Saturday, June 15, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Life has caused me to put this blog on the back-burner for a while; I’ve had a couple of inquiries about what's going on/where I’ve been.  This is going to be a chatty and un-inspired catch-up, for anyone else who may have noticed my internet silence and wondered where I’ve been. This entry serves as a much needed diagnostic self-check for me, too, so I might as well indulge myself.  

I have been in stasis.  

After weeks-- months-- of proclaiming, “No way I am going to make it to my due date, I was stunned to find that I made it to June 9th... then missed it... and now George and I are well past it!  If I were superstitious, I’d truly believe that I’d jinxed myself.

George, still in utero, just before our due date.

The past several weeks have been emotionally challenging for me and my husband.  May kicked off with John Paul’s First Holy Communion, which was wonderful but the preparation for which I’d agonized over and stressed over, because in all honesty, as the third trimester progressed, I’d felt increasingly overwhelmed in trying to get through my regular obligations to the family: homeschooling academics, getting to extra-curriculars, improving my relationship/parenting/discpline techniques, John Paul’s therapies, and basic household management.  Plus Emre had just resumed graduate school, and entered the most hectic time of year in his profession: concert season/end-of-the school year.
I was staring down long hours on my own with the kids, and entering the “labor-could-be-any-time-now” stage.  I was anxious.

A week after J.P.’s Communion, Emre’s mom fell seriously ill and needed to go to the ER.  She was admitted for a gall bladder surgery, and had several complications.  Happily, she has recovered and is home now, resuming her normal routine, but for two weeks solid my husband, her only child, was at her bedside.  She had a bad reaction to the morphine post-op; he rode out her confusion and mania with her.  The kids and I saw him briefly at the end of each night.  He bore it all well, but after two weeks of worry about her needs and my own impending labor, I started to come undone.   Thankfully, her sister drove up from Florida so that my mother-in-law could return to her own home to recouperate; this was a relief to us all.  

Then my doctor thought perhaps George’s kidney was dilated, that he might be a tad underweight, that I had too much fluid in the amniotic sac.   He said it was “probably nothing,” and “just a precaution,” but he scheduled me to have an ultrasound and the hospital and be seen by another OB, to discern whether or not George would require extra care at delivery.  I worked hard to not stress about it, but yes: I was stressed.  Luckily, the other OB (whose manner and style bore an uncanny resemblance to  Dr. House) assured me and Emre that the fluid was still in the normal range, that George’s kidney was slightly dilated but may clear up at delivery, and would not preclude me from delivering at the smaller “less sophisticated” birthing center in my local hospital; he’d just need an ultrasound in his first two days outside the womb to verify that there were no blockages.  Furthermore, my own doctor's office had his weight off; he was bigger than 6lbs 10oz; he was more like 8 lbs. 5oz.   

Relief.  Except, George was already so far down that Dr. House didn’t think I’d make it to my due date the following Sunday.  This was on Thursday.  My girls’ dress rehearsal and dance recital fell on the same day as my due date.

Anna was looking forward to receiving her third year trophy, and she was worried about what would happen to her partner in the show without her.  Every co-dependent, desire-to-please/fix/make OK alarm sounded in my body; I wanted my girls there even if I was sweating it out and pushing George into the world at that very moment!  I did not want to disappoint them... but if Emre was with me as labor coach, was that feasible?  Practical?  Prudent?  Yes, I had a dance mom on standby, willing to come and pick them up and do their hair... but I don’t know her well, neither do my girls, and while Anna would be old enough to handle this upheaval in stride, would little Gianna manage?  What if one of them got hurt or fell ill while backstage?  What to do!?  My husband helped me to discern that I was stressing out  over the possibility of separation; the actual separation into unchartered territory would  create more anxiety for me during labor and that was exactly what I didn’t need.  Furthermore, my concerns were not entirely paranoid.   

I saw he was right.  We took a “play-it-by-ear”approach.  As it turns out, my worrying, plotting and planning was unnecessary.  On Sunday morning, I made it to the rehearsal and took some stunning pictures.  This totally exhausted me.  In the evening, Emre brought his mom and the girls to the recital; I stayed home with John Paul.  I ordered the DVD and will watch it with my own mom when it arrives; I hadn’t wanted my own family to travl here from Massachusetts, because I’d figured out months ago that would be too much stress for me to co-ordinate.  

Have I mentioned that my husband is a band teacher?  That week he’d had his end-of-year concert.  The following week he had a small ensemble concert, and a field trip to perform at a local senior center.  Have I mentioned that he works an hour away?  That sometimes traffic makes the commute longer?  That we have had several massive rainstorms in the past seven days, the type that makes driving really slow?  Is it just me, or is that a recipe for uneasiness?  

And in all of this my hormones have raged, painful memories of past events and regrets have spilled from cracked open memory drawers; I have wept, raged, and wept some more.  No wonder poor George seems so steadfast in staying put; why would he want to emerge to all of this?

Where have I been? I have been humbled.  I have had to turn to others for help: watching my kids, unloading my frustrations, fears and angst on friends.  There have been no game faces here these days. 

Most recently, after submitting to a procedure to strip my membranes to start labor, I had child care in the form of a friend's two daughters, here for two days, overnight.  What began as promising, with eight hours of sporadic contractions that grew closer together and seemed to further effacement, ended with disappointment when said contractions all but disappeared before dawn.  The best laid plans of mice and men, awry again.  I felt guilty for Emre’s having missed two more days of work, again.  I felt foolish for needing help, asking for help and then having no baby to show for it.  

You know something?  I've concluded that this is good for my ego; it keeps me from being inflated by pride.  These situations remind me that I am. not. perfect.  I never have been perfect.  I am human, like everyone else.  God has once more shown me that I am not the one in control here.  I need to stop striving to take those reins away from him.

This is where I have been: stuck in a continuum of emotional anxiety, balanced out by a logical gratefulness as life works itself out, entirely aware that God’s grace alone sustains me.  I couldn’t keep on without Him.  I have learned, with humility, to open myself up and accept the help of others.  Furthermore, I have learned to ask for the help of others.  I have shared my ugly and honest struggles with my husband and my friends.   

All of this has been draining, time consuming and a lot to process.  I am better for it; I think I am more real for it all.  I'm sure I've linked this tune here before, but it is, once again, fitting for where I've been, so here it goes:

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