Old News: Past Blog Posts

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Grief and Gratitude

It's true that my tiny little corner of the 'blogosphere' has been suffering from an extreme silence as of late. I assure you though, it's not from lack of material or even motivation to write. In fact, I have at least a half dozen mostly-to-partially-complete 'posts' sitting idle and stale and cluttering up my notepad. I just somehow haven't managed to bring myself to publish any up to this point.  

I could easily spend the better part of our savings for a licensed mental health professional to conclude any number of reasons for why I am occasionally compelled to publicly disclose my deepest insecurities and inner (slash outer) dramas. I also know that more than one (former?) reader has expressed their distaste toward being exposed to such personal subject matter and frankly, I can't blame them. I've started re-reading old posts with new eyes and the fragments I have composed in recent months have easily fallen into the tired and pathetic realm of over self-indulgence and unpleasant self-pity and thus have been systematically deemed unsuitable for public consumption.

I have written rambling prose detailing how my forced workout hiatus has robbed me of my favorite leisure-time, most effective stress-relief, part-time income, social support system, healthy body-image, a major part of my identity, and a big chunk of self-worth.  

I have fretted about my apparent innate inability to 'take it easy' and how my stubborn pride has taken a left-right sucker-punch combo by my present circumstances. 

There are lengthy compositions whining and sniveling over a body that was previously perfectly strong and capable, which is now held captive by an irritable uterus and contractions that impair my gait, disturb my sleep, occasionally cause me to cry out in pain for no apparent reason other than to call my sanity into question by the casual observer, and more than once rendered me almost completely paralyzed by pain. If this kid ever asks how long I was in labor with him, the official response will be 'more than 4 months' -- followed by a swift kick in the pants.

I'll spare you any more boring and self-serving complaints. And I most certainly won't launch into my (thus far internal) response to the suggestion that my symptoms are simply 'the baby kicking' or 'normal pregnancy discomfort' (because you don't need to see me acting even more ugly and hostile). 

In summary, these last few months have been less than ideal and frankly, I'm not wild about the (adult) person who is currently inhabiting this body I don't recognize (the baby seems cool at least). I am suddenly struggling to be a effective employee, decent mother, and adequate wife. The people around me on a daily basis are resigned to watch me flinch and shuffle around and fumble through even the most menial tasks. It's embarrassing and strangely humbling. Have I mentioned I am also not an ideal patient?  Flailing is my new status quo.

Here are some positives (finally): My friends and family have been beyond supportive, sympathetic, and helpful. I am eternally grateful for the occasional meal or offer of childcare, even if it goes against the very fibers of my being to accept well-meaning help without feeling somehow damaged and flawed. I am left worrying that I haven't offered enough support and sympathy to the people in my life when things weren't running so smoothly for them in past or present situations. 

I am also acutely aware of the fact that I need to get a grip already. People have ugly shit in their lives. Things get messy and complicated, and yes, even physically painful at times. Those cosmic sucker-punches land all over the place, all the time, every single day and in much more devastating ways than I have experienced in my life. I mean, as I type this, part of my city is in flames (more on that later....)

The difference is that others don't immediately feel compelled to type up their grievances at 2am and send them into cyberspace for all the world to read. I  suppose I have become an emotional exhibitionist, and even I find that to be utterly annoying.  

And so, consider this my swan song in terms of wallowing...at least related to this pregnancy. I will update as I see appropriate, sure. But, from this point further, consider me a cautious and determined optimist. It's November after all, and I have resolved to join the ranks of the ever-grateful Facebook poster. 

For example:

1. I am thankful for modern medicine. It has brought me two thriving little boys and safely to the happy sanctuary of the third trimester with my current pregnancy.  There are so many women in the world who have not been so fortunate and I would be remiss to appear ungrateful for these enormous blessings.  

2. I am thankful for a 'long cervix'. Every other week (and now weekly), I hold my breath, eyes focused narrowly on a glowing monitor, as a cold probe invades my body to determine the status of my cervical mucus plug. While my outrageously knowledgable MFM has advised against my entering any 'cervical length competitions' (causing me to briefly ponder the actual existence of such a bizarre event), mine has stayed relatively steady and strong over the last 14 weeks. The wincing, waddling and bruised ego are a very small price to pay for this sweet piece of reassurance.  

3. I am grateful for an unbelievably well-informed specialist who spouts off results of peer-reviewed research with mind-spinning speed and has stopped at nothing to keep me pregnant. This is a man who doesn't hesitate to acknowledge and treat my symptoms (I am presently on seven prescribed meds and in desperate need of a pill box) or return my weekend calls to the exchange.
4. I am eternally thankful for a loving husband and thoughtful friends and family. Even during another insane season of 70-80 hour work-weeks, my husband has stepped willingly and without complaint into super-husband/daddy mode: keeping our household running efficiently, preparing meals, carrying the endless parade of laundry up and down stairs, and kissing away the inevitable toddler head 'bonks' and unexplainable tantrums. He endures tears from all directions and has soothed and comforted me as I've writhed in pain while awaiting the chemical effects of my meds. 

Family has provided meals, morale support, and last-minute childcare without flinching. Friends have endured my drama, sent encouraging texts and FB messages, and hugged away my hormone-fueled tears. We even received an amazing lasagna and salad from a remarkably thoughtful sorority sister, who was years ahead of my pledge class and practically a stranger outside of Facebook. It's enough to make me wonder how saintly I must have been in a previous life, because the person I am presently embodying doesn't deserve such outstanding love and support.  

4. I am grateful for a steady job and understanding coworkers. Though they have every right to talk smack behind my back about the uselessness of a physical therapist who can't provide adequate treatment to any patient requiring more than only a small amount of physical assist, I have heard no such complaints. In previous pregnancies, it bothered me to no end when patients or coworkers commented on my continued participation in the daily physical demands of my profession. I spent my days reassuring people that I was fine, and it's certainly plausible that I was fine and cannot conclusively determine the role of my activity level on the prematurity of my deliveries. However, the irritability and discomfort presently triggered by even the most basic movements (or positions) which I have experienced over the last 17 weeks -- since my cervix was stitched together by a glorified packing strip -- is something entirely new to me with this pregnancy and I am still struggling to make sense of it and appropriately compensate for it. During moments of need, my generous co-workers generally jump in to help without hesitation or (in some cases) without being asked, in a generous and compassionate act I find to be deserving of my eternal respect and gratitude. 

At 31 weeks and 6 days, I am officially more pregnant then I have ever been and I am beyond thrilled. As a very pregnant Facebook friend quipped about my newly accomplished gestational period: Welcome to hell

I am so happy to be here.

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