I wanted to start this out as an appreciation post.
All of you.
Every single person who reached out, shared their experiences, offered thoughts and advice, or who simply granted their love and support since my last blog in December.
All of it has been remarkable. Truly.
For December and most of January, my heart and mind stayed firmly rooted in the dark. Where the branches of worry and sadness grew steadily, fueled and watered by my then self-induced shame I felt for still being in the dark.
Funny how we do that, no?
Self: Feel shitty? Cool, I'm now going to make you feel shitty for feeling shitty.
I’ve often shared how isolating this journey with Pen has felt at times.
Despite the incredible and ridiculous outpouring of kindness and affection I’ve so generously received.
I think this is because of our foundational need to find connection with those who have walked or are walking a similar road.
With those that understand you and the experience you have with your baby without.a.single.question.asked.
I recall my first new mama go round, sitting in a mommy circle with all the boobs and none of the masks as we all learned how to feed our babies with our bodies.
I remember cherishing every mommy-and-me opportunity to cry, laugh and vent together… sharing more than separating us, as our sole purpose was to survive the newborn phase, get occasional sleep and keep our marriages intact.
Have a baby? Awesome, let's be besties.
Honestly all it seem to take back then.
However, what a different season these last few years provided.
And how much I've longed for that old, familiar road.
This go round, my search for connection and understanding has not been so easy.
Have a baby that is continuously defined as failure to thrive?
No? Okay, umm okay, nbd.
You love pumping your baby full of milk via g-tube only to have her vomit it all up?
Does your baby regularly jerk, seize and then pass out in your arms when upset?
What? No? Your baby's weird.
You still stuck at 16 pounds even though your babe is nearly 2?
Really? You must have a giant.
I honestly laugh typing this as I wish I could respond in this manner when trying to understand how different she seems from others in times like this.
And now at 22 months we have a label, we have a syndrome, a disease that unfortunately, in many ways, is just as confusing. Just as scary, worry-filled and uncertain. So I dive back into even harder to find holes, searching for others, even more rare, who also have won this genetic lottery.
I've felt so lost in this baby sea. Searching.
Searching and searching.
Desperate for a life raft, but also to be saved from this pursuit. For someone to just help me understand this journey that I'm on.
This is experience has changed me.
In some ways I don’t really like.
It’s hardened me.
Created deep anxiety that pools in my stomach.
Provided a locker of worry in my heart.
Etched new lines in my face that seemingly scream with my internal pain.
Caused me to pull away from my husband, my relationships, to shut down in order to cocoon myself in, ironically, the safety and familiarity of the dark.
So I got a puppy.
Because, umm, puppies are everything light and good and delicious.
I mean, what more does a blended family with 5 kids, self-employed mom and dad, with crazy ass lives overflowing with track, soccer, football and dance and exes and schedules and a disastrously messy house plus endless medical bills with even more grocery runs and a bunny that has eaten every baseboard in the house really want?
We totally needed this puppy.
Sometimes I think it’s probably not a good idea to keep adding more water to my already ship shit show.
But then I think, hell, this boat ride is awesome!
Permanently swimming upstream? Well, umm not always awesome.
While I've come out hardened, I'm also stronger. Learning more and more about myself while I'm at it. Including the type of mother I am and better yet who I want to be for my two teens (eeee!), my 2 bonuses and this little turkey leg.
A life mixed with chaos is also very much a full life, rich with more than I could ever dream and truthfully, sometimes want.
However, I’m endlessly grateful for this. For her. For you. And everyone in my life who continues to wait patiently for me as I continue to slowly step back into some light.
As for the stress wrinkles? Umm, yeah no. Those can fuck off.
Botox here I come.