Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rounding another corner

I have survived 5 days of Influenza B while pregnant. I have no idea how I got it, most likely a client who did not even know they were sick yet. I am a pretty tough woman but this one brought me down hard. There was sobbing, there was talk of Emergency Rooms and lots of very labored breathing and horrible hacking coughing. There was fever induced panic that the baby growing within me was suffering from the fever and constant racking cough. Now, a few days after all of this I am 13 pounds lighter,  have a nagging cough that is much tamer then it's been and a voice that sounds like Tom Waits.

Throughout the illness my mantra was "please don't let Cora get this". Scott took several days off of work and cared for Cora 24/7 while I was quarantined in our bedroom. She's been a bit fussy today, with a small fever but I hope it is only her teething that is causing that. I keep holding my breath and hoping, hoping her tiny body does not have to suffer through the hell I went through. So far Scott has been healthy, thank god, so perhaps the rest of my little family will skate through this with no harm.

Once I was able to stand upright I went to my doctor and heard the baby's heart beat. So solid and strong, such a great assurance that he/she is ok. Speaking of gender, our appointment to unmask the mystery is this Thursday. While I want to know the sex of the baby I am mourning this period of the unknown. Like all of this pregnancy it will be over so much faster then I am prepared for, all the wondering and guessing wrapped up in a simple knowing. Almost every single person in my life believes this baby is a boy. I have given up on guessing since I was so completely wrong with Cora, so we shall see. I have had a few dreams that this baby is a girl but I know better then to put stock in that. Normally I am highly intuitive but when it comes to the baby I am growing I can't tell...too close to the issue as my mother would say.

This last week my grandfather had a health scare that placed him in the hospital for a few days. I felt the vast geographic distance pressing upon me with great tension during his entire ordeal. My family was an amazing lightning rod of information via phone and text message and I am left appreciating how quickly we came together for each other and for him. Blessedly he is home and comfortable now and we are all so lucky to still have him.

Friday, April 22, 2011


It's 3:30 in the morning, I've been awake all night. I am wallowing in the flu. What started as a simple allergic reaction grew into a chest cold which then blossomed into the flu. It is never easy being sick, made more complicated by being a parent to a wee one and made even more complex by being pregnant.

I am not one to use much over the counter medication, preferring herbs and homeopathy instead. This time, however, this beast of illness has left me whimpering and reaching for anything that will make a difference.

Thank god for Scott, he stayed home all day yesterday to care for Cora and will most likely be home today as well. I feel horribly guilty asking him to miss work, and mostly I feel guilty not being there for Cora. It's killing me to not be able to pick her up and cuddle her (for fear of getting her sick). I spent many hours today lying in bed listening to the two of them laughing and playing, my heart sick that I couldn't be a part of it. I need to get better soon :(

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Brilliance of Pain

I have read it in countless books, heard it from many friends who have walked the path: every pregnancy and birth are different. I logically understand that but have been swept off that logic pedestal by the realities of this pregnancy. With Cora I worked pain free until two weeks before her due date. Being a massage therapist, and one who focuses on deep tissue techniques and injury recovery therapy, my job is very physically demanding. As well as taxing my body it is powerful healing for my mind. Many are the days I can not believe I am being paid to feel so good. When I am done with a day of work I feel the effect of hours of meditation, hundreds of minutes spent in a deep and clarifying focus. Without my work I suffer.

This pregnancy and my work life are in opposition and my heart is caught in the middle. I've been experiencing some significant nerve impingement in my neck which creates a cascade of symptoms including headaches and painful aching and numbness in both my arms that wakes me many times in the night. The extremely maddening part isn't the pain, it's my intimate knowledge of exactly what is going wrong in my body. I see and treat this condition all of the time. I know what needs to be done, but I fought doing it. I needed to slow down, work much less and get some bodywork.

I am three weeks into this lifestyle shift and feeling infinitely better. A combination of less work, some chiropractic, great massage, fantastic acupuncture and reincorporating swimming have worked wonders. I am still easily triggered and the pain can rear up but for the most part I can feel it coming and make adjustments. I am quite sure it was the physical stress of moving, when I lifted more boxes then I should have combined with the systemic swelling of pregnancy that are causing this sensitivity. And lest I forget a certain little someone who I chase around all day and can not resist picking up even though she is getting heavier and heavier.

Working in my field I have developed a healthy respect for pain. Once we work through the frustration it inspires there is so much to learn. I was angry about my 'setback', feeling robbed of my work identity. Now three weeks later I am grateful for the pain that woke me up and reminded me that these next few months are precious. Reminded me to slow down and take care of myself as well as those around me. Reminded me to be present and cherish this time with Cora. Reminded me to find communion with the baby growing within me as well as the magic of my changing physical self. Reminded me that it is important to let others help us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oregon Spring

It is in some of the oddest moments that I am flooded with a love for motherhood. I always knew I would relish the kiddos but thought I would loath being surrounded by the detritus of small children, the blocks, socks and toys everywhere. While we've managed to keep the number of toys under control they are of course scattered all throughout the house, but I don't care. I love walking into the bathroom and seeing our gorgeous subway tiled bathtub full of waterproof books and rubber duckies. I find comfort in the baby doll, half naked and drunk looking hanging upside down from the arm chair. Signs that our house is alive with family, bustling with energy and growth.

She is getting so big, I swear I can see her little girl face in this photo.
Maybe I would have always felt this way, had this tolerance but I think it is actually one of the myriad ways my infertility struggle has affected the parent I am. Too many years were spent wondering if I would ever have this kind of chaos to call my own and now that it is here it is intoxicating.  It makes me giddy and I still stop and pinch myself in case it isn't real. The big test of this zen like tolerance comes in moments like this morning while I was sitting with Cora in my lap waiting for a family changing room to open up at the community center. We had just finished her swimming class and were having a nice cuddle in warm towels, relaxing and waiting our turn. Then I felt it, the hot flow of liquid soaking through the towel, through my dress and running down the inside of my lower legs. Pooling below me it looked like I had peed all over myself and it was of course Cora. These are the moments when I fully expect to be annoyed but the most amazing thing happens. I start to smile, then I start giggling, then I am hugging her and telling her how much I love her. Maybe this is true with all parents, a great secret I never knew. This deep love that I never fully understood until now and it is wondrous.

The latest baby is growing every day and my body is changing so quickly. I'm 17 weeks along now and have included a belly shot. It's true for me what they say about showing with second pregnancies very quickly. I can not believe how large and in charge this belly is and can only hope that it will slow down in its wildness as the pregnancy progresses. For now I am trying to embrace finally being at the point where people figure you are growing a human, not just nursing a fantastic beer belly.

Cora is developing oh so quickly and this phase rocks! She is talking more and more. While the words are scattered she is playing around with the sounds of conversation, making all sorts of grunts and squeaks and strung together "stories" only she can understand. We are getting her ready for summer and have big plans to build her a water table to play in. We are stocking up on bubble blowing supplies, sidewalk chalk and sunscreen, now we just need the Oregon weather to cooperate.

Cora kickin' it at the playground during the only sunny day last week.
Enjoying a day at the beach despite the weather.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's really happening

It finally feels real, this growing of our family. Soon there will be two little people filling our lives. True to form, after all of my pregnancy losses I held out getting attached to this one. It was even easier to disconnect since I have a 13 month old to chase around. Waiting and watching and biding my time, no longer sweating out every minute until the next ultrasound.

Here we are, 16 weeks in and I can feel the baby moving. Holy cow, this is really happening. It is in the last week that I have gotten real about the fact that I am pregnant, real about the fact that this is my last few months with just Cora.

This has in turn helped me reevaluate. I've been experiencing some pretty extreme physical pain, neck problems and nerve impingement. I know exactly what is happening, it is my job to know this. I help people with these issues all the time, as in every week, sometimes every day of that week. The problem is I can't help people that much right now.

This pain has been a gift in many ways. It stopped me in my tracks. It forced me to sit down and take a damn breath. It forced to to humbly seek out new practitioners as most of my network has moved away and/or dried up. Now it's the Saturday of my week off and the first morning I have woken up pain free. Slowly but surely I am coming around and change is in the air.

I've decided to work less, much less. This time in my life is not so much about aggressively growing my business. It is about enjoying these children we doubted we would ever meet. I will continue to work, but at a much slower and simpler pace. No longer will I stress when I can not get a client in within 48 hour.  I will come to terms with the fact that what I offer is valuable enough that people will be okay with booking a few weeks in advance. For those of you who know me personally you will understand what a struggle it was to arrive at this point. My urge to help my clients and grow my business is a powerful and driving force. Having the faith that it will be ready to grow again when I am ready is a point I am slowly arriving at.

So that's that. A changing of focus, beginning to connect with this baby. Looking forward to rocking this summer for all it's worth.