It’s ironic; I’ve gotten so used to writing topical posts, that I’m having the hardest time beginning a life update post. There are very few people I would enjoy reading about their day-to-day lives (after all, that’s what Facebook is for, and it’s much more visual). So I don’t write about day to day stuff here. If I do, I try to style it in some unique format. Makes it challenging for me as a writer, and hopefully entertaining for you.
My last post was back in September of 2018. I’ve had that date glaring at me angrily for the past eight months, like that annoying house repair that you forget, and then stumble upon every few weeks and you knock yourself in the head for not fixing it. Then the kids start screaming or laundry needs to be switched around and you forget about it until the next time you trip over it.
So, this will be one of those old-style, life-blog formats, the “in-case-you-were-wondering-but-probably-not” posts. In reality, it’s really something I’m doing to make myself feel less guilty for ignoring this online writing sketchbook of mine for so long. Pregnancy nesting has manifested itself in trying to tie up loose ends, and this happens to be one of them.
Since becoming a full-time SAHM in 2016, I’ve always been afraid of losing myself in my girls and marriage. My identity- one that is based on who I am married to (stay-at-home) and who I care for (-mom) has always gotten under my skin. It’s selfish, I know, but I don’t like what I am (or rather, what I feel like I am) being completely dependent on the existence of another relationship or person(s). Now, I know my identity is so much more than that. But it’s hard to feelthat when my days are consumed with cleaning up after small children who can’t control their bowel movements and cooking dinners that no one seems to eat.
Writing has always been my outlet for these frustrations. Even though the majority of my blog posts have been about my children or marriage, I’m still able to exert some creativity and personal perspective on a topic. If I can make myself (and hopefully others) laugh over the insanity of sleep training, or dressing a two-year-old, it gives me a sense of control over this stage of life. Do I actually have any control over any of this? Absolutely not. But the illusion is nice.
Around the beginning of October, I took a leap of faith and sent one of my old blog posts to our local paper (the one about Halloween on South Jackson Street). Outside of a post-partum depression post I wrote for the PCA Women’s Ministry blog, this was the first piece I had submitted since college. To give you a historical frame of reference, I hadn’t had a buy-line since the iPhone first came out.
Obviously it needed tweaking, but it was accepted, and was published around the end of October. Our little town has a lovely little paper, so the readership is on a smaller scale…. But I had a buy-line. Opening the paper that morning and seeing my name in print after so many years… it still makes me smile.
One thing led to another, and I began writing for the newspaper’s feature magazine. I go through three stages while I’m writing each piece— the excitement of getting an assignment, the anger of allowing myself to get sucked into something so time-consuming, and then the joy of sending in a completed project. My husband always laughs at me when I complain about writing a piece- he always says that the high I get from finishing it overrides everything and to just shut up and keep writing.
So this continued swimmingly for the majority of the fall and winter. And then I got pregnant. Little Adelaide Jane has been nicknamed Calamity Jane. This pregnancy has been the hardest, by far, than the other two.
Towards the end of my first trimester, I started showing symptoms of biliary dyskinesia (when the muscles in your gall bladder loosen up and don’t contract; pregnancy hormones can cause this… basically it presented like I had gall stones). The day before my second trimester, when it is usually safe to have surgery, I had my gall bladder removed. It’s actually quite common for pregnant women to have their gall bladder removed, but I was so early in the window of a safe time for surgery, I was incredibly worried that we would lose Addie. However, due to the symptoms, I wasn’t eating or sleeping that much, so she would have continued to be malnourished until I had the surgery. The potential risks of the surgery outweighed the damages that could have happened if I waited longer. It was difficult for Asa during this time, because as a general surgeon, this is what he does- he loves taking gall bladders out! Just not his wife’s! I think he struggled determining whether to look at the situation as a doctor or as a husband and father. In the end, all three of us survived, and my abdomen looks like a treasure map from all the scars.
Four weeks later, at seventeen weeks, I went to my high-risk OBGYN in Jackson for a routine cervical check. One of the theories of why Bea came at 29 weeks is that my cervix was damaged during Gracie’s delivery, and was unable to carry the weight of a child full term as a consequence. The doctor measured it, and said that it was thinner than normal, but she wasn’t sure if it was just how I carried, or if it was a sign that I needed a cerclage (it’s where they stitch up the cervix, keeping it from thinning out and a baby basically falling out). She wanted to see me a week later, just in case. I pitched a fit because driving two-hours round trip, plus finding childcare, is a pain in the butt, but whatever. A week later, I was measured and had dropped so significantly below the threshold of needing a cerclage, that I was scheduled to have the procedure done at UMMC, asap. My initial reaction was to burst into laughter and say, “Of course I need one. What else could go wrong?!” On the drive home, I swung from maniacal laughter at the complete mess this pregnancy was becoming to sobbing out of fear that once again, Addie and I were going to go through another procedure together.
Usually cerclages are done early in the pregnancy, but since I was so far along with Addie, the risks of puncturing the amniotic sac were significantly higher, which is why we had to have it done at UMMC. There were a few hiccups, but overall the procedure was a success. At the rate I was going prior to the cerclage, we would have lost Addie a few weeks before viability if it hadn’t been caught.
Since then, things have been blessedly uneventful. I have progesterone shots each week which are horrifically painful, although I have a regimen of applying prescription lidocaine cream and a topical anesthetic spray prior to the shot, which brings the pain scale number down a few notches (as in, I only favor my arm after the shot for 24 hours, as opposed to lying in the fetal position sobbing). I’m not allowed to exercise or do anything strenuous, and I have to lie down each afternoon for a few hours to get through the day without being in too much pain. Thankfully, Bea still naps and Gracie has quiet time, so our down times line up well.
The girls eat a lot of junk food and watch a lot of TV, and Asa cooks more often. Since Gracie is out of school, I have someone help me with the girls a few mornings a week; I have doctor’s appointments almost every week, and it allows me to take the girls on one-on-one errands or activities, since I have trouble handling both of them without pulling a muscle (how sad is that?!). There are certain motions I’ve learned that cause A LOT of pain- pushing a grocery cart is one of them. So Wal-Mart Pickup has been a blessing from heaven lately.
Overall, I keep telling myself this is a season in life, and it’ll all be over in less than ten weeks. Seeing what a fun little person Bea has grown into, despite her traumatic arrival, is a daily reminder that all this mess that my body has put us through with Addie will be worth it. This has also forced me to take a closer look at my mental health; honestly, that’s enough for a completely different post altogether.
To bring this post full-circle: I’ve had to put the majority of my writing on the backburner. I feel like I was just hitting my stride with it, when the pregnancy complications derailed it. BUT, it will continue, eventually, and I have several projects on my hard drive that I visit occasionally. The past few months have taught me to focus on what’s really important: are my children and husband fed, clothed, and healthy? Yes. Are they eating Hamburger Helper and never ear their shoes on the correct feet? Doesn’t matter. Everything else will just be neglected until after Addie arrives. Including this blog. But surely this post buys me at least four months of inactivity, right?