Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Quick Reminder


In case I needed a real-life reminder that I've changed the trajectory of my life & my kids' lives despite how I may feel about the state of my state right now...

The Scene: wandering the grocery store with Coraline & Etta

Coraline (pointing down the cookie/chip/junk aisle): "Mom, treat foods don't have any nutrients, do they?"

Old Sara's kids wouldn't have even known the word "nutrients," let alone used it in conversation.  Score.  All is not lost.  Let's celebrate with Dr Coraline & the Avenger Monkeys (& if I ever start a band that is officially its name).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Maybe It's the Pregnancy


When I was a kindergartner, I wanted to be a professional cheerleader for the Iowa State Cyclones.  When I got a little older I wanted to be a lawyer because my parents watched "LA Law."  Now I just want to let my dog out to pee without putting on a peep show while simultaneously nursing the baby.

That's right, the baby is here &'s a GIRL!  Interwebs, allow me to introduce the newest piece of my heart, the final installment of our Trilogy, Etta Emmeline.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  When last I word vomited on the blog I looked (& felt) like this:

Dewey eyed, optimistic, rounding the bend on the worst "morning" sickness I had experienced with any of my three kids.  This was August.

Then came September.  If this were a read aloud blog (a concept I likely just made up), I would use Ralph Fiennes' "Voldemort" voice to say September in the most despicable  skin-crawlingly awful manner imaginable.  September is when the poo hit the fan.  It started with a sore ankle on a Tuesday.  By Friday both ankles & both knees were in searing pain.  By the next week I was an absolute disaster.  I'll spare the cornucopia of seemingly unrelated symptoms (because I don't want to bother to list them & I'm not looking for armchair diagnoses) but by month end I had seen seven different doctors & been to the ER twice & it all boiled down to this, "Maybe it's the pregnancy, maybe it's a one-time fluke, maybe it's the first signs of something chronic .  We'll have to wait until the baby comes to figure this one out."  

"Maybe it's the pregnancy"--four words I could have done without hearing given that I was, in fact, the pregnant one.  By the end of November the symptoms started to settle down enough that I was feeling cautiously "better," but blood tests were still irritatingly uncooperative & at the same time inconclusive.  I missed my blissful second trimester (to say nothing of missing so much of my big kids' lives in those three months!), I felt lousy, and worst of all, the pregnancy that was to have been a healthy & fun romp through procreation, unfettered by excess weight, was marred by the unbelievable terror of worrying that my body wasn't taking care of my baby...& the stress eating that came with it.

From September through February 4th, I was utterly convinced that my body, that had previously sailed through two pregnancies while being obese, was not up to the task.  I knew that every minute my baby was in me was more damage being done.  At 28 weeks I wanted to have an immediate c-section because if I could just see the baby & hold the baby & get it on the outside I could take such better care of it (proviso: I was coked up on stress & pregnancy hormones & I am fully aware that this is one of the world's worst ideas).  Was my baby in the pain that I was in?  Was my baby being disfigured or impaired by the drugs I was taking?  Was my baby going to make it to this side of my uterus or was this all some elaborate precursor to the most horrible outcome possible?  

The kicker was that I had worked so hard to be HEALTHY.  Through the last few years, everything I did was to make my body strong.  I hadn't been preoccupied with being thin or pretty...I was eating well & working out so that I would have health.  I spent the better part of the last six months feeling that it had all been a waste.  I tossed away all ideas of maintaining my health through my pregnancy--fat lot of good it had done us to begin with.  I joked that I was the anti-poster child for healthy living & weight loss, but as with most jokes, it was only out there to obscure the truth that I was terrified I that my body was betraying me & my unborn child.  

This story doesn't really have an ending per se.  In the delivery room, I cried (a first for me) & my first words  after her arrival were something to the effect of "Thank God!  I didn't kill our baby!"  Not only did I not kill her, but she is utterly perfect.  On this side of pregnancy, I still don't know what happened to my body or if it will happen again, but I do know that whatever it is, I need to be as strong as possible for as long as possible regardless of my ultimate diagnosis or lack thereof.  Once again, with the birth of a daughter, I am reminded that my body is, not only my vehicle for caring for my children, but the greatest object lesson I can ever give to my girls.  They will know what it is to be strong, healthy, women who love their bodies as the vehicles to propel them to all of their dreams--not because I told them, but because I showed them.  

I can't control my body chemistry or my hormones or my genetics but I can control what I put in my mouth & what I do with my feet.  Maybe it was the pregnancy, maybe it was a fluke, maybe I'll deal with this crap again.  I don't know.  What I do know: Saturday I go back to Weight Watchers.  On March 16th I'll restart C25K. At the end of March I have the first of my post-baby appointments with some of the doctors that kept me from going crazy through "the dark months."  I'll control what I can control.  I can't choose my diagnosis, but I can certainly choose how I respond to it & now I look like this:

Now, since I don't like to leave things heavy (bahaha), I'll leave with this: a meager THREE days after Etta was born, Coraline says this to me at the dinner table, "Your baby is out need to go for a run."  While perhaps a slightly unrealistic expectation, it did serve to remind me that maybe the last few years weren't a complete waste after all.