3 Months Later…

This morning my phone alarm rang at 7:30am, after 5 hours of restless, nervous sleep. My alarm sounds like beach music. It took me a long time to find an alarm that doesn’t scare the shit out of me in the mornings, yet wakes me up on time. Not too adrenally, not too soft that I sleep through it for the first 10 minutes. I got up and tiptoed out of the room as not to wake husband and my toddler. I got as ready as I was going to get ready for a 9am management accounting midterm exam on a Sunday morning. I threw on yoga pants, a long black t-shirt, and a black and gray hoodie. I packed water, an apple, my pencils and calculator, made my shake and was out the door only 10 minutes past the time I was planning to leave.

It was weird finding a parking so close to the entrance of the business administration faculty building. It was even weirder climbing up the stairs to find the second floor with the bare minimum amount of lights turned on, abandoned looking, and eerily quiet. I found room 207 and turned on the lights. I was the first one there. I got to choose the best seat. I choose a seat in the very last row of the middle section. I opened my big leather purse and took out everything I needed on my desk to take the midterm: three pencils, a pencil eraser, a pencil sharpener, a bottle of water, a travel pack of kleene, my burts bees original lip balm, and my student ID. They always do a double take because the picture on my ID was taken 3-4 years ago; I have black hair on it.

Another student walks in, and chooses a seat. Another, then another, and then another. We are all sitting in silence, trying to absorb last minute theory and formulas into our brains. Two girls walk in, laughing and talking loudly. They choose seats next to each other, and continue talking and laughing loudly. Serenity now! That’s what I tell myself.

That perfect spot to sit that I chose? The one next to a window? It’s blinding me in the sun now, intermittently. There’s a fluorescent light right above my head that’s making my pencil writing glare. I have to tilt my head to see what I’m writing. When I have anything to write. The midterm is 15 pages long, and every time I turn a page my heart sinks a little deeper. I’ve got chapters 1 to 4. Finally. It’s sunk into my brain. I was just not getting chapters 5 and 6 at all last night, when I had to call it quits at 2am. The questions seemed to be mostly from chapters 5 and 6.

If I pass this midterm it’s going to be a miracle. I feel so disappointed in myself. 14 hours of studying yesterday, seemingly for nothing. I feel so stupid. Why can’t I understand management accounting more easily?

It’s 3 months later and I’m even more worn out than I was when I wrote that last post. I started a sore throat today  How can I start a new cold on top of this cold that I’ve had for 3-4 weeks? That’s it, I really have to try harder.

I’m 99.9% ready to send the email to drop out of choir. I have thought about it so long and hard, and it was going to be something I do for me, but I just have to sacrifice it to spend more time studying management accounting, if I even have a hope to pass after this midterm. I have ordered a poster of a window, to put in my dreadful tiny cubicle at work. A window that looks over New York City. I also ordered a poster of a beach scene. It’ll be a cubicle with an identity crisis, but at least I hope it won’t be as depressing. Last but not least, I’m thinking of switching one of my minors. My university just launched an entire online human ressources management minor, and that might be a great compromise for me. It would allow me more time with my son during his waking hours, yet continue chipping away at this BComm.

All other suggestions for a happy, balanced, more relaxed, less exhausted life are welcome!

The Oxygen Mask

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday, for some prescription refills. My doctor gave me the whole oxygen mask analogy story blah blah blah. She told me that I look exhausted, and she layed it on thick. My blood sugars are out of control and my blood pressure is too high. She ended by saying “It’s not just you now. Who’s going to take care of your son if you’re hospitalized?” Geeze. Hospitalized. She didn’t break me down, I didn’t cry. But she’s right. Right now I have a 2 month break from university, and I should really make my health a priority.

I need to make sleep a priority, add regular yoga into my life and other forms of exercise, to stop eating so much take out food, and most importantly, I need go eat at regular times and remember to take my insulin every time. I need to take the time to spend time in nature, I need to cook more, and I need to vacuum more. That last one has nothing to do with my health, but I really do need to vacuum more.

I’ve asked for more help recently, and I’ve gotten it. I’ve started nightly meditation. I’ve read a lot of self help books. We’ve hired a babysitter for the first time in ages and went on a date. We went on a few dates recently in fact, thanks to my wonderful in laws. It’s a good start, but let’s see how much I can improve in the next month.

My life is so good I am dancing with joy!

It was an image that spoke to me, one of the first times I created a personal vision board. There’s a bright blue sky with little white puffy clouds, and a dog dancing. The writing on the picture says “My life is so good I am dancing with joy!” Years ago, I actually chuckled as I pinned the picture to my vision board, thinking “If only!” The dancing dog has made it onto my new vision board every year since.

I don’t know if the picture or the vision board have anything to do with it, but it happened. My life IS so good that I AM dancing with joy! I also don’t know if the vision board has anything to do with it, but my house that I love so much looks oddly similar to the magazine cutting of a house with a back deck and a screen house with trees in the back that I had stuck to my vision board. I saved the little torn picture of the house from my 2014 vision board. It’s now in my ‘mortgage’ file in my filing cabinet.

My life is everything I dreamed it could be. I am married to the love of my life, and he loves me exactly as I am. He loves me, he impresses me, he takes care of us. I used to think that this kind of love wasn’t for me. I LOVE love love our little house. Because I’m pretty minimalistic and anti-clutter, we fit nicely in it, and it fit nicely into our budget. The walls are full of beautiful things that literally make me smile. Paintings that I’ve painted, family pictures, HUGE pictures of my husband and my son together.

My son. Oh my God, my son.

I have a huge, debilitating head cold right now. The silver lining of that is that I’m here taking the time to write this blog post, while JJ is going crazy in his exersaucer, outside of my germ radius. I’ve missed blogging. My husband is my rock and stepped up for me since this head cold hit me yesterday. Maybe I should also take the time to paint a painting and write another bit of story in the novel I’m writing in my spare time. I’m listening to the new episode of the Serial podcast as I’m blogging and drinking coffee. I’m starting to think that my head cold, and the stormy weather outside, were meant to have me relax a little bit and take the time to take care of myself beyond the great eating and working out twice a day we’ve been doing lately.

My son. When I tried to write about how grateful I am to be his mother earlier, I teared up so much that I moved on to a new paragraph. I won’t lie, the first couple of months were so hard. Traumatic birth, busted open incision, daily nurses to change my dressing, carrying that damn vac attached to my insicion everywhere, the constant crying. My mother in law and my husband were blessings from heaven. She came to relieve me of my night shift every morning at 9am every day for two months. I would sleep until the nurse came to change my dressing at 11am and she would leave after lunch. It was truly a blessing. We’re so lucky to have her. JJ was diagnosed with reflux, prescribed medication, and he has chilled the fuck out. I would do it all over a hundred times for my son.

My son is 9 months and 5 days old today. He has three teeth out and three more piercing his gums. He gives us big scrunchy nosed toothy smiles. He used to tolerate meat purees and chunkier purees, but since his teeth came in all he will eat is pureed fruit with quinoa, yogurt etc. He thinks eggs are gross. He loves the beatboxing guy on yo gabba gabba. He refuses to sit, but wants to crawl so badly. He laughs big belly laughs when we pretend his toys are kissing his face and hands. He is the sunshine of my life. I’m so grateful that I get to be his mom!

Other happy good things:

Our cruise is in less than a month! I have bucket list concert tickets for Celine Dion in Montreal in September, and Pearl Jam’s 25th anniversary tour in May in Quebec City. Julien’s band got nominated for an East Coast Music Award, which is SO awesome! I am so proud of them and so happy for them. I finally decided to start writing a novel, and I’m over 25,000 words in. I have decided to stop fearing failure and just start painting. My soul loves it. We are on a great path, financially. We are smart and resourceful. I am making healthy eating choices and working out twice a day, my blood sugars have never been this great ever, and I have done so much personal development work, that I feel like my return to work after a year of mat leave will be okay.

That’s the big cloud over my head. I NEED to be jazzed up about work. My employer is amazing and I am so grateful to be employed there, but my specific job is soul sucking. I’ve decided that I will seriously consider other opportunities that light me up.

Maybe that should go on my vision board – Light me up!

 

Grandpa Got The Girlfriend Makeover

This past weekend I met my dad’s new girlfriend for the very first time. I won’t lie. I’m happy that my dad is happy, and she seems like a nice woman, but it’s so hard to see my dad’s hand on the thigh on a woman that’s not his wife of 35 years – my mom. My dad got the girlfriend makeover. He was wearing dark denim jeans, with an argyle sweater. My dad, who’s been wearing the same version of the same pair of light blue Wranglers for all of my life. I don’t know how to reconcile his happiness with my sadness that mom is gone, and how seeing him with his girlfriend is a reminder that mom is gone. I’ve met her, but I don’t know how much time I’m prepared to spend with her yet.

Jerome is going to be 7 months in a week. How crazy is that? I can’t believe I ever worried about loving him enough. I am so in love with this little guy. Seeing my husband and my son spending time together makes my heart swell and my eyes overflow with happiness. I got this tattoo recently, on my wrist where I see it all day every day. When I look at it my heart is filled with gratitude. I can’t believe that I finally have the family I’ve longed for for so long. I’m not just talking about my husband and my son, but also my husband’s family.

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University is going well, although I’m just going through the motions, doing the bare minimum. With the high risk pregnancy, the wedding, my mother’s decreasing health and death, my brother’s wedding, my dad’s new girlfriend, my dad and brother buying a house and moving, my dad selling his and mom’s house… all those emotions, it’s taking such a toll on me. I think that I’m still a happy person who laughs a lot, but I cry every day when I think about mom/the girlfriend. I’m dreading Christmas logistics because of all this. But – Christmas!!

Because I get to be home all day every day this year, I’ve decided to decorate for Christmas way early. We have two Christmas trees up (one on each level), and there’s glitter everyfuckingwhere! It’s awesome!!

Drained

Drained. I feel so drained. My heart is full of love and joy and sadness at the same time, but I’m physically drained. We buried my mother yesterday. The past month has been a whirlwind of sleepless nights and roadtrips up north while my mother was dying in the hospital, for her funeral, for her burial, and we have to go back soon to help dad settle things. So many hugs and handshakes. I always come back home smelling of perfumes and incense. It’s the kind of tired where lifting your arms up to wash your hair feels excruciating. Sometimes, when I get the chance to sleep more than 2 hours in a row, I can’t sleep. I just lie awake in bed, thinking about my mother. I wish I was thinking about good memories and reminiscing, but instead when I close my eyes I keep re-entering the hospital room where my mother was lying in her death bed, stiff and cold, her mouth open wide. It hasn’t been easy with a newborn and an open incision traveling back and forth to Bathurst and Tracadie, spending time in a hospital, and sleeping in beds that weren’t ours. I wouldn’t be this ok without my amazing mother in law and wonderful husband.

Mr. JJ has started smiling more and more, and I’m so in love with him. I still can’t believe I get to be his mother. I’m glad that my mom got to finally be a grandmother, even if it was only for the last 6 weeks of her life. If my son wasn’t born 5 weeks early, my mom wouldn’t have gotten to know him. I still believe that everything happens for a reason.

Jerome’s Birth Day

On Monday, April 27, I had my weekly appointments with the obgyn and the diabetes specialist at the obstetrics clinic. One of the two doctors told me : “Your blood pressure is high, but I think we’re okay for another week.” The other doctor said “I just checked your blood results and there are proteins in your urine. You have pre-eclampsia. Take your file and bring it to the third floor, you’re being admitted today.” She left the room so I could get dressed, and I just collapsed in tears in Julien’s arms. I was so terrified. I was only 35 weeks, it was too early for this baby to come! By the time I was admitted, they had me track every mililiter I drank and peed. I was barely peeing, retaining every drop. Baby was unusually large for a 35 week old baby, measuring around 8lbs. They were concerned with shoulder dystocia, which is common with babies of diabetic mothers. Baby was also breeched in a bad, transverse way. They said that if we attemped a vaginal delivery, chances were high that I would be one of those moms whose umbelical cord comes out dangling when her water breaks, which is dangerous for baby. They told me that they were shooting for a c-section on Friday, May 1. Holy crap.

On April 30th, one doctor came to see me around 11am and told me that my blood pressure was high but still manageable, and that it was better to keep baby baking in my ‘natural incubator’ (belly) as long as we could, and that the c-section wouldn’t happen the next day, that we would see on a day to day basis. At 2pm, the other doctor came in and said – Nope, your blood pressure is too high, we’re going to give you magnesium sulfate to bring down your blood pressure and protect your brain, and we’re doing the c-section RIGHT NOW, and you will have to go recover in intensive care after, because of the magnesium sulfate. Holy shit. She wasn’t even done her sentence that 5-6 medical professionals barge in with their IV’s and other things they needed to do to me. I burst crying and for once stood up for myself and said : “Woah, woah, woah. I need to call my husband, he needs to be here.” Julien was working, trying to finish everything in time for the next day’s possible c-section, although I had just told him that it wouldn’t be the net day after all.

Julien must have raced to the hospital, because as I had five or six nurses trying to insert IV’s into my stubborn veins, he walked in the room and gave me an encouraging look. It reassured me so much just to have him there next to me. One of the nurses went to get scrubs and instructed him to change into them. He came out of the washroom as that same nurse was shaving my vagina. (I was huuuuge and not expecting to be admitted. I was pretty hairy everywhere.) She asked if he had his camera. I said “For what? To take pictures of my vagina being shaved?” All the nurses errupted into laughter. I guess I can’t stop making jokes even when I’m freaking the fuck out.

They wheeled my bed into the pre-operation room, where we proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. There were 2 emergency c-sections that needed to happen before mine. At some point the nurse looks at my magnesium sulfate IV and says: “Oh no!”. I’m thinking “What? Oh no? Am I going to die?” Apparently one of the nurses had set the magnesium sulfate drip thing too fast and I got it in 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes. Turns out it wasn’t a big deal and I didn’t die. That nurse that was taking care of me in the pre-op room was set to finish her shift at 3pm, and because they were so short staffed, ended up having to stay by my side until the whole thing was over, around midnight. She happened to be the lactation consultant at the hospital. She asked if I wanted her to attempt manually extracting milk from my boobs for baby, as they were expecting baby to have a blood sugar low after birth, as is typical of diabetic moms, and breastmilk is the best thing for them to recover from that. She showed Julien how to manually extract milk from the other boob. I’m laying there, a bunch of stuff dripping in my IV, freaking the fuck out with anxiety, with Julien and the lactation consultant squeezing milk out of me. At some point I also had a blood sugar low, so they added some sugar in my IV.

When it was finally my turn to go in the operating room, they wheeled my bed next to the operation table, and male doctors or nurses, I don’t remember, transfered me from the bed to the cold, hard operating table. There was a cushion under my butt. With my huge belly up in the air like that, and my head several inches below my waist level, I could barely breathe. I was taking short, shallow breaths, felt like crying and freaking out. I could see Julien through the glass window, but he wasn’t allowed in the OR until I had received my epidural. The anaesthesist had scared the hell out of me earlier by talking to me about the risks of administering epidurals to obese women. When he saw my back, I heard him say “Oh, that’s not so bad”. I had another doctor holding me in his arms, to make sure I stayed still. He was telling me how much he liked my tattoos. Julien said that he had tattoos himself, but I don’t remember seeing any. The anaesthesist successfully inserted the epidural and said “You’ll soon start to feel numb.” My legs were already completely numb by the time he said that sentence. What a freaky feeling. They strapped my wrists down at 90 degree angles to my body, which also felt so weird, and then Julien was finally able to come and be by my side. I heard one doctor say : “Oh we forgot to put that cushion back under her butt, do you want me to insert it?” Another doctor said “No, it’s okay, she already has a…. natural wedge.” I think that was a polite way to say I have a fat ass. I could breathe so much easier without the cushion though. Just having Julien there touching me helped calm me down quite a bit too. But I was still so scared!

I heard Julien say: “Do you hear him?” Me: “Who?” Julien: “The baby! They took him out!” I didn’t hear him. I was focussed on breathing and not panicking. A few seconds after that they asked Julien if he wanted to come see the baby and cut the cord. They told him to be careful to not slip on all the blood on the floor. A few seconds after that they placed baby Jerome on my chest. Julien and another doctor were holding him there in place, as I couldn’t because my hands were still strapped down. I looked at my baby’s tiny crying face and thought: “Wow, he’s beautiful. I can’t believe we made such a beautiful little human being!”

I know they told me previously that the closing me up procedures should take about one hour, but to me it felt like it lasted five minutes. Baby Jerome had to be taken to the NICU because his temperature was a little too low, and also he ended up indeed having a low blood sugar episode. I was wheeled downstairs into intensive care to recover. As my one-on-one intensive care nurse was pushing on my uterus, cleaning the blood out of my vagina, and seeing me fully naked, we were chit chatting, and turns out I went to school with her and knew exactly who she was. Gah. I hadn’t seen her in 20 years, so hopefully I don’t see her for another 20. That was a little embarrassing.

A lot of people say that the day their child(ren) were born was the most beautiful/best day of their whole life. For me, it was more like the scariest day of my life. I was honestly scared I was going to die right there, and terrified that something would go wrong with the baby. We stayed at the hospital for 11 days after baby’s birth. They wanted to make sure that Jerome was okay, since he was born at 35 weeks and 2 days. Everyone kept forgetting that he was a preemie, because he is so big! Then on day five, my c-section incision burst open. I bled all over the floor. That was scary.

I gained 101lbs during my pregnancy. 37lbs just during the last three weeks. In the long, hard, eleven days that we had to stay in the hospital after Jerome’s birth, I lost 65lbs of that. Holy water retention!

Today I am 15 days post-partum, and I am still recovering at home. Extra mural nurses come to our house every day to change my bandage and fabric strips they insert into  my big gaping hole, aka shotgun wound as Julien calls it. I am extremely lucky to have my mother in law. She’s been coming every single day to help with chores and baby while I sleep and recover during the day. I take the night shift with baby. With feeding my sleepy baby and pumping breast milk, I get to sleep in 2 hour increments, if all goes according to plan. During the day between the extra mural nurse calls and visit, and other things, I get to sleep a couple of two hour increments since my awsome mother in law is here to help.

I have never had so little energy in my whole life. I can’t even explain it. Just walking from the car to the house and I’m positively drained. I can’t even lift my arms up.

But when I look at my son’s beautiful face, I know this is all worth it. I know I will eventually recover, my big belly hole will eventually close, and I will eventually get my energy back and will enjoy going for walks with my son in his stroller and I will get to enjoy the nice ‘almost summer’ temperatures we’ve been having. It’s hard to believe it was snowing on the day I was admitted in the hospital!

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Baby, we’re so lucky!

Baby and I are so lucky to have such an amazing baby daddy. I could write a whole blog post about everything he does for us, the delicious food he’s been cooking for us, the baby furniture he’s assembling, how he’s been to every single one of my many many prenatal medical appointments, starting at week 6! I won’t even get into the embarrassing stuff.

I had another ultrasound this week to check on baby’s growth. He’s a big big baby. Bigger than the 97th percentile. It’s been a concern all along, as I’m a diabetic. Baby Jerome, at 32 weeks, weighs 6lbs 2oz, according to their calculations. He has a big belly and broad shoulders. At the next ultrasound they will be able to determine if this baby should be born via c-section or not. I’m hoping for not. I’ve been trying to keep my blood sugars super strict, but it’s hard. Even just stress affects blood sugars when you’re a diabetic. I am having a much better control now that my wedding weekend, baby shower weekend, and easter weekend all in a row are in the past. I’m ridiculously looking forward to NOTHING this weekend. Next weekend J’s band has a show downtown on the Saturday night, and Sunday we have a full 9-5 day of prenatal classes. I have learned my lesson, I’m packing snacks for the prenatal classes; the woman sitting near me during breastfeeding classes made me so hungry with all of her snacking!

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This pregnancy thing is HARD. Having to switch from controlling my diabetes with pills to having to inject myself with insulin 5 needles a day, one painful lovenox injection at every bedtime to prevent blood clots, trying to fight cravings and being hungry constantly, yet gaining, gaining, and gaining weight. So much weight. I feel like a hairy, out of breath beach ball. My feet swell up like balloons. I only have a pair of unlaced merrels that fit. I finally caved in this week and bought 2 wrist braces to wear at night, because of horrible pregnancy induced carpal tunnel. I don’t feel pretty at all. But it’s all so worth it. It’s amazing that my body is manufacturing this little human that we’ve created together. At 8 months pregnant I still can’t believe that it happened to me. I’m going to be a mother!

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