October 19, 2009

Sleep and Redemption

Oh dear! Has it really been that long?

I have been in such a fog these last few weeks. First it was the sleep deprivation....who am I kidding, it is still the sleep deprivation....then depression kicked in. That awful sort of depression that feels tied to everything and nothing in particular. The kind you know has some physiological basis to it (lack of sleep perhaps) but also seems tied to every loose string in your quickly unraveling psyche.

Oh and then? I got the swine flu. And my husband had multiple trips for work scheduled and I had to somehow manage to nurse myself back to health while caring for an extremely active and adventurous 8 month old little boy. Nothing like being kicked when you are down.

Then my husband came home and he got the flu. And things have been pretty bleak if you can imagine.

Also, we moved ourselves (and everything else from upstairs) from our bedroom upstairs to our downstairs dining room so that our floors upstairs could be done. Currently we sleep in our dining room and Zane sleeps in the guest room. We are living a cramped and cluttered existence for a few weeks.

One saving grace, thank God, is that Zane has not shown any major flu symptoms other than a little congestion and a slight cough. I am praying this continues.

In the thick of this chaos and confusion we have been slowly teaching Zane about sleeping. And we've made some significant progress. He has slept through the night (anywhere from 5 to 9 hours straight) multiple times in the last few weeks which while not consistent is nearly a miracle in our books. He also has learned how to fall back asleep on his own when he awakens and I can hear him doing this (without tears) a few times every night. He still needs us to come in at least once or twice a night (sometimes much more on a rough night) to help him fall back asleep when he can't do it on his own, which we are much happier to do now that it isn't every hour on the hour. He is taking regular naps and he is going to bed much earlier in the evening. Things seem to be improving bit by bit.

This season has taught me so much about the fragile balance I walk in mothering. Every piece of mothering is tied to some thing else inside of me. Lack of sleep, desperation, being so needed so constantly.....brings me to the brink of my own humanity, my own woundedness, the places in me that long for a type of mothering I did not always receive when I was small and needy. Teaching my son to sleep, moving him in his own room, listening to him wake briefly and quickly go back to sleep without my help.....brings up my own ambivalence about letting him grow up, letting him get big and strong, letting him go. In the midst of this, I have learned something amazing about my strength, my inherent goodness, my ability to give so much more than I thought I had to give, my ability to endure and struggle for the good of another. I feel like these past few months, and especially this recent difficult season, have forced change in me so deep and thorough that the very marrow in my bones is no longer the same.

I am a mother now.

I am changed.

Nothing will ever be the same.

And that is, at times, both terrifying and thoroughly incredibly redemptive.

October 02, 2009

In the thick of it.....and the thin....

Lets start with the "thick of it"....I feel like I may have left you hanging with my last couple of posts about our dire sleep situation. I know a few of you are wondering how we've been faring and whether the temporary solution has been working.

Well....yes and no.

I can't get into all the details right now because I feel like I am right in the "thick" of this and can't really speak well to it all with any perspective. But I have been getting slightly more sleep thanks to Mr. Spicy. I got 4 hours straight last week and 6 hours straight last night. Which is kind of amazing at this point. But still, not enough.

It has become obvious that my body and brain have been pretty beaten up with chronic sleep deprivation and it is going to take a lot more TLC to get me anywhere close to "normal". Mr. Spicy has been a big help, as has my counselor, and a few friends have stepped up and offered my help as well, which has been humbling and also a tremendous relief. Unfortunately, the plans I had this week for a few friends to help out fell through for various reasons, but next week will hopefully be much better.

My therapist and I are working through and monitoring some symptoms of post-partum depression that have recently popped up as a result of my utter exhaustion and we are working on a strategy to help teach Zane how to fall asleep on his own as gently and non-traumatically as possible (I will talk more about this later as I find out if it works or not and have more perspective on it. For now, suffice to say it is hard work but feels very necessary for all three of us).

It feels like we are standing at a crossroad. I am trying to move forward with gentleness and guidance to make wise and loving choices for both myself and Zane. I am being called into a new place within motherhood and I am trying my best to answer that call well for us both.

I will say that the more I work on this....his sleeping, my self-care, and all the various subtle issues in between....the more work I do, the more I am appreciating and loving Zane for just who he is today and finding myself more and more engaged and excited about who he is becoming as well.


And now the "thin" :


I just have to brag a bit because I am so proud of myself today.

Since my gallbladder attack in June I have been strictly on a low fat, portion controlled diet. I have also been walking several times a week.

Since June 21st I have lost 20.6 pounds!!!

I am thinner than I have been in years. Which, isn't saying a whole lot since I still have at least 10 more pounds to go before I hit the weight I am most comfortable at.

I have been carrying around 30+ pounds of extra weight for years, blaming it on the infertility, depression, etc. Even after I shed nearly the entire 35lbs of pregnancy weight, I held onto those extra 30lbs. I never felt attractive at that weight and it affected so many aspects of my life. I became less active, my sexuality took a nose-dive (much to the dismay of my husband), and I just generally didn't feel "myself" moving through the world.

So much of my weight issue was due to emotionally-driven eating. Having gallstones forced me to eat smaller portions, to think more about what I was putting in my mouth, and to eat for energy and sustenance rather than comfort or distraction. In a way the gallstones have been a blessing in disguise.

So, thanks to gallstones, I am healthier, more active, and happier with my body than I have been in a very very long time. (Except during pregnancy - I loved my body during pregnancy)

As for those pesky gallstones? Well, I had another "attack" a few weeks ago, even on the low fat diet. (grrrrr......) So yesterday I met with a GI specialist and he is running multiple tests on me (including an upper GI endoscopy) to rule out any other causes of the abdominal pain. If it truly is those damn gallstones I may have to go ahead and have my gall bladder removed which I really wanted to avoid. Especially now that those gallstones are working so well for me! :)

I really don't have a great profound closing thought....so I will just ask for good thoughts/prayers as we navigate this season and hopefully move towards a healthier more rested Mama and baby.

Thanks to all who have offered your support this far. It helps so much!