Eli was born in January of 1998 and Dylan was born in January of 2001. They're literally 5 days apart in the month...
When I was pregnant with Dylan, the doctor could see all the same issues developing that had caused so many problems for me with Eli. I had really been hoping for a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) but the doctor really didn’t think that was going to happen. It was going to be another C-section for me but, as this one would be planned, we were expecting it be considerably less dramatic. Part of me was even looking forward to it because, that kid was standing on every nerve in my lower back and pelvis, causing excruciating pain and making even walking a serious ordeal. Then I got bronchitis... and the doctor said that was it. The next I knew I was on complete bed rest.
Bed rest sucks!
It's great to think about; all that laying around doing nothing. Yeah… that lasted about a day.
Now, to be honest, I think I had a couple of legitimate complaints. I had been building my Mary Kay business since Eli was born and I had earned my first MK Career Car on Halloween!! Now it was early December and we had just picked up the car a few days before. And then… Bed Rest. Ugh!
I was also in qualification to become a MK Director, but to his credit, my doctor didn't care. Bed Rest. UGH!
Personally, I didn't find it to be restful at all!
Finally, I crossed the magical line of 38 weeks and we were scheduled for surgery. And now my doctor was crystal clear, another vaginal birth was just too risky for me and I freely admit to being sad about that for a long time.
I felt somewhat cheated in the experience of birthing my children but, in the end, they were alive and healthy, and I was alive; these things were much more important! It still took me a long time to see my C-section scars as a badge of honor rather than a mark of failure. I think it was perhaps akin to what women struggling with breastfeeding may feel. The idea that, as women, our bodies were made to do these things, that we should be able to do them, that there is something wrong with us if we are somehow unable to do them…
What a load of crap!!
Every woman, every pregnancy, every labor and delivery experience will be different for every woman. The end result is all that mattered, and I was so incredibly grateful for the doctors who were there to care for us and keep us all safe and alive. Well, most of them.
Now, I will admit to having a bit of a stubborn streak, and I was determined to walk into that hospital on my own. But, when an orderly met me at the door with a wheel chair and I told me I “had” to sit down, I gave in almost immediately. I was in so much pain, I don't honestly know if I could have made it past the lobby on my own. And off I rolled to get ready for surgery. It seemed like we waited a long time but eventually the anesthesiologist came for the epidural. We were using a different doctor, a different hospital and a different anesthesiologist this time. Gone were the kind bright blue eyes from Pasadena, now replaced by a rather grumpy guy who seemed overly irritated to even have to be there. I don't know what threw off his groove but, unfortunately it turned out to be a sign of things to come.
Once in the operating room, it was immediately clear that he had not inserted the needle in my back into the right place. The doctor was ready to start the surgery and I was not numb, not even a little!! Nothing was numb!! As she started to cut into my belly I started screaming, "Stop!! I can feel that!!"
They tried more drugs, different drugs, nothing was working. They even tipped the operating table, so my feet were pointed at the ceiling and my head was pointed at the floor, to try and get the drugs moving up my body! And while I love roller coasters, to me, this seemed like an insane way to have a baby! Finally, I was “numb enough” that they could start with a cauterizing scalpel and get the baby out.
Recovery from this surgery was better, but the pregnancy had been much harder on my body so, it was still a long slow process. Unfortunately for me, time was ticking; I needed to get back to work.
In those days in Mary Kay, when you became an Independent Sales Director, you could debut on stage at our annual Seminar in Dallas and, you walked on the stage according to your National Sales Director’s area. I loved my National but our area was big! If you wanted to be in any part of her space, you needed to be a Sales Director. And I desperately wanted to debut on that stage with her. But, that meant going back into director qualifications just 5 weeks after Dylan was born. I wasn't ready; but I did it anyway.
Director qualifications can take between one and four months and I knew it would be a challenge to do this while still recovering from surgery. But I figured then it would be over and I would be a Director. I was already in constant pain, wasn’t sleeping well and was dealing with a new born and a 3-year-old… I might as well add one more thing and just get everything over with all at once! It was going to be hard but… it was already hard! This wasn’t going to make recovering from surgery or dealing with a baby who refused to sleep any easier but to my mind, waiting would just make the hard part last longer. It seems crazy but, I wasn’t sleeping anyway so, why not work and get the hard part over all at once?
I officially became a Director on July 1st, 2001 and on July 10th I walked on to that stage! With my Senior Director's hand in one hand and my National Director's hand in the other, I debuted as a Mary Kay Independent Sales Director! What a feeling! And, while I would have wanted to have more time to just be with Dylan, and to recover, I was never sorry I went back to work when I did. That year in MK was the last time they debuted new directors on the stage by national area. I would have missed my chance if I hadn't gone for it!
Rob had spent much of that year out on tour with Boz Scaggs so, although I became a Director on July 1st, we waited to have my Director Debut Celebration until September when he would be home for a short break. We chose Tuesday, September 11th, 2001… He had planned to take a red-eye that night and catch up with the tour in Miami the next day but, as it turned out, no one was going anywhere that day. We still came together to celebrate the women in my unit and becoming a Director but instead of the traditional Mary Kay marketing and team building agenda, that night we focused on what we could offer in the way of comfort and healing. We had spoken word artists and singers, friends and family and, while none of us really knew what we were doing, for that moment, it was good to be away from the television and the horror of the day. And even now, all these years later, those who were there still talk about the love and healing we created that night and I will always be grateful we were able to do that.
Two and a half years later, we left LA to move back to Florida. Eli was six and in kindergarten and, concerns about where to send him to school were looming larger. Public school wasn’t really an option. The “good school districts” were crazy expensive to live in and the only other choices were church schools. As a Jewish woman, I wasn’t overly excited about sending my son to a church school. I was also pretty sure I wouldn’t be able float the idea of sending “The” first grandchild to church school, past my parents. It was time to leave LA… I was no longer working in the entertainment industry and Rob was working everywhere but LA so, we didn’t really need to be tied to the city anymore and we started looking at where else we could live.
Mary Kay has no territories, I could live and work anywhere I wanted, and all Rob needed was access to an airport. We didn’t want to leave LA for the Inland Empire area which, while still “LA adjacent,” could still take up to an hour to get to, regardless of the time of day. We wanted a city that had some culture; art, music, ballet, even football would have been nice and we had a short list of cities that fit the bill. New York, no. Miami, no. Chicago, no. Vegas…? My sister and brother-in-law were living there and so were my best friend and her husband… maybe. And then Rob started getting all kinds of work here, in Orlando.
After more than a decade of living in LA, proclaiming I would take a hurricane over an earthquake any day of the week, and that I would never again live in Florida it seemed clear we were moving… to Florida. Nowadays, there is a lot more here than just Disney and Universal. The city had grown since we had last been here in the 90’s. It had everything we were looking for and, compared to LA, it was so green!
We sat the boys down on the couch and told them we were moving to… Orlando. I thought they would be thrilled but, with their little feet sticking straight out on the cushions, they clearly had ideas of their own. Now, as Eli had previously punched Mickey Mouse square in the snout at Disney California Adventure, I could understand that he was a bit tentative moving in to Mickey’s backyard. But, he and Dylan talked it over they came back to us with their “terms.” They agreed to move with us to Florida but… they wanted a house with a pool (check), a dog (check, we have four!) and to play soccer (check, thank you YMCA).
We had a deal.