 30 minutes. Surely that would work.

It didn't.

Parenthood, Part Three

By early November of 1984, I was sure that this whole baby thing wasn't going to work. Yes, I'm impatient.

Shannon had been working with the Cleveland Clinic's fertility department, and she was going up there fairly regularly. That's about an hour and a half away, so it wasn't always convenient. Fortunately she had the early morning appointments (like 7:15 or so), and she and her husband had to get up really early to arrive on time. As she was talking to me about all of this and the things they were going through, I kept hoping that we weren't heading down the same path in the future.

Of course fertility treatments have changed SO much in the last 20 plus years that she would probably not be treated the same way now as she was then. Without giving away too much of her story (and it is HER story, not mine) let's just say that there were pills and shots involved.

By the beginning of December of that year, I knew "something" was up. I wasn't feeling right, I was tired and sore, and had experienced a very odd cycle in late November...just some spotting, and that was it. Back then over the counter pregnancy tests were quite expensive and we just didn't have extra money to spend on them. They were around $12-$15 each, and for 1984, that was a lot of money. So, I called the doctor's office and they had me bring in a urine sample the following morning.

When I called back that afternoon, they told me that I was definitely PREGNANT!! They scheduled an appointment for me for the beginning of February.

WOW, what a shock! This was going to really happen! We were going to be parents!

Ted knew what was going on, so he had called me from work and I told him. Then I called my mom. She was just getting ready to leave for the hospital. She was an R.N. and was scheduled to work afternoon shift that day.

I asked her if she could handle working if she had other stuff on her mind. She said she didn't know what I meant, but whatever I had to tell her would have to be quick because she had some things to do before leaving for work. She had no idea what I was about to tell her because, as I said before, we had told NO ONE that we were trying.

"Well...I just wanted you to know that you are going to be a grandma!"

She was very excited (which made me feel good) and then told me to tell my dad. He happened to be home from work for a short break. She put him on the phone and I told him too. He was also very happy. I told each of them NOT to tell anyone else yet, because we were going to wait a while due to the Shannon thing, and we just wanted to make sure everything was okay. After my first doctor's appointment, we would be good to go. They thought that was a great idea.

And all was right with the world!

We were going to have a baby!

Parenthood, Part Four

We were so excited about having a baby!

I'd purchased a book about getting pregnant, and also borrowed several from the library. After going over and over and OVER the information in them, I decided that I got pregnant earlier than I originally thought and had a much-abbreviated cycle after becoming pregnant. So I decided to take the plunge and become one of these "obsessed" mothers-to-be and called the doctor's office. The nurse was very nice and after listening to all that I said, agreed with me. Therefore, instead of being just two weeks or so late, it was more like SIX weeks. She even gave me an approximate due date of early August. WOW!

(As a teacher, we immediately decided that with an August birthday, we would keep this baby out of school an extra year. I'd seen firsthand what pushing a child through the system could do and it was NOT going to happen to our baby! Once I explained it all to him, Ted was in complete and total agreement with this.)

We would be hosting Christmas for Ted's family on Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas Day. Between those two days we would have a total of close to 30 people in and out of the house, and we were NOT going to say a word to any of them about being pregnant. THAT WOULD BE REALLY DIFFICULT!

Throughout this time I was not teaching. In fact, I had decided that I was DONE with teaching and was never going back. I needed a break in the worst way. I had agreed to sub for a principal who I really admired, but that was it. I wasn't even on an official sub list, but just worked for him. In retrospect, it was the best thing I could have done and it is only because of him that I decided to get back into teaching. I eventually re-entered the work force with a new outlook and attitude.

Since we had only been in our house for a little over a year, I wanted to make sure that it looked great for the holidays. I spent a lot of time finding the perfect tree, decorating the house, wrapping gifts so they looked like they were in a magazine spread. Afterall, this was going to be the last Christmas that I would have the time to do this because by the following Christmas, we would have a baby!

We were so attached to this baby already. We would both rub my tummy and talk to it, telling it about the things we would all do together. It was a feeling that I can't even put into words...thrilled, excited, delirious, ecstatic, overjoyed, elated...none of them could even compare to what we were feeling! We were SO in love with this baby! We'd already talked about how we were going to turn the "blue" bedroom into a nursery, and the kinds of curtains we would get, the theme we would use. We had plans!

But then...

Two days before Christmas (when I was approximately seven and a half weeks pregnant, I began to spot. I immediately called the doctor's office and was told that if the spotting was brown, it was "old" and I shouldn't be too worried, but if it was red, it was "new" and the doctor would want to see me. Fortunately it was brown, whew! The nurse recommended that I rest as much as possible and to let them know at the office if anything changed.

I've since decided that an early pregnancy is either going to stick or it isn't, and that decision isn't based on whether you constantly rest or not. I think they tell you that to make you think that you are doing everything possible to stay pregnant.

On Christmas Eve I was cramping a little, but I kept a smile on my face while playing hostess. Ted knew what was going on and did as much as he could to help me. He was great.

Things are always worse during the night...I think it has something to do with the darkness. Around 4:00 am I woke up with more cramps and the spotting was beginning to turn red. Definitely NOT a good sign.

I went back to bed, but not back to sleep.

We eventually got up and exchanged gifts. Ted had gotten me a pair of diamond earrings. They were small, but they were real diamonds. They were way out of our budget, but something he wanted to do for me. What a sweet guy! I'm married to the best man in the universe!

After opening our gifts we got ready for the day. I had a meal to prepare and we had to finish straightening up from the night before.

The cramps were getting worse. The spotting was getting worse. Come was Christmas Day. Why did this have to happen on this particular day???

My parents and brother arrived before anyone else. I told my mom what was happening, but not my dad. She kept her eye on me throughout the day. A couple of times I just needed to escape and went upstairs to our bedroom to lie down for a few minutes. Once she came in and asked me how I was feeling. NOT GOOD. I was scared. I was worried. I was upset. One of my cousins was there, and she was about four and a half months pregnant with she and her husband's first child. Needless to say, they received a LOT of attention that day! I kept trying to tell myself that things would all be fine for our baby and these two children would be able to grow up together.

After everyone left, I took a shower and just tried to relax, as much as a pregnant woman with red spotting and cramping could.

By the next day it was no longer spotting, but real bleeding with clots. I called the doctor's office. They were very good about always putting me through to the nurse. She said that the doctor wasn't in that day, but she was going to call him and get back to me.

Half an hour later, she called me back. In the meantime, the bleeding had gotten really bad, as had the cramping. She told me that the doctor said that it was over. I was having a "spontaneous abortion." (Oh, how I despise that term.) Because I was only about 8 weeks pregnant, I would not need a D&C. Nature would take its course and we could try again right away.

I was no longer pregnant.

Parenthood, Part Five

We were shocked, to say the least, that this pregnancy didn't stick. Come on...don't most of them work out the way we plan?

We were relieved that we hadn't told anyone besides my folks. That made it a little easier when having to relay the information that we were no longer expecting a baby.

I saw my doctor and he said that at least a third of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and we could immediately try again. In fact, he encouraged it.

We were no longer "innocent." We now knew that a pregnancy did not a baby make. And it was a lousy feeling. I resented the fact that I would now be a worry wart with any future pregnancies. And what about the baby we had lost? We (at least I) needed to grieve for this loss.

Again I went to the library and checked out some books on miscarriage and pregnancy loss. They helped a little, but I wish I could have spoken to someone who had actually gone through it like I did.

Then I began playing mind games with myself. "If I got pregnant again right away, maybe it would be like the miscarriage never really happened." Unfortunately that's when it happened, and we DID get pregnant again, very soon thereafter.

The books I'd been reading all said that if you made it to 12 weeks, you were pretty much home free. (I seriously wonder if those books are still out there, because most of us know that that's not true!)

By the second week in March, I was pregnant, but not taking it for granted. I decided that the miscarriage was just a of those things that just happens, and I was no longer going to let it get me down.

I tried to take things easy, but sometimes I forgot I was pregnant and would still do all kinds of things. Fortunately Ted would catch me carrying heavy grocery bags or things like that. He was so great.

Once again, we didn't tell anyone, because we didn't want to upset Shannon and we wanted to make sure it was a viable pregnancy.

I was feeling pretty good...virtually no morning sickness or nausea. Things were going along so smoothly. This was going to be a very easy pregnancy, I was sure of it! And the nurse at the doctor's office gave me an approximate due date of early December.

Wow...we'd still have a baby at Christmas!

Parenthood, Part Six

Although I was still coming to terms with the miscarriage, I was cautiously optimistic with this second pregnancy. We were getting more and more excited as each day went by.

"If only I can get to that magic 12 week mark, we'll be set!" I kept thinking to myself. Once we got to 9 weeks, it was as though we had the goal in sight.

One Friday evening that spring, we went to a local golf course with another couple. No, we don't golf. (Anyone who knows me personally can attest to the fact that golfing would be the LAST thing I would be able to do!)

Dan worked with Ted, and also played guitar. He's a fantastic guitar player and has played with several local bands over the years. On this particular evening, his band was going to be playing at the clubhouse of the golf course and we went along to keep his wife company and to hear the band play.

It was a nice, cool, spring evening and we were having a great time. Of course no one else knew that I was pregnant, so the only baby talk was in reference to Dan and Chris' little boy. He was adorable. He sat on his mom's lap, watching his dad play.

At one point a little girl got up and went to the middle of the floor and began dancing. She must have been 2 years old. She was darling! I kept staring at her, thinking that if our baby was a girl, this is what she might look like in a few years. She had baby blue eyes that sparkled, and a great big smile. She had thick brown hair with bangs, that was absolutely perfect. She was a little chunky and could somehow feel the beat of the music. She was dancing in perfect rhythm to the songs. She was dressed in jeans and a short sleeve pink shirt.

I kept staring at her, thinking about how easily this little girl could be ours....we both have blue eyes, we both have brown hair, we both have fairly nice smiles, and we both are *ahem* a little (okay, maybe a LOT) on the chunky side. We both understand music and can certainly keep a beat.

This is what our little girl will look like when she's two years old!

I just couldn't take my eyes off of her. Her dad was in the clubhouse, but her mother was watching her closely and smiling the entire time we were there.

After we got home that night, I just couldn't get that little girl out of my mind. That's when I more or less figured out that I was carrying a girl. Okay, I know you really can't tell, but I just had this STRONG feeling.

I told Ted about all of this, and he agreed with me. (He's such an easy going guy!) We were both starting to feel really good about this baby.

We still kept the positive thoughts a few days later, when the spotting began. I called the doctor's office and he wanted to see me. He examined me and thought that things looked okay. He said that he was confident that the spotting had stopped and to call him if things changed.

I was scheduled to sub the next couple of days, and that was probably a good thing. It kept my mind occupied. However, the spotting started again and was pretty heavy within two days. My doctor scheduled an ultrasound for me, at a nearby x-ray lab. I got up really early one morning and began drinking and drinking and DRINKING. Back then I didn't drink very much water, so I was drinking Hawaiian Punch, of all things. My appointment was first thing, so I had to be there by 8:00. By this point, the heavy spotting was more like full force gushing and I knew in my heart that it was all over.

I had the ultrasound and my doctor's office called the next morning to tell me that there was nothing there. Nothing. At. All.

We were no longer expecting a baby by Christmas.

Parenthood, Part Seven

Since the second miscarriage occurred at just a couple of days past 10 weeks, my doctor felt that a D&C was not necessary. He met with me a few weeks later and checked me out, and said that (once again) these things happen and it doesn't mean that we wouldn't be able to have a baby. He said that we shouldn't panic, but that we should just relax.

(Oh, my many times have we heard THAT??)

Two miscarriages.


I again went to the library and checked out some books. I read them over and over, copying down certain information. This was back before people had computers in their homes and NO ONE had a copy machine or a printer that would copy! I could take the books back to the library and make copies there at 10 cents a page, but I just felt better writing it all down.

Hey, I was two thirds of the way to becoming a "habitual aborter!" Gee, now THERE'S something to write home about. That's the designation you get after three unexplained miscarriages. Honestly, could they have come up with a worse term?

This is where things got tricky. I was really struggling with my emotions. Why did so many other women get pregnant and deliver babies? It just wasn't fair. There were high school girls out there having babies that they really didn't plan for and I couldn't have a baby that we desperately wanted. What was up with that???

Again, Ted didn't feel the need to talk about the losses, but I did. It was so hard. My good friend Shannon still knew nothing about our issues, so I couldn't talk to her about what was going on. Besides, every few months, someone she knew was getting pregnant and I was the one that she felt she could talk to about her feelings. On the outside she was very happy for these women, but on the inside she was crushed that it wasn't her. I understood more than she ever knew, but wanted her to be able to feel as though she hadn't been abandoned by me. So I said nothing.

We purposely did not try to conceive throughout the summer. Not only were we trying to let my body heal, but my emotions needed to heal too. It was a rough time.

Something else happened to add insult to injury. Somewhere in the rural part of our county a farmer on a tractor discovered a garbage bag tossed into a corn field. When he opened the bag, he found a dead infant, wrapped in a blanket. After an investigation, it was determined that a teenage girl had kept her pregnancy a secret and after giving birth, disposed of the body in this black garbage bag. Other details are a little sketchy in my mind, as this happened back in the mid 1980s, BUT I was so upset.

The investigation revealed who the girl was, who gave birth to the child, and determined that the baby boy had been born alive. HOW COULD SHE HAVE THROWN AWAY HER CHILD????

I was sad for the baby that never got to grow up and become a child.

I was mad at the teenage girl for having made a STUPID decision.

If only she had spoken to an adult she trusted. The baby could have been put up for adoption and grown up in a home with parents who loved him.

This just wasn't fair. Here she was, having a baby she didn't want, and here we were, wanting a baby, but not able to have one.


We got through the summer and once September rolled around, we were ready to begin this journey again.

Parenthood, Part Eight

By the end of September, I knew, without a doubt, that I was once again pregnant.

Talk about conflicting emotions! We were both going through them! We were very excited to be pregnant again, but we were not naive. It was going to be a scary ride, and one that we were not sure we could handle if it didn't go "our" way.

Other than Ted and I, the only other person who knew of our issues (besides my doctor, of course) was my mom. She was an RN at our local hospital and I would ask her questions. Throughout her years as a nurse, she had worked in every department...EXCEPT obstetrics. Just my luck. Even though the OB department deals with newborns and their mothers, there is an occasional horrible situation and information as to why or how things happened comes to light.

At this point, any information she could give me could quite possibly be helpful. But she never worked in OB, so I was out of luck. I would occasionally ask Shannon some technical questions, but her situation was different than mine, in that she could not get pregnant, and I was turning into a "Fertile Myrtle" but just not able to stay pregnant. I didn't want to arouse any suspicion, so I kept my questions to a minimum.

So here we were...pregnant for the third time, hoping and praying that this one would "stick" and we could become parents.

Each day that I was pregnant was a gift. And with each passing day, our confidence levels grew by just a hair.

We got through October with our fingers crossed and all was well. Whew. Maybe we could get through another week. That magical 12 weeks threshhold was in mid December. Could we make it? Maybe....maybe not. But I didn't want to think that far ahead. We were really only thinking one day at a time. That was it.

In November my doctor prescribed natural progesterone for me, so that I could create a wonderful, hormone enriched environment for what was growing inside of me (can you tell I was almost in denial?) So twice a day I inserted progesterone inside of me, then laid down for an hour so that as it melted, it wouldn't leak out. It must have worked because we got through the entire month with no spotting. Come on... I don't like being teased. Could we possibly make it to 12 weeks? Maybe so....but that was too far away.

One day at a time.

Suddenly we were approaching the middle of December. A year earlier I was pregnant for the first time and things went into a downward spiral quickly and pretty much ruined our Christmas. But this year? Things were looking....okay.

I had no morning sickness, but would have welcomed it with open arms if it showed up.

No spotting, and we were almost to 12 weeks.

Of course I had an appointment in early January with my doctor. Was it too early to actually think about being able to really GO to that appointment?? After that appointment we were going to tell people that we were expecting a baby in late June.

On Friday, December 13 (can you believe it??) I would be 12 weeks and maybe, just maybe, we could breathe a sigh of relief.

I woke up that morning feeling just fine and dandy, and decided that it would be okay if I finally admitted to myself that I was pregnant.


Parenthood, Part Nine

It's been a long time since I posted about our Parenthood Journey. If you've totally forgotten where I left off, you can find the last chapter here.


We had reached the critical 12 week mark of our third pregnancy...and it happened to be Friday, the 13th of December. This was quite a day, and I was finally going to admit to myself that this could really work out.

The day was great, and I was so excited. I knew that reaching the 12 week point did not guarantee a baby, but it sure increased the odds, and that was what I was thrilled about. Things were definitely looking up and we were finally about to exhale that breath we had been holding in for weeks.

For the first time in a long time I was going to sleep well that night.

Yeah, right.

I woke up in the middle of the night with nasty stomach pains. It was some kind of a gastrointestinal bug. I just kept rubbing my stomach, trying to sleep, but that wasn't happening. I put the waste basket next to the bed in case I needed it.

(I rarely throw up. Prior to the night I went to the hospital with severe pains and ended up being diagnosed with colon cancer, I had thrown up maybe five times in my entire life.)

Eventually (like about four hours later) I began to feel a little better, and was able to get some rest. However I was a little worried about the effect this had had on the little one growing inside of me. I didn't want to become dehydrated, but the idea of drinking water or anything for that matter, wasn't appealing in the least. I wasn't interested in eating anything either and didn't want to tempt the fates.

By that night I was able to sip some water and eat a few crackers. Then I gave in and called my mom. I wanted to talk to her as an R.N. and not as a mother at that point, because we still didn't want anyone to know that we were pregnant. I decided that I had to tell her so that she could tell me what, if anything, I should do. She assured me that I was doing the right thing by trying to eat and drink a little. I had a feeling that was all I could be doing, but I just needed the reassurance.

I felt a little better by Sunday evening and was starting to relax once again.

And then it happened.

I started spotting. Again. I felt the world coming down on me.

Parenthood, Part Ten

I knew I would have to call my doctor in the morning, and until then, there wasn't much I could do. I wasn't spotting very much, but definitely enough to make me worry.

Somehow I was able to get a little rest that night, and Ted had to go to work in the morning. I told him I would let him know what was going on as soon as I knew something.

Finally 9:00 came and the doctor's office opened. I called.

Darn it.

My OB was out of the country. It was a little over a week before Christmas and he was OUT OF THE COUNTRY! The office gave me the number of the OB who was covering for him. There were only about three OBs in our area at that time, so I guess I was just lucky that all three hadn't decided to go on vacation for the holidays.

By this time the spotting was quickly turning into bleeding and I was starting to really panic. I called the other office and the woman I spoke to just drove me crazy. After I explained the situation, she said, "Well, we'll need you to come some time today so that we can make sure everything is okay."

I knew darn well that things were NOT okay and I wanted to be seen ASAP.

I nicely told her that and she told me to come in at 1:00, the doctor's first appointment of the day. Back then the doctors spent the entire mornings doing rounds at the hospital and didn't see patients until after lunch.

My mom called and wanted to know how I was. I told her what was going on and she said that she would be available if I needed her for anything. It was her day off from the hospital and I didn't want to impose on her unless it was absolutely necessary.

I was able to get in touch with Ted (remember, this was before cell phones) and he said he'd call back later on to see how things were going.

I began bleeding more and more. By the time I got to the doctor's office I was a mess both physically and emotionally. I told the receptionist that when I checked in. Do you think they'd have a little sympathy for me???


I sat there in the waiting room until almost 3:00, TWO FREAKING HOURS, before being called back to a room. I told the nurse that I had a real mess on my hands and would need to use the restroom. She told me that they needed a urine sample to do a pregnancy test. I told her that wasn't necessary because I knew that I was no longer pregnant.

She insisted.


That was a messy sample. That's all I'll say about that.

Thank goodness they gave me some towels to sit on in the examining room. Eventually the doctor came in. He was NOT pleasant. He actually yelled at me because I had shown up alone. He said that I needed a D&C right away and I should have brought someone with me to drive me to and from the hospital. I told him that it was a week and a half before Christmas and I wasn't going to tie up someone's day while I waited in his waiting room for TWO HOURS.

I was not happy.

In fact I was mad, hurt, angry, and every other negative word you can come up with.

He told me to go home, get someone to bring me back to his office to sign some papers, then take me to the hospital. I went home. I couldn't get in touch with Ted, but I was able to get my mom. I really hated having to call her to help me out, but I didn't have a choice.

She came to my house, picked me up, then took me back to the OB's office. I signed the paperwork and was told to get to the hospital right away because the doctor would be over soon for the D&C.

Fortunately things went smoothly as I checked in at the hospital. When I changed into a gown, I was so glad to be rid of the messy clothes I had on. I told my mom to throw them away. I'll never forget what I had on...heather gray pants and a light pink sweater. I didn't ever want to see those clothes again.

I was on a gurney outside of surgery and the nurse told me that we were waiting on the doctor. After another half hour of waiting, she called his office. He had a couple more patients to see and then he'd be over.

Sure, no problem. I was just lying there losing the baby we wanted so badly, the baby we had been praying for, and he was taking his good old time.

When he got there, he never said a word to me and just did what he needed to do. My anesthesiologist was wonderful, though, and he made me feel better by talking to me. In the meantime, apparently Ted had gotten home from work, read the short note I left for him, then called my folks' house. My mom wasn't there, as she was at the hospital with me. But my dad was home from work. Ted explained the situation to him. He'd had no idea I was pregnant, which was how we had wanted it. However, my mom had thought she would be home by the time Dad had gotten home, so she left a note for him, just saying that she had to go out for a little while. After that phone call, my mom was able to call Ted and tell him what was going on.

Honestly, cell phones sure are a handy thing these days!

Anyway, Ted came to the hospital just as I was being released. He'd brought some clothes for me to change into, and he was able to take me home. I felt so bad that I had made my mom go to the hospital on her day off, but I really didn't have another choice.

A mere 24 hours before, we were so excited about the possibility of a baby...and now it was all over.

So over.

Parenthood, Part Eleven

After we got home from the hospital, I can remember sitting in the bedroom with Ted, talking. I told him that I was actually a little relieved that this was all over. Even though it hadn't been very long, I was tired of the cramping and the bleeding. He was in a different place than I was. He'd had no physical symptoms of pregnancy or miscarriage. I had. Therefore, I could put some closure to it because I was no longer suffering physically. As far as suffering mentally, that was an entirely different thing.

Christmas was a dismal day for me. We were going to spend the day at an aunt and uncle's about an hour away. All I wanted to do was sleep that morning. Ted kept trying to get me up so that we could open our gifts. I didn't care. I wasn't interested. He was doing his best to make me feel better, but it just wasn't working. I felt as though I was just starting a downward spiral and there was no way out. I tried to shake myself out of it, but that wasn't working.

So, two Christmases in a row were marred by miscarriages. Would the holidays ever be the same? On New Year's Eve that year we went out to dinner with my parents. I recall that I had on a white blouse with a bow at the neck and a beautiful shade of blue boucle vest. (Before you start laughing, remember that this was the mid 80s!) During dinner I had very little to say. I just wasn't in the mood to talk. I was thinking about how I just couldn't seem to do anything right. Then I spilled a drop of food on the bow of my blouse. I went to the restroom to try to clean it and ended up in tears. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. Would I ever be able to do anything right again?

After another week or two I was starting to "come back." Nothing in particular triggered it, but I was just glad that I was no longer wallowing in self-pity.

Once again I spent some time at our local library, trying to find out as much as I could about miscarriages. I was now a habitual aborter, a lovely title given to those women who suffered three or more miscarriages without a live birth. Oh what joy.

When I visited my own OB a few weeks later, he examined me and I bombarded him with questions. He sort of smiled as I asked him things. At one point he even laughed. That's when I said, "Well, we're obviously beyond you now. I want you to recommend a high risk OB for us."

He did and I went home, called that doctor's office and made an appointment. The only bad thing was that his office was in Columbus, almost 2 hours away. We would be seeing him quite often if things worked out, and that was going to involve a lot of driving back and forth. But if it worked, it was going to be worth it.

We went to the appointment. The office was in a hospital in a rather crappy part of Columbus. Of course they were running behind. There's a big shock. The doctor himself was....alright. Nothing great, but okay. He immediately started talking to us as though we couldn't get pregnant. THAT was not our problem. Our problem was STAYING pregnant. He had us watch a video about getting pregnant (a waste of our time) and then handed us a packet of information. He told us to make an appointment to come back for some testing.

We went to the desk and the woman had my head spinning with all the information. I finally told her that I was not ready for all this and would call when I was.

As we left, I told Ted, "Take a good look around, because we're not coming back." I was definitely NOT impressed. He wasn't either.

On the way home, I was reading the information he had given us. Our insurance was not going to cover any of this, so I was really scrutinizing everything. I could NOT believe that they were going to charge us $900 to see if bull sperm could impregnate the eggs that they were going to take out of me!?!?! Why on earth do we need to know if my eggs and bull sperm could work together???

That's when we decided to take a break from all the baby stuff.

We needed to just back off for a little while, relax, and enjoy each other.

There have been times in my life that I have drifted away from being a faithful church goer. Throughout the baby journey, I had been attending mass each and every week. At the time Ted was not Catholic, but he would occasionally go with me. Usually I went on Saturday evenings, but once in a while I would attend on Sunday mornings.

After the D&C, I began going to church a little earlier so that I could have my conversations with God. I can be quite a talker, and even though I was talking "in my head" while kneeling there, these were some pretty intense chats. Praying is something I have done, and still do, quite often. And although I know my prayers are heard no matter where I am, I somehow got this feeling during these challenging times, that when I prayed while in church, I had a little more of a direct line, if you know what I mean.

Ted and I were still not on the same page when it came to dealing with the miscarriages. I wanted to talk about them. He didn't. My friend Shannon still had no idea what was going on. If I couldn't tell her, I couldn't tell any other friends, so when we spent time with any friends, they had no idea what we were going through.

I wasn't sure how much more of this I could handle.

Parenthood, Part Twelve

After a few months of resting my body, and relaxing with my husband, we finally decided that we were ready to explore our options. Returning to my original OB was not one. Nor was seeing the OB who covered for him while he was out of the country.

That left the only other OB in the area, Dr. D.

I made an appointment.

He was running on time. Point for Dr. D.

His nurse came into the room first to talk to me. She read over the form I had filled out and talked to me. She looked me in the eye and took notes on what I said. She put her hand on my arm and told me how sorry she was for our losses. Another point for Dr. D. He obviously knew how to hire a good nurse.

She left and he came in within a minute. Yet another point for Dr. D....very little down time.

He studied what his nurse had written in the chart, then put it down, sat down and began to talk to me. Like the nurse, he looked me in the eye while he spoke. We talked about miscarriages in general, then mine in particular. I had been keeping a temperature chart and he studied that and pointed out different things he noticed about it. Point again for Dr. D. He treated me like a person, and not just any old patient. Then he said that he wanted to examine me, so he would leave the room while I undressed.

After the exam, he mentioned karyotyping, a genetic blood test to see if there was anything incompatible between Ted and me. He really didn't think it was going to be an issue, but thought that we should rule out the incompatibility. He thought it was rather expensive, but would check on it. He asked me to get dressed and meet him in his office. This man was really racking up the points.

By the time I got in there, he had found out not only how much it cost ($40), but also that we could have it done at our local hospital. Point again for being on the ball and getting information for me in a timely manner.

Then he looked me in the eye and said he was going to be honest. He said that he felt he would be able to help us carry a baby to term, but the only way we could do that was to get pregnant again. He understood completely if we were reluctant to do so, but whenever we felt ready, he would be ready to help us, and I was to let him know the exact minute that I thought I was pregnant. He said that I had a luteal phase defect. I asked him to put that in layman's terms. He said that until the 12th week or so, the uterus provided all the progesterone for the embryo. After that, the placenta took over. Apparently MY uterus was not providing any progesterone and I was essentially starving the embryos, and then miscarrying.


A diagnosis.

Someone who could help.

When I left the office, I felt absolutely WONDERFUL!

He had given us hope.

Parenthood, Part Thirteen

We decided to have the karyotyping done. Fortunately it showed that everything was fine. There were no genetic incompatibility issues with us. Then Ted had to be checked. We found out that things with him were just fine too. The only problem was my luteal phase defect and Dr. D felt that he could treat it successfully once I was pregnant.

Around that same time we also decided that we owed it to ourselves to check out adoption options in our area. We met with a nun from Catholic Social Services and were put on a pre-waiting list. Once we moved to the bottom of the actual waiting list, all the paperwork, home visits, interviews, and home study would begin. Oh yeah, and it would be a 5-7 year wait for a newborn. And a newborn was a baby under a year of age. Not exactly what we were hoping to hear, but at least we felt as though we had a "Plan B" in the works if "Plan A" didn't work out.

I was still going to church extra early every weekend. I would pray about all kinds of things before mass, but always ended with praying for some kind of a sign that I would get pregnant and have a healthy baby.

Then I noticed something.

Each week while I was praying before mass, a different family would come into church and sit near me. Sometimes it was in the same pew. Sometimes they would sit in the pew in front of me, and sometimes in the pew behind me. But a family with a baby would always sit near me. It's not as though the church was crowded on Saturday evenings. There was plenty of room all around, but a family with a baby would always sit close by.

Finally one week it dawned on me. THIS WAS THE SIGN I'D BEEN LOOKING AND PRAYING FOR! I actually said to God, "Duh...this is the sign, isn't it?" And then a family walked in, genuflected and sat down in front of me. A family...with a baby.

I practically smacked my head with my hand right then and there and thought to myself, "You DUNCE! The sign's been right here all the time and you just now picked up on it!"

I could barely sit through mass before getting home to tell Ted. He was as excited as I was about all of this, but we still knew we had to be ready emotionally if things didn't work out.

After more talking and praying, we decided that we would give it one more try.

Memorial Day 2007

I always turn a little melancholy on Memorial Day. I think about all of the men and women who lost their lives to keep our freedom. I think about the families of those who lost their lives and will never see their loved one again. Sure, the barbecues and family get-togethers are nice...and so are the days just spent laying around, doing nothing, but I feel it's important to also remember those who made the biggest sacrifice of all. Today we'll probably go to the cemetery, just down the road, and see the Parade of Flags that is always put up for Memorial Day. We'll also visit my father-law's grave (a Marine Corp veteran) and other graves of those we know.

Maybe I'm a little goofy, but I've always enjoyed going through the cemetery. Both of our sons started their quest to learn to drive at the cemetery, and I discovered that it reminds you of a lot of people, when you see their headstone...people you may have forgotten about. Of course there are also the people that you haven't forgotten about, and you just want to pay your respects to them. I know that can be done by just thinking about them, but I'm a "visual" person, and prefer to actually be at the site.

Yes, definitely a melancholy day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cindi and Ted, A Love Story

Cindi and Ted, Chapter One

Although I had dated several different guys throughout high school, the first "semi-serious" guy entered my life in mid May of my senior year. We dated all summer, then through our first year of college. Unfortunately we went to different universities, and that took its toll on our relationship. We broke up as our freshman year ended. It was a difficult time for an 18 year old female, thinking that this might have been "the" one, however it was clear that our time together had run its course and it would be in both of our best interests to move on.

After several weeks of not dating anyone, I was finally ready to put myself "out there" again. I happened to be at our city park (which is absolutely phenomenal for families, kids, and teens) and ran into a guy I had known from high school. Although he was a few years younger than me, we'd been in band together, so I'd known him for a long time.

We talked for a while, updating each other on our lives, as we hadn't seen one another for over a year. I told him that I was "on the market" again and asked him in a joking fashion, who I could go out with.

He commented that a buddy of his had just gotten tickets for a concert and might need a date. I thought to myself....well, I've never been to a concert, so it might be fun. I asked who the guy was, and he told me it was Ted. I had to think for a minute, then said that I remembered him from school. I described him and Jim said that I was thinking of the right guy. I thought...this really could be fun.

I was in band in high school and during my sophomore year, we were invited to play in the Astro Blue Bonnet Bowl (it no longer exists), a football bowl game played in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. It took an immense amount of planning to get this one pulled off, but our directors undertook the challenge and made it happen! We were in Houston from December 26 until December 30 and it was obvious that the directors and band parents wanted us to not only work hard, but give us an experience we would never forget. And they did!

We stayed in a motel that was divided into buildings. Our band, the directors, and the parents who came along all took up an entire building, so we were more or less by ourselves. Until the game on December 29, we had just about every second accounted for. After the game and we got back to the motel, we finally had some free time. Oh yeah, and starting the morning of the game, a type of intestinal flu started going around the band.

THAT was just so much fun...I was the only one in my room who didn't get sick, thank goodness.

Since none of us had access to a car, we all just hung around the motel halls. There weren't all that many of us who were even able to get out of bed by that point, so it wasn't too crowded. I recall us "well" ones gathering in a certain hallway to talk. We were sitting on the floor, just having a good time.

And I recall Ted sitting in the doorway of a room, leaning back on the closed door. Yes, Ted was in band too. (He quit band after that year though.) I remember him being very quiet and shy. He hardly said a word, but would laugh quietly when something funny was said. I liked his laugh and his smile, and his eyes were really pretty.

Fast forward three and a half years....Ted was the guy with the concert tickets!

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Two

So Ted was the guy with the concert tickets...hmmmm....I was trying to remember everything I could about him, which wasn't a whole lot. But I did recall his smile and his eyes. As I was thinking about this momentarily, Jim mentioned that the concert was on July 22.

Hey! That's my birthday!

"Sure Jim, I'll sounds like fun!"

Now in the back of my mind, I was wondering if this would ever actually happen, since things like this absolutely NEVER go my way, but thought that I had nothing to lose.

A couple of weeks later I called Jim to see if it was still a "go" and he said that it was and that Ted would pick me up around 5:00 the evening of the concert.

I had mentioned this to my folks in passing when it first happened, then in typical teenager fashion (I was about to turn 19), I didn't mention it again, because if I had mentioned it, there was a chance that they would say that I couldn't go. And I wasn't going to put myself in that situation.

My dad was on the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and as any child of someone in law enforcement can attest to, there is a different set of rules for us. We're usually brought up in a little stricter environment, because our parents have actually seen what could happen to young people. While I definitely appreciate that NOW, back then I wasn't quite so crazy about it.

So on July 22 that year, I came home from my summer job, took a bath, got all ready to go on this date, then knew that I had to face the music. I went out into the kitchen where my mom was fixing dinner and of course she asked why I was so dressed up. I reminded her that I had a date. I will give her credit... although I could tell that she wasn't real happy, she didn't say a word. I told her who I was going out with and where I was going, then went to my bedroom to brush my hair. Again.

When Ted came to the door, my mom answered and let him in. He sat down in a chair, and within a minute or so my dad came home from work. I guess it can be a little intimidating to pick up your date for the first time and her dad comes in wearing his uniform and gun. I thought it was a good sign that that didn't scare him off. Right after that I came out of my bedroom. (We lived in a ranch house, and since I'd had my bedroom door open, I was able to sort of see what was going on in the living room. The Merv Griffin Show was on TV, and Wayne Newton was his guest. For readers of this blog, you already know how I feel about Wayne, but for those of you who don't know, I love him!

Ted and I said hello to each other, then we left, after hearing the "Be careful!" from both of my parents.

I knew that Ted had gotten four tickets for this concert, so Jim was in the car too and we were off to pick up his date.

The four of us talked on the way to the concert which was a little over an hour away. We had a good time on the trip there. After we arrived and parked, we went in and found our seats. We were seeing "Climax Blues Band" and "Bad Company" and I was looking forward to it.

This was the first concert I had ever been to, so it was also rather amusing.

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Three

Being that this was my first concert AND the fact that I was pretty naive (I still am!), I was in awe of the whole atmosphere. The venue was huge and we walked around a little, then found our way to our seats.

There were some people milling around with bright yellow "STAFF" t-shirts on and I had no idea what they were doing or who they were. I asked Ted and he patiently told me that they were people who were showing some people to their seats and making sure that no one went where they weren't supposed to other words, they were security.

As the time for the start of the concert drew near, I could faintly smell something in the air. I casually mentioned that it smelled like burnt pork chops. This was NOT Ted's first concert, so in my opinion he was the resident expert. He quietly mumbled something.

I said, "What?"

He once again mumbled something, but a little louder this time.

Again, I said, "What??"

Then I heard him clearly...."it's pot."

My eyes must have bugged out of my head because he chuckled just a little.

Okay, so for the first time I smelled pot. We still laugh about that.

The concert began and it was great. Although I didn't know many of the songs, I really enjoyed seeing the bands play LIVE. We had a great time.

All too soon it was time to head home. Not too long after we got on the interstate, Jim and his date were asleep in the backseat. Ted and I just talked for the next hour and 10 minutes until we dropped off Jim's date, then Jim.

I really had a good time...the concert was fun, and Ted was a very nice, polite, and kind person. I was sooooooooooo hoping that he would ask me out again.

When we got to my house around 1 am, he walked me to the door and asked if he could see me again...WOW! I was thrilled! But of course I couldn't lay all my cards out on the table, so I simply said, "Sure, that would be great."

And for the most part, that ended our first date.

After I went inside and got into bed, I couldn't fall asleep. I was going through the entire evening in my mind, minute by minute, step by step.

Yep, it was a nice night, and hopefully there would be more nice evenings to come.

Little did I know...

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Four

Ted called me the very next evening. Little did he know at the time that he was committing a HUGE blunder.

My dad does NOT like the phone ringing during dinner. Now come on…how in the world would people know exactly when we are eating dinner??? To him, though, that’s irrelevant. You just do NOT interrupt my dad during dinner.

Ted and I hadn’t mentioned that during our first date, so how would he know that he was calling while we were having DINNER?????

Whenever the phone would happen to ring while we were eating, we always sort of glanced at dad out of the corner of our eye, just to see how he would take it. His usual response was “I’m not here” and then he’d absolutely ignore the continual ringing. Nowadays, the answering machine kicks on after the fourth ring, but back then we didn’t have a machine and the phone would ring…and ring…and ring…and ring…continually.

So when the phone rang this particular time, my dad responded with “I’m not here” and my mom jumped up to answer it so it wouldn’t interrupt my dad any longer than necessary. Then she looked at me and nodded. I ran to my bedroom to pick up the phone so she could sit back down.

It was Ted. He told me that he had just gotten a new car that day and asked if I would go for a ride with him. I told him that I would love to go, but not to pick me up until around 7:00.

When I returned to the table, of course I was asked who had called and I told everyone that I would be going for a ride with Ted later on. I could hardly contain my excitement, but knew that this was NOT the time to start gushing.

After dinner, I cleared off the table and rinsed the dishes. I went to take a bath and get ready, knowing that my mom would be washing the dishes, but I would still need to dry them before I left. Yep, I had “chores” and the only way to get out of them was…well, there really wasn’t a way!

Ted picked me up in this shiny, red car and was such a gentleman. As we walked to the car, he opened the door for me (he had also done that the night before when we went to the concert) and off we went.

We spent at least four hours just driving around on that summer night, talking and getting to know one another. And yes, I did mention the “no phone call” time, hahaha!

Over the next several months I learned about his family, he learned about mine. I found out about his friends, he found out about mine. We shared our thoughts on current events and dreams for the future.

We had a wonderful time during those months, including the first time he took me to his parents’ house…

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Five

It's been a while since I've written a chapter in "our" story, so a brief review may be in order.

Ted and I knew who each other was (is that proper grammar? or should it be "were?" whatever...) in high school.

However, we didn't get together until a friend we have in common, Jim, arranged a date for us. We went to a concert with Jim and his date and had a great time. Then we started seeing each other pretty often, getting to know one another.

This is Jim with his young son Justin, taken in the mid '80s.

This is Jim with his young son Justin, taken in the mid '80s.

Check out that great smile of Jim's...and his son is just a DOLL! Jim just happens to be Ron's younger brother. Readers of this blog may remember that Ron and his wife Nora live in Texas, but were here in Ohio in July for his and Ted's class reunion.

Ron and Ted have been great friends since elementary school, and even though Ron moved to Texas, have stayed in touch over the years. Jim moved to Texas first, followed by Ron soon thereafter. They felt that there were more opportunities for them there.

So back to our story....

Ted had told me all about his family, but I hadn't met any of them. About a month into our "dating" we had gone out to a band show in a nearby community. I was still interested in seeing marching bands in action and since I was getting a little older, really enjoyed watching them as opposed to marching in them!

After the band show, he calmly suggested we stop by his brother's house.

OH MAN. I quickly tried to pull up everything I could remember about his brother, from my memory bank. Let's see...he was 5 years older than Ted, married to an italian woman, had a 1 year old daughter, and worked for our local newspaper in the pressroom.

I was getting more and more nervous as we were getting nearer to their house. We pulled up, and there was an additional car in the driveway. "That's my mom's car," Ted said. WHAT?!?! I'm going to meet his MOTHER too??? This might be too much for me. I took a deep breath, and decided that it would be fine...really....well, maybe...then that old adage, "you can only make ONE first impression" ran through my mind.

We went up to the door and walked in. Ted introduced me to his brother, sister-in-law, niece, and.....HIS SISTER! Whew! His sister was using his mom's car and she had stopped by. What a relief!

I sat down and Holly, his niece, was playing near my feet. What a sweetheart! She was absolutely adorable, with a headful of dark blonde curls. She smiled a lot and was so playful. She was as pleasant as could be, and she even let me hold her for a while.

We all talked for a while and I tried my best to listen more than I talked because I didn't want to come across as someone who just yakked all the time (okay, those of you who know me in real life can quit laughing now!). I really enjoyed getting to know these people that were so important to Ted. After an hour or so, Ted said that we needed to get going. When we got out to the car, he immediately wanted to know what I thought of his family. I thought they were great! They were so easy to talk to and it was obvious that they all had good values and morals.

But the REAL question was....what did they think of ME???

I couldn't wait for the feedback on that, but would have to be patient. Ted wouldn't find anything out until after he and his sister were both home and they had a chance to talk. Then he wouldn't be able to tell me anything until the next night.

So the next night when he picked me up, I was a little nervous. We got in the car, and the first thing he said was, "They like you...they really like relax."

Wow, I felt like a gigantic weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

HOWEVER, a bigger challenge lay ahead a week later. On Labor Day he came and picked me up and took me back to his house for a cookout with the family. I would be meeting THE MOTHER, THE FATHER, AND THE GRANDMOTHER.

It took me about an hour to decide what to wear. Afterall, it had to be perfect. I was the FIRST girl Ted had ever brought home to meet his folks. Oh gee, talk about pressure. What I didn't know until later was that until that day he'd kept me a secret from his folks and had told his sister and brother not to say anything about me.

As it turned out, I really enjoyed his parents, and they seemed to like me too. After we ate, his dad got out the slide projector, screen, and slides. I didn't know that his dad was really into taking slides. His parents had also gone on our band trip to Houston, and had taken a bunch of slides while there. We were looking to see if I showed up in any of them. We also saw slides of his parents' trip to Hawaii.

By the time we left so he could take me home, I felt as though I had passed yet another major seemed as though the parents liked me, WHEW!!!

Then time started to fly by....

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Six

Before you knew it, I was beginning my second year in college and Ted was going to continue to work for his dad on the family seed corn farm. I was very fortunate that I was attending a local college branch and would be living at home. Although a lot of my time was going to be taken up with going to classes and studying, however, there would definitely be time left for Ted!

We settled into a routine of seeing each other on the weekends and once in a while during the week. I had some classes in the evenings, so we needed to work around that. On the nights that we didn't see each other, we would talk on the phone after I got home from class.

We seemed to go to a lot of movies back fact, the first movie we went to see was the original "Star Wars" movie less than two weeks after our first date. I didn't understand it then, and I certainly don't understand it now! I'm not a science fiction buff by any means, so most of it went right over my head!

Other than movies, we would either watch TV at his house or my house...spend some time with some friends, go out for dinner...things like that. Just typical date things. As long as we were together, we were happy.

Not too long after I first met his brother Tim, he decided to leave his job in the newspaper press room and begin working on the family seed corn farm. Ted would spend the day working with his brother, so that was nice for the two of them and for their dad.

Throughout that first fall and into the winter we would spend Sundays at Ted's parents' house. In a rather small TV room six adults would watch the Cleveland Browns football games. It was Ted and me, Tim, Patty, and Holly, and Peg and her boyfriend Mac. Ted's parents would usually stop in and say hi, then go on about their business. There just wasn't enough space in that room for anymore people, and they didn't have an TV in the bigger living room. Fortunately Holly was under the age of two and usually took naps during the games. We really got loud though, always rooting our beloved Browns on!

That November, Ted's sister Peg came home from a date with her boyfriend Mac, and showed off an engagement ring! There was now going to be a wedding in the family and something to look forward to. They wanted to get married the following June, so there were plans to make. Although I wasn't in the family at that point, I still got to hear about the plans and that was exciting. Peg even asked me if I would either be in charge of the guest book at the wedding or pass out the programs. Time has played its tricks on me and I can't seem to remember which one anymore!

Things went smoothly for us as our relationship made it through the first holiday season, the first winter, the first spring, and then Peg's wedding in June. By the time our one year anniversary came around we pretty much knew that it was "real" and we were in this for the long haul!

However, a challenge awaited us....

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Seven

After we had dated for a little over a year, we needed to prepare for a challenge.

I would be leaving home and going to the main campus of the college branch I attended. Even though it was a little over an hour away, we would be apart.

On one hand, I looked forward to the experience of being away from home and having to be responsible for myself. On the other hand, I was really going to miss Ted a LOT!

We'd spent so much time together that it was going to be very difficult to be apart. However, I knew that we would be able to get through it...somehow.

Although I was going to be going through a big change (a new place to live, new classes, being more responsible for things, just having to grow up, being without Ted on a daily basis), Ted's life was going to change in only one way: I was not going to be right there and he would have to get along without me for a while.

We knew we weren't going to break up. That just wasn't an option. We were way too in love to even consider that. We were going to try our best to stay in contact as much as possible.

Keep in mind that this was L O N G before cell phones and computers. Long distance phone calls were expensive, so we couldn't just call each other at the drop of a hat. We couldn't text each other. We couldn't send email back and forth several times a day. And we certainly couldn't meet on any type of messenger service online.

Nope, we were going to have to rely on writing letters and an occasional phone call! And that's what we did. There was a big blue mailbox one building away from the apartment I shared with a couple other girls. The mail pick up time was posted as 5:00 pm. And I took that to MEAN 5:00 pm. Not 4:59, and not 5:02, but FIVE O'CLOCK P.M.

That means that I had to have my letter to Ted IN THAT BOX by5:00. I didn't want to seal the envelope until right before 5:00 in case I had something else to add to the letter, so I was always cutting it close. I needed to make sure that I had stamps and envelopes all the time, necessary items if you're going to be writing letters!

After one week of school, Ted showed up on Friday to bring me home for the weekend. On Sunday, he took me back to school. We fell into a routine then...every Friday he would arrive, and every Sunday he would take me back. Of course each quarter my schedule changed and there were some times when I could go home on Thursday night, so he would pick me up then. We usually didn't leave home to head back to school until sometime early Sunday evening, so we could spend the day together doing different things.

The letter writing lasted for the entire first quarter. After that, he started calling. Every night, at either 10:00 or 11:00 (okay, so I'm getting older and I don't remember!) he would call the apartment and we would talk about how our days had gone.

To be honest, I think that this year apart bothered Ted much more than it bothered me. I had so many new things going on that I didn't have extra time to sit back and think about him and miss him all the time. He, on the other hand, had plenty of time to think about and miss me.

In April of that year, when I was home for a weekend, we had spent Saturday night with some friends. We were out sort of late when Ted finally took me home. I thought our night was ending, but he had something else in mind.

Around 1:00 am on Sunday morning, April 22, Ted asked me if I would MARRY HIM!!

We had discussed this fairly often, but never "officially" if you know what I mean. It was always "well someday when we get married..." or "when we eventually get married..." or "after we're married..." BUT THIS WAS DIFFERENT!

This was serious now. It was the real thing. A proposal from the man I loved. A diamond RING!

Well, without a second's hesitation, I said YES!!

We were so giddy and happy that we just continued to sit and talk for at least another hour. Eventually Ted left and I went to my bedroom. For the first time I really looked at the ring.

WOW, he sure did a fantastic job at picking out something I would like! Back then they didn't have the fancy bridal sets like they do now. You got an engagement ring, then a separate wedding ring. The ring was simple, yet elegant. I absolutely loved it!

I knew that my mom would come in my bedroom early in the morning to wake me up for church and I didn't want her to see it before I had a chance to tell her about it first, so I took it off and put it back in the box. I slipped the box under my pillow and went to sleep with a huge smile on my face.

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Eight

The dark blue, velvet box stayed under my pillow all night long. Since about 5th grade I've always worn a ring on the ring finger of my left hand, so I had on a different ring throughout the night and when we went to church that next morning.

To say that I had a difficult time paying attention to the priest was an understatement. I kept thinking about how I was going to tell my parents this news. They treated Ted well, so I assumed they liked him. But maybe they really didn't, and it was just a front. Hmmmm... Then there was the fact that we were young. I was 20, and Ted was just a few weeks shy of his 20th birthday. Well, the worst thing they could say is that they didn't think it was a good idea, so it was time to tell them.

I had a feeling it would be easier if I told them one at a time.

After church, my mom would always start cooking Sunday dinner. We usually ate around 12:30, so I knew that she was in the kitchen cooking. I also knew that my dad and younger brother were outside doing something or another.

I took the box and went into the kitchen. I took a deep breath, and said, "Look at what Ted gave me last night," and waited for her to say something.

"That's really better go tell your dad."


Was there something more to this? I don't really know what I expected her to say, but I don't think that was quite it. I was wondering why she said it that way. Of course I was slightly paranoid and was probably reading things into her comments.

I went out the back door and found my dad and brother. Again I opened the box and said, "Look at what Ted gave me last night."

No comment from dad.

However, my brother spoke up immediately.

"So when are you moving out?"

He was 16 years old and saw this as a way to take over my bedroom, since it was bigger than his.
Finally my dad said, "That's nice."

I went back inside and took the ring box back to my bedroom and put it on my dresser. I left it there while we ate dinner and NO ONE said a word about it during the entire meal. Afterwards, while my mom and I were cleaning up, she asked if we had a date in mind and I said that it wouldn't be until after I was finished with college, and she seemed to be very relieved about that. Then she said that I should put the ring on. I told her I would when I got ready for him to pick me up to take me back to college.

I heard him come in an hour or so later and I heard my dad say, "Welcome to the family Ted" and that made me feel soooooooooo good.

We were officially engaged!

Now that my parents knew, and seemed to have approved, the question was with Ted's family. As we left the house with my stuff loaded up, he told me that he hadn't told his parents yet. His parents had divorced a couple of years earlier so that meant telling them separately. Ted was living with his dad on the family farm, and his mother had an apartment in town. He said that he would tell his dad that night after he got home from taking me back to school, but we were going to stop and tell his mom before we left town.

She was VERY excited for us! She wanted to know if she could tell people and we told her that it would be fine, but to also tell them that we didn't have a date yet.

When we left there and went to school, we talked about the date on the way. We knew that we wanted it to definitely be after I was done with college, and during the summer so as not to interfere with a teaching job I might have.

We didn't want it to be in August...too hot. We didn't want it to be in July...that's the month of my birthday and that was enough for that month. That left June. June would be a fine month for a wedding.

When we got to my apartment at school, we found a calendar for the following year and looked at Saturdays in June. I have a thing about even numbers, so right away June 7 and June 21 were out. That left June 14 and June 28. We decided we would rather have it in mid June than late June, so it was decided that we would get married on Flag Day, June 14.

The following weekend we told everyone the date of the wedding, and then just relaxed. Back then you didn't need to start planning a wedding a year in advance like you do now, so we weren't too worried about things. The main goal was for me to finish college and try to find a teaching job somewhere near home.

Fortunately everyone was very happy for us. In retrospect, we were surprised that NO ONE tried to talk us into waiting for several years because we were rather young. By the date we had picked out, we would both be 21, but that's still a little on the young side for getting married.

I began looking at some bridal magazines, trying to get some ideas. I had a little notebook that I wrote a lot of things down in. Since we didn't have the internet available at that time, most ideas came from either talking to people or magazines. I liked looking at the advertisements in the back of the bridal magazines and sent for quite a few catalogs. We would look over things together and make some decisions, only to change them within a matter of days.

The one thing I did right after we selected the date was to call my church and reserve it for that day. It was a good thing I did, because not too much later someone else in the congregation had selected the same date, but because we were first, they had to work around our schedule. We had scheduled the wedding for the middle of the afternoon, so they had to use it in the morning.

That was it for the plans...until the fall.

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Nine

I was actually engaged to be MARRIED!! I was going to be spending the rest of my life with this one particular man that I absolutely loved and adored. I would get to use the word husband!

We spent the summer just talking about the wedding occasionally, as we knew we had a lot of time to get things planned. Way back then, you didn't need to have everything planned out, ordered, arranged, etc. a year beforehand like you do now. Besides, I had a busy fall coming up.

Since I had taken a few summer classes, I was going to be able to graduate a semester early from college and would hopefully get a little headstart on getting a teaching job. The college I went to was in the process of switching from quarters to semesters, so there were still a few little quirks to work out. I would have a 5 week block of classes, then a week off, and then 10 weeks of student teaching that would take me right up to Christmas vacation and then I was DONE!!

The five week block was pretty tough. I believe I had four classes at that time and they were long, 5 days a week classes. They were basically being done in the same time format as summer classes (yuck). Fortunately my grandparents lived about 8 miles from the university, so I stayed with them for that time, and just drove over to school. I wasn't able to get an apartment for just 5 weeks, and dorms weren't available for only 5 weeks either. So it was either stay with my grandparents or drive back and forth from home each day. Some people did that, but it certainly wasn't my idea of a good time to spend two and a half hours on the road each day!

The 5 weeks went by fast, but I missed Ted. A lot. Then I had a week off. That was really nice. However, I used that time to buy some clothes. (I do NOT like to shop, but I needed some professional clothes to wear for student teaching.) I also had gotten in touch with my cooperating teacher and spent some time in the classroom with her before I officially started.

Once my student teaching started, things got crazy. My cooperating teacher turned out to be a royal pain. She said she'd never had a student teacher before, so she really wasn't quite sure what to expect. Well, I'd never done student teaching before, so I didn't know what to expect either. She told me that I needed to have three copies of each daily lesson plan: one for me, one for her, and one for the principal. Back then we didn't have copy machines to use, so I wrote them all out on notebook paper with carbon paper in between. Each half hour lesson that I would be teaching had to have a THREE page plan, in triplicate! That also including the opening activities at the beginning of each day, along with the closing activities of each day. For each lesson, I was to not only include any and all supplies necessary, but the name of the text book, if I used one, the chapter number and title, the lesson number and title, my method of instruction AND list all the questions that I would ask the students, and the answers I was hoping to elicit from the class.


I spent much more time doing lesson plans than teaching the lessons. It was terrible. But the worst part of all this lesson planning was at the END of my student teaching experience when I found out that NO OTHER STUDENT TEACHERS in my group had to do this. They only had to use a lesson plan book issued by the school district and fill it in appropriately. They did their entire week of plans in less than 2 hours. Heck, I was spending hours and hours each and every night.

And I missed Ted. IMMENSELY. We could talk on the phone during the week, but only for a little while. I had way too much to do. We both realized that it was only a temporary situation, but it was driving us crazy. On weekends we were able to see each other, and one Sunday we had a full day planned.

We were going to Cleveland to see the Browns play the Steelers! We were going with Tim and Patty (his brother and sister-in-law) and Peg and Mac (his sister and brother-in-law). I knew that my plans weren't done for the following week, so I took as much of my stuff with me as I could and worked on them in the car on the way up and the way back. We had a wonderful day together...we all had a great time! But when I eventually got home, I knew I was going to have to pull an all-nighter to get my plans done.

That didn't happen. And I had to face my cooperating teacher the following morning and tell her that all my plans for the week were not done. She was not happy. She dug out her plans from the year before and turned those in, and would teach the lessons. She asked me if I learned anything. I told her that I had....I told her that I learned that I could do absolutely NOTHING besides school work until I finished my student teaching. Then she told me that that wasn't true. She said that relaxation was important and I would just need to manage my time better.


I was coming in at least an hour early each and every day, doing her bulletin boards (which were extremely important to her!), and I was staying anywhere from an hour to three hours after school to grade papers, set up the lessons I would be teaching, reading things in the small professional library they had at the school (you couldn't take things home). When I got home I would take time to change clothes, then work on lesson plans until almost midnight every single night, taking a few minutes out to eat dinner, talk to Ted on the phone, and take a bath.


Basically, in my humble opinion, she was NOT a good cooperating teacher. After the entire experience she told me that she would never again have a student teacher. She thought it was too much work. I just shook my head and chuckled to myself on that one.

Sooooooo, all the wedding plans we were hoping to make that fall, didn't really materialize. We had notes about things, but nothing official. Right before Christmas I called the photographer and arranged for him to take the engagement photos between Christmas and New Year's. We had begun talking about a guest list too. My mom was working on the catering part of the reception and my dad knew someone who was going to be able to supply the beverages at a good price. So by this time it was getting to be a matter of making things official and coordinating it all.

But what we really needed was a place for the reception. And THAT turned out to be one of the biggest problems of all.

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Ten

By January, our biggest concern was finding a place for a reception. We checked out every single place we could think of, and only one place was available. The unfortunate side was that it was extremely expensive, and I didn't want to pay that much. I was trying to pay for as much of the wedding/reception as I could. I didn't think that it was my parents' responsibility to pay for everything, since I was the one getting married.

I graduated from college on December 22, and right after Christmas break I was able to start substitute teaching. It was rare to find a full time opening in the middle of the year, so I thought that subbing would be just fine. I put in several applications and waited for the phone to ring.

I didn't have to wait long. I began subbing immediately after the break, and worked an average of 4 1/2 to 5 days a week. At that time, subs were making $30/day in the district I lived in, and $28/day in a nearby district. Times have changed soooooo much! I was saving every penny that I made, as was Ted. It was so nice for me to actually be working in my chosen field and making money while doing what I really enjoyed.

Each day put me a day further away from my awful student teaching experience, and I was extremely grateful for that. I was learning much more by being in a classroom and seeing how different teachers did things. I took notes on every sub assignment I had. My notebook was filled and it was great. I was able to meet different principals and let them see how I taught. One elementary school was near our house and it seemed as though they began calling me at least 3 days a week. I was very fortunate.

By the beginning of February, I commented that I just needed ONE day off to work on the reception situation, and lo and behold, it worked out that I got an afternoon free. The people at all the potential reception sites were only available when I was working, so it was difficult to talk to them. Ted was really trying to help, but it just wasn't possible. This was something I needed to do because I had all the notes and the names of the people I talked to. HIS job was to find us a place to live.

So the afternoon I had free worked out great. The one place that had been available before, was still available, AND the first guy had given me the wrong price. It was actually a little LESS expensive than what I was told originally! They reserved it, and I told them I would be there at 4:00 the next day to pay for it. They were willing to have someone wait around until I got there, so that worked out too. Things were definitely looking up!

In the evenings, Ted and I were calling about apartments and going to look at them. There wasn't much out there that was ... let's see, how do I say this ... there were few apartments available in our area that would meet our standards. Actually, there weren't any. We had to lower our standards. A lot. Neither one of us was happy, but we didn't have a choice.

In mid February, we found an apartment that was the upstairs of a house. It had a big living room, 2 big bedrooms, a bathroom, and a small kitchen. It wasn't great, but it was okay for a temporary place. The guy who owned it was nice enough, and the price was right. Ted gave him a check for the deposit and first month's rent. He said that he would stop by some evening when he saw the lights on to have us sign a lease, as he didn't have one with him.

Before we moved Ted in that following weekend we went out and bought a color console TV. Back then, black and white TVs were still available, but we didn't want to go that route. Appliances came with the apartment, so that was good. But we also needed to buy a bed. We had decided that we would get a queen size mattress set, so off we went to the furniture store to take care of that too. We were spending money right and left, but it was on things that we needed.

We moved all his stuff in over a weekend, and tried to get it organized. We didn't have a washer and dryer, so he was going to go to his dad's to do laundry. I went grocery shopping and tried to get him everything I thought he would need. There are certain grocery things that you need when you first set up housekeeping, and that initial trip can cost a fortune. Things that you don't need to buy very often, but you need to buy them all at once at first might include salt, pepper, all other spices that you normally use, flour, sugar, and all kinds of other goodies. Not to mention other things, like salt and pepper shakers, canisters, pots and pans, plates, silverware, pot holders, a toaster, etc.

The one part of the apartment that I felt really needed some work was the bathroom. The walls needed something, but we weren't allowed to paint or paper. Washing them didn't help. So I did the next best thing. (I still can't believe I did this.)

I went to a cheap store and bought several vinyl tablecloths in the same pattern. I put those tablecloths up as wallpaper, using a stapler. I had no other way of getting the tablecloths to stay on the wall. I didn't want to use nails, so I tried my stapler and it worked! Well, as long as you didn't touch the tablecloths too much, at least. I had a lot of things to cut around, like the window, doorway, bathtub, lavatory, toilet, pipes coming into the room, etc. but it all worked out.
Things were starting to fall into place...and it was time to go pick out my dress.

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Eleven

Paulie had commented about our needing an apartment so soon and needing things like pots and pans, etc. She mentioned that many things like that were gotten as shower gifts.

Apartments in our area were difficult to find, so we knew that we had to work on that early. Neither one us wanted to be "stuck" with no place to live, and we were NOT going to move into my folks' house (YIKES!!!) or into Ted's dad's house. That's why we began to look right after the holidays. When we found something that was sort of okay, we jumped on it. Ted lived in the apartment. I was living at home with my parents.

As far as bridal showers are concerned, I did not want one. I just have a thing about showers. I don't like going to them, and I don't want to attend one as the guest of honor. It just wasn't my idea of a good time. I hate it when people feel obligated to get someone a gift. I hate it when I feel obligated to get a gift, too. So that was why we got those things on our own.

Now for more of the story....

In mid February we spent a Saturday at our local bridal shop. My mom and I went, along with my three bridesmaids. The maid of honor lived in California and we would be taking care of ordering her dress. Since my mom was a nurse at our local hospital, she had to work every other weekend, and we had to make sure that we scheduled this for a Saturday that she would be off, and that the bridesmaids would be free.

Mom and I got there a while before they would be arriving so we could look at dresses for her and me first. Her dress was fairly easy to pick out. My mom is a woman of simple tastes. She didn't want anything all sparkly and fancy, with doo dads all over. She selected a simple melon colored dress that looked wonderful on her and would look even better once she had spent a little time out in the sun. She tans very quickly in the summer.

***Yes, I know that being out in the sun and having a tan can be harmful to your body, and so does she. However, this is a risk that we are both aware of, yet choose to participate in. I may address this in a future post.***

Once we found her dress, we began looking for one for me. I am NOT a simple size 7, hahahaha, oh my...I'm about as far from it as one can possibly be! Therefore I was limited to dresses that came in plus sizes. THIS WAS A GOOD THING, BELIEVE ME!!

I do NOT like to have to make a decision when I have hundreds of things to choose from! For my dress I was limited to to about 30 choices, and that quickly was narrowed down. It really didn't take all that long to select my dress. I was happy with it. My mom was happy with it. And when the bridesmaids arrived, they told me that they liked it too. Whew!

I had seen a dress in the window that I liked for the bridesmaids, so that was where I wanted to start. I had decided that I wanted a variety of pastels for colors, so once we decided on the dresses I would choose the colors. I had some colors in mind, but wanted to see if they liked what I picked out first.

Fortunately they all liked the dress, or at least they said they did. I liked not only the style of the dress, but the simplicity of it, and the ability to be able to wear it to another function later on. The dress had a blouson type top with a simple lightly pleated skirt. The sleeves were short, but slit, and tied at the top.

The maid of honor, Mary, was going to wear light blue. Barb was going to wear peach, Davene was going to be in yellow, and Melanie was going to wear mint green (her favorite color is green, so that worked out well).

With the dresses ordered, we made an appointment with a woman who designed silk flower arrangements. Our evening with her was very nice. Thank goodness she had a list of everything that we would need, because I didn't have a CLUE! We selected the bouquets, the boutonnieres, the corsages for various grandmothers, etc., the flowers for the church, and reception, and a small bouquet for me to throw. The lady we worked with did a great job helping us out with our selections, and we were happy.

Our local newspaper used to have a section called "Love is..." in every Saturday edition. It included all the engagements, weddings, and "big" anniversaries. On the last Saturday of February of 1980, our engagement was in the paper. Back then the picture featured only the bride-to-be, so that's what we had. Now, they usually have pictures with both the bride-to-be AND groom-to-be, and I like that much better.

(Somewhere around this house is a clipping of our engagement. I wish I had been on the ball enough to find it and scan it so I could include it in this post, but I'm not that organized!)

The next thing we did was begin our meetings with my priest. At the time we got married, I was Catholic (and still am) but Ted was not. This would require us to meet with the priest several times and discuss things with him. Because we were getting married in a Catholic Church, we also needed to attend Pre-Cana classes.

Our Pre-Cana classes were interesting. Fortunately a new session was just getting ready to start at our local catholic high school, so we registered. We attended four Wednesday night sessions, each about 2 hours long, and found them to be somewhat informative. The discussed many aspects of being married with all of us, from finances to household responsibilities to (gasp!) natural family planning. A couple of times we had long questionnaires to fill out, then would talk and discuss our answers.

Our meetings with the priest were just the two of us and him and we talked about a lot of different things. One thing we had to discuss was the form that Ted would need to sign about any children that we might have. In order for the priest to marry us in the Catholic Church I had attended for years, Ted would need to sign a form saying that any children we had would be raised in the Catholic faith. The three of us discussed this thoroughly, and I was NOT going to force Ted to sign anything like that. I think that as long as we made sure that any children we had would not be raised as agnostics or atheists, we should be "good to go" but that's not the way the Catholic Church saw it.

Ted agreed to sign the form, and commented that it was not a problem for him, as long as he was not being forced to become Catholic, and he was not.

After we went through personality quirks and things like that, the priest gave us a small book about selecting readings and vows for the wedding. That was nice to go through together. He also told us that we could have non-Catholics do some of the readings. We were very happy with that, as we wanted one of Ted's uncles to do a reading for us, and he was a devout Methodist.

I had said from the very beginning that I did not want a mass for our wedding, but I would have changed my mind if need be. A portion of the people attending the wedding would be Catholic, but NOT the majority. I didn't want them to have to go through an entire mass if they did not understand everything and know what was going on. I also knew that by having the wedding in mid-June in a church that was not air conditioned, it could possibly be quite warm. A mass would add about an hour to the service, and in the best interest of all our guests, it was decided that we would have a ceremony, but no mass.

Throughout all this time, I was fortunate enough to still be subbing quite often and Ted was working as a plumber's helper. We were still able to go out with friends, or just sit around and watch television or whatever. It was a great time in our relationship.

Then one evening I came home, and my mom said she needed to talk to me. I got the distinct impression that this conversation was not going to be a happy one.

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Twelve

Our next door neighbors were great people. They were both teachers at our local high school, and had two young daughters and an infant son at the time. I had babysat for them countless times and just adored their children. They were the sweetest things, and even when I came home for the weekends during college, I would babysit for them when they needed me. When they moved in, they didn't have any children, so we were watching these little ones grow up.

So one evening, just about 2 months before our wedding, after I came home from being with Ted my mom said that she had to talk to me about something. By the tone of her voice, I had a very strong feeling that it wasn't going to be a pleasant conversation. I sat down, and she began.

"Sheryl came over tonight while you were gone." (Sheryl was the next door neighbor.)


Mom took a deep breath and said, "She wants to host a bridal shower for you."

"WHAT? What did you tell her? You know I don't like showers!"

Mom said, "She wants to do this for you and I told her you would be honored. It's going to be in two weeks."

I knew by the tone of her voice it was a done deal, so I was going to have to put my best foot forward, and with a smile on my face, I would graciously accept this kind offer.

The next day I called Sheryl and told her how much I appreciated her wanting to do this and was looking forward to it. She told me that it would only be for the neighbors because she didn't want to invite friends that would be attending a shower that the bridesmaids would be having for me.

That's when I thought, "SAY WHAT??" but didn't say a word.

And lo and behold, before the shower at Sheryl's, the bridesmaids told me that they were having a shower too. By this time I had already accepted the fact that it was going to happen, so again, I very graciously said that that would be great!

Although my feelings on showers didn't really change, I thoroughly enjoyed both showers and Ted and I received many nice gifts. I truly appreciated everything that these wonderful people did for me AND had fun at both showers!

Who would have ever thought??

Everything with the wedding was falling into place, but we had a slight problem.

The weather was turning warmer and it was getting mighty hot in Ted's upstairs apartment. We talked about getting a room air conditioner, but knew that it would be very expensive. We decided that a few floor fans might be able to get us through the summer.

Then the downstairs tenants were getting louder and louder. It sounded as though they were fighting...a LOT. If I decided to do some tutoring during the summer, how would I be able to do it with all that going on downstairs?

About two weeks before the wedding we decided that Ted's apartment just wasn't going to cut it and we would start the search for a new place immediately. Talk about timing.

There were some townhouses just outside of town, about a mile past my parents' house, that had a vacancy. Through Ted's job he had worked for the guy who owned the apartments and made arrangements for us to go look at the vacant one.

It was a 2 story apartment with a basement too. We could have a washer and dryer down there. It had a living room, dining area, small kitchen, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. It was air conditioned too! And to top it off, the townhouses were only a couple of years old. We had two parking spots directly in front of the door. Our apartment was in the first townhouse of the allotment, so that was nice too. We wouldn't have to drive all the way to the end to get "home."

The rent was a little more than he'd been paying at the other place, but that was alright. It was well worth it. We agreed to take the apartment and made arrangements to sign the lease a few days later. In the meantime I was trying to find out all I could about the "old" apartment situation. Apparently since we never actually signed a lease (the owner never did bring the lease by for us to sign) we only had a verbal month-to-month agreement and he would HAVE to give us back the security deposit.

Armed with all this information thanks to my research, Ted called the owner. He tried to get out of returning our deposit, but Ted had enough information to get him to realize that he had no choice. He took his time about it though and didn't return it until after we got back from our honeymoon, but we DID get it back.

So one week before our wedding we enlisted the help of family members and moved into our new apartment. We were SOOOOOO much happier there!

I'd been in contact with Mary, my friend who was the maid of honor. She lived in California and would be arriving in Ohio on the Tuesday morning before the wedding. Barb, one of the bridesmaids, spent the night at my house and we got up around 3:30 am or so to get to the Cleveland airport in time to pick up Mary. Her flight was due to arrive around 6:00 am. We got there in plenty of time and back in 1980, the airport was pretty empty that early in the morning. Now, of course, it's entirely different. But we picked her up, and drove home. Mary was extremely tired as she hadn't slept very much on the plane and she was suffering from jet lag.

Of course things couldn't go too smoothly, or it just wouldn't be right.

Ted was suffering...and soon a trip to the ER would be necessary.

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Thirteen

So here it was, four days before our wedding and Ted was complaining about a pain on his tailbone. It was really bothering him. He couldn't sit, he couldn't lie down, he couldn't stand up, he couldn't do anything without a lot of PAIN.

Finally the Wednesday night before our wedding, after a short discussion with my mom (the nurse), we decided that a trip to the ER was in order. And this is where I fell short of being the perfect bride-to-be.

Mary and I had so much to do, since the wedding was just a few days away. We decided that the best plan of action would be for Ted's mom to take him to the ER while Mary and I worked on other things. If you ever waited in an ER waiting room in the early 1980s, then you know that a wait could be several hours long, and I just didn't have several hours to spare that night.

Okay, think of me as a bad person. Go ahead. I deserve it. Ted practically insisted that I NOT go along with him, but that's really not a good excuse.

Anyway, back to the story...

As soon as he got back to the apartment about five hours later, he called and filled me in on things.

It turned out that he had a pretty big abscess back by his tailbone. The doctor at the ER ended up having to drain it with a HUGE, 2 FOOT LONG NEEDLE, THAT WENT ALL THE WAY IN. At least that's what Ted said, and I had no reason not to believe him. He also said that they drained at least a gallon of fluid out of the abscess. Again, I have no reason not to believe him. (Could he possibly have exaggerated just a tad??)

When they were finished, they put a small dressing on it and he had a prescription for an antibiotic...along with a very sore tailbone.

The next morning Mary and I had to go pick up some additional things for the decorations for the reception and we also got a blow-up ring that kids use in a swimming pool. We got that for Ted to use when he sat down so that there wouldn't be any unnecessary pressure on his tailbone. He really appreciated that!

Other than Ted's issue, things were going pretty smoothly, and when that happens, I tend to get a little nervous. Nothing goes that smoothly with me without a big type of problem arising, so I was just waiting for that to happen.


It didn't happen!

The afternoon of the day before the wedding was spent decorating the reception hall and folding the programs that would be passed out at the church. We also checked in with the lady doing the flowers, the priest, the cake lady, and the caterer. Everything was just as it should be. I was shaking my head in disbelief over this, but finally accepted the fact that it was going to come off without a hitch.

That evening we all met at the church at 6:00 for the rehearsal.

As I walked down the aisle with my dad during the practice, it all sort of hit me.

I was going to get married the next day.


As in, having a HUSBAND.

As in, Mr. and Mrs.


Oh my...what was I getting myself into?!?!

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Fourteen

I really wanted to add some pictures to this post, however I have a little problem.

We moved into our new home TWO years ago and I can't find the wedding pictures. I knew exactly where they were at the old house (in the cedar chest) but they're not there now, AND I have NO IDEA where they are. There are two albums, each in a white box with a red rose on top. But I can't find them. The search WILL continue, but I'm going to go on with the story.

So as soon as the rehearsal was finished, Ted's brother-in-law took us out to his car to give us a gift from the plumbing shop where he and Ted both worked. It was a Charmglow gas grill and we were thrilled with it! Our new apartment had a back door with a little porch and we would get a lot of use out of it. I mean, how hard can it be to cook on a grill??

(It might be a good time to mention that I knew nothing about cooking. Nada. Zilch. Zero. But I was willing to learn.)

After checking out the grill, we all went to the rehearsal dinner at a well known restaurant about 6 miles out of town. This place was well known for its steaks and seafood and we were very excited about having a nice, relaxing meal.

Little did I know that my nerves would be getting the best of me and I would hardly be able to eat a thing! We also gave our attendants their gifts. The girls all got heart shaped necklaces with their initials ingraved on them, and the guys all got ingraved money clips.

There were toasts all around, and everyone had a great time. Then the girls in the wedding party, except Holly (Ted's niece, and soon to be mine), decided that they were going to take me out to a couple of places so we could have a few drinks. Holly was the flower girl and only 4 years old, so she was just a tad underage.

I can only actually remember one place we went to, but I know that we went to two or three different spots. I can even remember what I drank, believe it or not! I don't like beer...never have, so I opted for mixed drinks. I had a couple of Tom Collins, also known as a Gin Fizz. I know that two are my limit, so that was all I had. I had a Pepsi at one place too. My cousin Davene was definitely underage at the time (15) so there was no alcohol for her.

We all laughed and had a great time. It was fun to be with them, but it began getting late, a little close to midnight. I knew that the next day was going to be a big day, so I was ready to head home.

Although I'm not extremely superstitious, I didn't want to press my luck. The day of the rehearsal was Friday the 13th and things had gone fine up to that point. I sure didn't want to spoil it.

We took Davene back to the hotel where her family was staying, dropped Barb and Melanie off at their homes, then Mary and I went back to my family's house. I was definitely ready for bed. Mary, however, stayed up and talked to my mom for a while.

I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep. There were too many things running through my mind. Did I have everything I needed for the wedding dress? I was going to be changing at the church, so was everything set for that? Was there anything else I needed to do for the reception? Did my suitcase have everything I needed inside for our honeymoon? What was I forgetting? What if my shoes got too tight at the reception? Would I be able to get through the day without crying? Would everyone have a good time at the reception?

But the one thing I was NOT questioning was whether or not this was the right thing to do. I KNEW IT WAS.

I loved Ted and he loved me. We were going to be so happy together!

Cindi and Ted, Chapter Fifteen

I woke up that morning of June 14, 1980 after a restless night's sleep. Mary must have sensed that I needed some time alone. She pretty much hung out with my mom that morning, while I did some last minute things.

We had already received a fair amount of wedding gifts in the form of money and Ted and I had decided that we were going to buy a washer and dryer. I knew absolutely nothing about appliances, nor did he. We had seen an appliance store ad in our local paper that advertised a Whirlpool washer and dryer for around $500 (hey, it was a long time ago, so I can't be absolutely sure of the price, but I think I'm pretty close).

Being that Ted was the youngest of his family, he never knew what it was like to have a younger sibling, so he occasionally liked to "bond" with my brother. And Ted chose the morning of our wedding to continue the bonding process. He stopped by the house and picked up my brother (who is about four and a half years younger than me) and they went off to buy a washer and dryer. Can you really think of anything more manly than that??

In the meantime I decided to lay out in the sun for a little while. I guess I just wanted to have a little tan in my wedding dress. After an hour or so out there, I came in, took a bath, and started working on my hair and make-up.

Nowadays women go to the salon and have their nails done professionally, their hair done professionally, and their make-up done professionally. It would be nice to have those people fussing over me, but that's not how things were done back in 1980.

I've never been a person to spend a lot of time on my hair or my make-up so I knew that this was definitely not the time to experiment! I had almost always had long hair, so I knew the style would be something simple, and definitely NOT just hanging down. The make-up would consist of the very basics only.

Once those things were done, I polished my fingernails...with clear nail polish. I didn't want anything bold or bright, so a simple shine was enough for me. Good old Sally Hansen nail strengthener!

After my nails were dry, it was time for us to head up to the church. We got dressed in the basement of the rectory (where the priest lives). Fortunately all the girls in the wedding knew that I needed to sort of be left alone with my thoughts and we all did our own thing. After we were all dressed and ready to go, we went up to the living room and the photographer took some pictures.

Everyone looked so pretty. The dresses were simple but the pastel colors I had chosen really added some variety. And Holly looked absolutely adorable in her flower girl dress. She had very long naturally curly hair and had her hair back in a ponytail with the long curls hanging down. She had just recently turned four and was so cute! Although the aisle at the church was very long, we knew that she'd be able to walk down it with no trouble at all.

After the pictures were taken, we had about 10 minutes before the music was scheduled to begin. That's when I decided that I wanted to be over at the church so I could hear it. I had taken a long time selecting the music and we had an excellent organist and vocalist, so I wanted to hear them. We all went over to the church (right next door) and went into the stairwell that led to the balcony. No one saw us there and we got to hear the music, so it all worked out.

And then, before we knew it, it was time to start.

This was it.

There was no turning back now.

And I had no desire to turn back anyway!

The bridesmaids walked down the aisle.

Holly walked down the aisle, and did a fantastic job.

Mary walked down the aisle.


my dad and I started down the aisle.

I was smiling while holding onto my dad's arm and didn't look over at him on our walk.

We got to the front of the church, and the ceremony went off without a hitch. I recall looking down at my watch at one point and noted that it was 2:20 p.m. The music had started at 1:30 and the wedding had begun at 2:00. Don't ask me why I looked at my watch, or why I was even wearing a watch, because I HAVE NO IDEA!!

After the ceremony we had a receiving line in the vestibule of the church, then went outside amid flying birdseed and I somehow got a mouthful of it. I know, I know...I need to keep my mouth shut!

We took off in Ted's car with his brother Tim driving and Mary in the front seat too. Tim was honking the horn as we drove all over town. The guys had decorated the car, so of course we drew a lot of attention.

Now that I think about it, I can't remember the last time I heard horns honking after a couple got married. I suppose that's another tradition that's out of style, sigh.

We went back to the church after a short ride and posed for pictures. Fortunately it was not too hot or humid, so we were pretty comfortable. The photographer took sooooooooo many pictures! My cheeks actually began to hurt from all the smiling, but it was well worth it.

After the pictures, we were off to the reception. Fortunately we'd had cookies at the reception, and the bar was open, so everyone had had a chance to get a little something to eat and drink while they were waiting for us.

Back then we had a real band, not a deejay for the music and they weren't completely set up yet. They did it quietly while we all ate and talked. But the one thing that wasn't done back then, but is done now, is introducing the bridal party as they come in. I wish we had done that, but I never even thought of it, nor do I know who would have done it.

After we'd been at the reception for an hour or so, I really needed to go to the bathroom. Before I headed there, I was trying to think the process through and realized that I was not going to be able to accomplish this task on my own. Mary and Barb (a bridesmaid) came into the bathroom with me and held my dress up over my head so I could "relieve" myself. We were quite the sight! Fortunately the stall was big and we were all able to fit in there. They even held my dress up while I washed my hands in case there was water on the floor anywhere around. I wouldn't have been able to do it without them!

The food was wonderful, the band was great, and everyone had a super time at the reception. After the dancing, the bouquet toss, and the garter toss, it was time for us to leave. We made it out of the reception hall and had to stop at the my folks' house so I could change clothes. My mom was going to take my dress to the dry cleaners while we were gone.

We left their house, with Ted still in his tux, and me in jeans and a tee-shirt! We looked like a real mish-mash! When we got to our apartment, we were going in as our next door neighbors were coming home. The guy said, "It looks like you were in a wedding today!"

Ted said very simply, "I sure was....OURS!"

He congratulated us as we closed our apartment door and began our journey into marriage