Advertisements
Tag Archives: parenting after loss

The Perfect Storm of Urgh

13 Mar

So. Bunny started day care.

The first day I dropped her off, I literally sat in the car, outside the day care center for AN HOUR AND A HALF crying like a baby. It brought every single anxiety I’ve been feeling to the surface.

I called my brother and he reminded me that my mother not letting us find our independence is a huge reason we’re both a bit messed up.

That thought and a mixture of emotional detachment and xan.ax got me through week one. It was clear that I was the one who needed adjusting. Bunny seemed to like it there. Shmerson (who did the majority of the dropping-off) commented on how he could hear her do her happy squeal as he was leaving.

Yes, she got home exhausted and I felt like I was completely missing out on her. But I knew it would get better.

They also started giving her solids. I’d done a small introduction to them, and I was totally on board with them taking the reigns.

Then – the tummy trouble started. I won’t go into detail – but it wasn’t pretty.

Then – Bunny literally started screaming just at the sight of a bottle and has been refusing food since Monday.

It was a perfect storm – starting solids, she had just finished cutting her first two teeth, some sort of virus which made her throat hurt, and her reflux is definitely worse.

I took her to the doctor on Tuesday. He said I just had to ride it out. He suggested I talk to the gastro specialist about the new eating issues.

I’ve been home with her ever since. Every bottle is a fight. She’s miserable. I’m miserable.

The gastro specialist got back to me today and I missed his call. Once I managed to call him back he didn’t have time to talk and just said we should switch meds. Though I didn’t get a chance to tell him she’s been crying just at the SIGHT of a bottle. But we’ll make the switch and hope for the best.

But in the meantime, she’s losing weight.

AND EVERYTHING IS FLOODING TO THE SURFACE

My mistrust of doctors. I’ve been told before that everything would be fine by a doctor then it wasn’t. I no longer believe everything will be fine.

My guilt at putting Bunny in day care.

My incredible anxiety that something bad will happen to her.

And on and on.

Oh – I’m also blaming the day care for making my baby sick.  Even though I know it’s normal and it happens. I just want to pull  her out of there. It’s a perfectly nice place. I just want her home with me.

It’s a perfectly nice place that I no longer trust because my daughter refuses to eat.

It’s a perfectly nice place that gets to enjoy my daughter for the majority of her awake and energetic day. While I do what – effing internet content? Some days it just doesn’t seem to be worth it.

Logically I know she needs to stay. I just don’t know how the hell I’m going to be able to drop her off on Monday without freaking out and/or calling every 3 minutes.

It’s been a miserable couple of days. I’m seriously afraid that the eating issue and other tummy issues are not just a virus and reflux but something worse. I’ve been avoiding Dr. Google like the plague. I’ve been crying. I’ve been worried. I’ve been anxious.

I hate this. Everything is flooding me. I’m completely overwhelmed with anxiety. And I know this is TERRIBLE  for her. I need to fucking let go and relax.

But she’s not eating. And she’s in pain. And she’s paler than usual and I can tell she’s lost weight. And I feel helpless.

I hate this.

Advertisements

What’s Left Behind

4 Feb

So – I’ll save you the usual apologies for being gone so long. Until we move and/or get Bunny into daycare, sporadic will just have to do. 🙂

This post has been running through my head for a while, though I admit it’s still a jumble. I’m hoping that writing it out will help clarify some things.

What is left when the wreckage of the last 3.5 years is cleared?

I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately. The last 5(!) months since Bunny was born have been a whirlwind. New job, big decisions, and of course the huge life change that is just having her here. I admit there are still days that I “remember” I’m a mom and freak the fuck out. She is still in a lot of ways an abstract to me. But she’s slowly but surely becoming a little person with her own wants needs and desires, so the abstract is gaining focus.

Last month, Shmerson and I re-watched the first two seasons of “Sherlock” (don’t be so impressed, it’s only six episodes), in preparation for the new season. While watching it, I realized that I remembered NOTHING. Not one single thing about this show, which I knew that I loved and I always categorized as brilliant. When I mentioned this to Shmerson, I noted: “We must have watched it while I was drugged up.”

I don’t think I hid this here, but I don’t think I discussed it much either: After losing Nadav I spent the better part of six months HEAVILY medicated. My pregnancy with Bunny I spent on very strong anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, which meant I was mostly emotionally detached from everything that entire time (and it wasn’t just the meds, it was also a defense mechanism). I credit that medication with saving my sanity and my life. But it does mean that there’s a good year or so of my life that passed in a complete haze.  I started taking anti-depressants for the first time in December of 2010 – over 3 years ago – which generally numbed my feelings. I am now only taking Xan.ax to deal with my anxiety disorder, and I’m on a very small dose. For the first time in 3 years – I’m no longer in a haze or emotionally detached due to medication.

It gets more complicated: My first miscarriage happened just two months after our wedding. From that point on, I was a woman on a mission. I abandoned literally EVERYTHING in pursuit of a baby. In June of 2010, had you asked – I would have said that my greatest ambition was to direct feature films. I had already gotten a development grant and I was getting closer and closer to that goal. If you would have told me then that I’d abandon it all to accommodate a string of high-risk pregnancies, and then become a content manager at a start-up and actually ENJOY it I would have thought that the notion was absurd.

My first loss turned everything upside down for me, and the world has only really begun to straighten up now. There were moments during the last 3.5 years that I *thought* I had things figured out. I “made decisions” regarding my future. I “pushed on”. In hindsight – those moments were a total crock.

I spent 6 months thinking I wanted to be a teacher. I spent a year and a half teaching.

I do NOT want to be a teacher.

I went back to school to get BA level psych credits so that I could do a Master’s in Art Therapy.

I do NOT want to be an art therapist.

I also don’t think I want to be a filmmaker, though that option hasn’t completely been taken off the table. 10 years of pursuing it and 2 degrees keep it perpetually on the table.

I love my job – but I’m also not sure I want to be doing that for the rest of my life.

But this is not just about career choices.

Out of the last 3.5 years, I spent 84 weeks of them pregnant. That’s almost 20 months. Practically two years.

I spent the remainder either attempting to get pregnant or grieving a lost pregnancy, or both at the same time.

(For the sake of this argument, I’m not counting of course the 5 months I have now spent raising Bunny).

That time basically demolished me completely. Giving birth to Bunny only cleared the wreckage, and of course, I can’t rely on her to rebuild. This is about me.

I need to figure out who I am now. That’s kind of a huge deal.

The last 3.5 years have called almost all of my assumptions about myself into question. Parts of my personality that I was CONVINCED were inherent to it are now absolutely gone.

A small example: I was absolutely 100% convinced that I will always be a person who struggles to diet. Gestational diabetes changed that. I have been consistently shedding pounds since giving birth and I’m now 5 pounds less than I was before getting pregnant with Bunny. I have a good 20 to go before I reach my ideal weight, but I’m getting there, and it’s not even CLOSE to being a struggle. Patience and willpower? Ha! Small potatoes compared to the hell of a high-risk pregnancy.

Any free headspace I have these days is dedicated to two things:

1) Figuring out who I am

2) Making an effort to fix the things I don’t like about myself.

There are very few things I know about myself now. This is what I’ve managed to figure out so far:

I know I both love and am terrified by being a mother.

I know I love my husband.*

I know that I have a strong survival instinct, and I am incredibly stubborn.

I know I’m good at my job.

I know I’m a good writer (prose mostly, ok at scripts, suck at  poetry).

I know I don’t trust doctors.

I know that generally, people tend to like me when they  meet me.

I know that I have absolutely NO fashion sense, nor do I have an interest in developing one.

I know I have some serious self-esteem issues

I know that purple is my favorite color, Faith No More is my favorite band, my favorite books are the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games trilogy, and the odd one out – “The Music of Chance” by Paul Auster. I’m a 90’s pop culture junkie and I love (modern) Dr. Who and (not-so-modern) Monty Python movies.

I know I’m a good cook, though I’m no longer sure what my favorite food is. It used to be lobster. I think it may now be french fries. Or maybe fresh-baked white bread with butter.

I know I’m a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, and a good sister. Though in my weakest moments I question all of that.

If you’re counting, that’s basically 12 things. Everything else is up in the air.

Wait – I know one more thing: That whatever I figure out about who I am, I want Bunny to be proud of that person. I know I need to lead by example.

The wreckage has cleared – it’s time to rebuild.

* Last night Shmerson and I had a bit of a mini-fight. It ended with me explaining all of this to him. He told me: “I don’t know what you’re going to be either, but I can’t wait to find out, because I know it’ll be amazing.” I love him so fucking much.

Havaya Metakenet Redux

23 Dec

Quietly and without much fanfare, two important milestones for this blog have gone unacknowledged. A couple of months ago I published my 450th post (interestingly enough, it was my official “one month” post). I am now (slowly) crawling toward post 500.

A week ago was my three year blogaversary.

On December 16th, 2010 – just a bit after midnight (so really – exactly one year and one week ago today) I published my first post (for savvy readers, you will notice it has a very similar title to the post announcing Bunny’s birth. This wasn’t by accident).  I had no readers. I had  no idea there were other blogs out there. I had just taken my first ever Xan.ax, and after months of hell trying to come to terms with two miscarriages and battling depression and panic attacks, I found some clarity. I found the drive to write again.

Little did I know what I had in store for me. What those three years would bring, and the world and people they would expose me to.

I admit, even though I was broken when I wrote my first post, I still didn’t think it could get any worse. Then it did. Then once again I didn’t think it could get any worse.

And it did again.

And then I broke into a million pieces and it was this space that kept me together. But also this space that kept me remembering things I didn’t want to remember any more.

So I denied. I podcasted. I ran away.

But then I came back. I came back here because no matter what, this space chronicles and honors the most difficult journey I have ever taken in my life. And I choose to continue to chronicle it. Because the journey doesn’t end with a baby.

When you lose so much, you cannot be magically fixed.

These past few weeks have been insane. Going back to work and trying to get back to living has been a challenge. I have been in a cocoon for so long it’s been a hard road to get to know myself again. And that road is just beginning. I am slowly reclaiming my body. I am slowly coming out of the hard shell I built around myself. Slowly. Slowly.

I won’t lie to you, it’s been hard. But it’s also been amazing. It has been – finally – one Havaya Metakenet after another. If you don’t feel like going back and reading that post – havaya metakenet is a Hebrew phrase meaning “restorative experience”. I’ve been longing for them since the moment I lost my first pregnancy (that particular post was written when this blog was about 4 months old). And I’ve been striving for them since the moment Bunny was born.

I’m not sure if it’s the end of the year, the fatigue, the transitions, or all of the above that have made me count the restorative experiences that I have had in the past few months. Lately, instead of flashing back to the most awful day of my life, I have been flashing back to the most wonderful day. That in itself is a restorative experience. It’s not that I no longer remember. I remember him. I think of him. I love him completely. But Shmerson and I told ourselves long ago that he would not want us to always be sad. So I think he would be happy that he is remembered more often now in his little sister’s gaze. Not in his mother’s trauma.

Today, while striving for a new restorative experience, I realized how many of these experiences I have already had in the past 3.5 months. It has all been so overwhelming, but today, I counted them.

  • My daughter, just out of the womb, being laid on my stomach as we waited for the cord to finish pulsing. I couldn’t see her. I had yet to see her. But I felt her breathing. I had my hand on her back. I could feel her –  tangible and present. It was the happiest moment of my life up until that point.
  • A few hours later, laying in recovery, trying out of habit to count kicks. Understanding that there were no more kicks to be counted. Getting up out of bed frantically and running to the nursery, to beg them to finish their tests so that I could finally have my daughter. Standing outside the nursery at 6am, sobbing. Waiting for them to open the door. Stepping in, being lead to my daughter. Looking at her properly for the first time. Taking her in. Understanding that she is living, she is breathing, she is real. She is mine. Well – at least trying to understand it. I don’t think I fully understand it even today.
  • Every day. Every song I sing to her as I put her to sleep or as we play. Every time she follows me across the room with her eyes. Every time she gives me one of her amazing smiles. She is so generous with those smiles. Every time we have a “conversation” with her coos. She is an open, loving, warm, happy, generous little person. I cannot believe I actually had a part in making her. She amazes me every. Single. Day.

bunny with a bunny

Nadav was born and died about a month before Purim (for those who don’t know – that’s the holiday where us Jews dress up and eat candy).

I was still broken. Shmerson had just started a new job. They encouraged employees to dress up. I still could barely get my butt out of the house. But I was determined to help him with a costume. We dressed him up like Dr. Who. I even made a homemade sonic screwdriver. I stayed at home that day. Happy that some fun was had. Broken that it was had without my son. I don’t know why those two days of making that costume stick out so much in my memory. But I feel those days. The ever-present pain, wanting to break through a facade I was putting on. Trying to be happy. Trying to live, to honor him. Barely able to do it, yet doing it ferociously.

Purim is still about 3 months away. Today I started a pinterest board. I want Shmerson to dress up as Dr. Who again. I want to be the Tardis. I want Bunny to be a little Dalek.

To add another restorative experience to the list.

With the hopes of adding many more to come.

To all of my wonderful readers out there, who have stuck it out for three long years, or who have just now found me, thank you for being here. Thank you for your patience as I navigate my way through this strange new world. I hope your 2014 is full of restorative experiences.

I’m striving to make mine chock full of them.

%d bloggers like this: