Monday, January 17, 2011

Notes From A House Frau VIII

I realize this photo is sideways, but that's kind of how I'm feeling these days. Not upside down any longer, which is a good thing, but not wholly myself either. We've had an exciting couple of weeks -- we've been getting out a whole lot, we've started to see the world from the squished up view of the Baby Bjorn, which is far, far easier in this weather than the stroller, we've gone skating two Sundays in a row, and out for dinner a whole bunch. We've still got a wee bit of the Witching Hour (last night he cried for a record ten minutes) but we've collapsed entirely into "Accidental Parenting" as The Baby Whisperer (suck it) would say.

Instead of doing our sleep training, which equals us going upstairs and having a bath at seven and then spending two-to-three hours trying to get the RRBB to sleep, we're watching movies with him sleeping on us until he's almost blacked out, and then depositing him in bed. The result? He sleeps for almost four hours at first, then three, then three, and I feel like a human being in the morning. Also, he doesn't wail for the entire time we're trying to get him down. My thoughts? He's just not ready yet. And I'm okay with that. So far we've watched: The Fighter, True Grit, Black Swan and tonight's The Social Network. Please don't ask how we're seeing these films. It's not pretty.

It's funny how much I hate taking pictures of myself when I'm in the throws of the disease. I don't feel like myself and I don't look like myself. The prednisone makes you puffy, it makes your skin all mottled, and bucket loads of your hair falls out. I don't know if I've written this before but way back when I was first diagnosed with the disease, my family doctor said, "What a shame it had to happen to such a pretty girl." As if forever setting up the dichotomy between a healthy, attractive me and an ugly, diseased me. The distinction exists so clearly in my mind that it's hard sometimes to forget about it -- you can avoid mirrors, you can put on some makeup, you can cut your hair (or, in my case, keep saying you're going to cut your hair and never make an appointment because, well, that's a long three hours to spend away from the RRBB), but you can't avoid the side effects.

In a way, side effects are like so much in life, something you need to get through before life gets better, like the Witching Hour. But the manifestation of looking so terrible, the very real implications of the disease, well, those are harder to reconcile when you've been undergoing treatment for so long. And, truly, I haven't even been recovering for that long -- just 14 weeks, like I keep saying, I was the sickest I've ever been in my life, and it's going to take longer than 3 months to get better. Getting better isn't the point, either, staying better is, making sure that I am calm and collected, and truly healed, to get to healthy like I was before I got pregnant. One of the things that's helping is getting out of the house. You start to go completely stir crazy even though it's wonderful to have the RRBB, sometimes you just need to strap him into something and put one foot in front of the other. There's an amazing rail path by our house that we've been walking lately. Lots of wild grasses, snow, and birds, plenty of people walking their dogs as well, and we can walk and talk, and walk and talk, it's very therapeutic.

In addition to walking, I've signed up for Restorative Yoga once a week. It's so expensive but so necessary. I feel so much better after I am done, and it's just an hour, but I also experience how completely broken my body is too. My breathing especially -- the disease has tuckered me out this time, and even though I can barely do anything, and feel like I'm starting from scratch with my practice, bawling each time I'm there, I know it's doing me a world of good. I am consistently amazed at how much pure trauma the body holds separate from the mind, again with the dichotomies, and pulling them both together, like balancing what I'd like to look like with the necessity of the side effects, is an ongoing process. Sometimes you just need to give in to the moment, perhaps that's my lesson for the week, you need to abandon what the books say and just do what instinctively feels right, what works, accidental or not.

Sometimes accidents, biology, sperm meeting egg on a snowy day in February in New York City, are just about the best things to happen in your life. We should remember that lesson always and not define yourself by the tragedy that sometimes accompanies the figurative car crash but what the end result might be -- a brand new life that comes with its own way of expanding your heart in ways that you never thought possible. It's not like I can't teach myself to breath again, it's not like I'm going to forget how, I just need a bit more practice. Luckily, I've got a year to figure it all out, moment by moment, and minute by minute, and as long as I can keep my fingers moving, everything will be okay. For the first time in a long time, I feel positive that I'm actually going to get better, that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but I don't want to jinx it -- for now, I'm just going to say that even if I don't look like myself, there's a tiny glimmer of feeling like myself, which, in my mind, might actually be better.


serendipiter said...

Aww !! Deanna, he is just so gorgeous, I think more and more as he gets older. With the sickness thing, it will happen when it happens, and yes, don't worry the crying is good for you too. I am so glad you are feeling a little bit better ! Sending healing thoughts your way <3

Jesse Finkelstein said...

I'm moved by your post, Deanna. Re. sleeping-on-chest: I don't call that Accidental Parenting, I call that Survival.