A Year (or so) in Review

I knew I hadn’t blogged in a while, that much was obvious, but I had to pull up my website to actually see when my last published post was. Nine months ago. So now that I have one regular post up, I thought I would tell you about this past year and how things are going. I’ll probably skip some things accidentally, but this isn’t a life story, it’s mostly just a list of excuses – no, just a story about why I let a lot of things slide for a very long time.

Let’s go all the way back to October of 2014, when I discovered that baby number 10 (or 12, including the two miscarriages) was on her way. This was not my idea. I had PLANS. I was finally sleeping through the night on a regular basis and that made me feel so very normal. I wasn’t even carrying a diaper bag any more and had thrown out all my nursing bras. But okay, another baby. We quickly adjusted to the idea and even came to look forward to meeting our newest bundle.

About the time life was moving along swimmingly again, our 20 year old daughter came to us and told us of a new family member brewing. She was pregnant, not in a relationship with the father, and due 3 months after I was.

I have been in her place, although my now-husband and I were together at the time. Now I got to see things from the flip side. I have to say, my parents did an excellent job of adjusting the the news, and I tried to follow suit. We let her know that we were here for her and would do all we could to support her as she went forward. Then, knowing the difficulties and pain ahead of her, we wrung our hands and cried a bit, and prayed a lot.

Being pregnant at the same time as one of my daughters wasn’t quite the picnic I imagined it to be. Since I am, ahem, of advanced maternal age, being pregnant was a little harder on my body and I struggled to keep up physically. And two pregnant women in the house is probably not fun for the rest of the people, but I’m just guessing there. Let’s just say there was a lot of take out eaten.

During the last month of my pregnancy we discovered that Gwendolyn was transverse and I had excess amniotic fluid. I underwent a version to get her into position. She popped right into a head down position. And then popped right back to transverse again two hours later. We shrugged and decided she must have a reason for being that way and scheduled a C-section.

Long (birth) story short: at 38 weeks she turned head down and was born vaginally three days later. I promise, I will put her birth story on my to do list and get that posted sometime before she turns one.

About a week after she was born, we got some strange phone calls and found out that our identity had been stolen. There was no personal financial damage but it was very stressful and took a lot of time and many phone calls to clear up. We are still on high alert.

Next up, I had been having pain in my upper abdomen each evening for a few days when it suddenly became unbearable. Jay was able to come home quickly from choir practice and rushed me to the emergency room. I was admitted, although it took them over 12 hours to find me a bed, and diagnosed with gallbladder pancreatitis. Gwendolyn was 8 weeks old at the time. I spent 5 days in the hospital undergoing tests. Jay ran back and forth from home to hospital with a baby in tow so that she could still breastfeed as much as possible. My gallbladder was removed and I was sent home to recover with the stern instructions not to lift anything over ten pounds for six weeks. How on earth is it possible for the mother of a new baby to go anywhere and not lift more than ten pounds? That meant that I could not carry both the baby and the diaper bag at the same time. And I was told explicitly not to lift the stroller. I did the best I could under the circumstances, and nothing seems to have ripped, as far as I can tell.

Around the time I had fully recovered from my surgery, Elliot, my first grandchild, came screeching and humming into the world. It was kind of weird for me to be on the other side of postpartum issues, I’m usually the one recovering. My daughter Posy had a hard time getting nursing started, enduring a lot of pain and worry in those first days and weeks. But she persevered and has become an amazing mother to this little guy.

In the midst of that struggle, when Elliot was just a few days old, my sister died. It was quite sudden. One day she was living her normal life – doing better than she had in a long time – and then she was gone. It was early November. We found out later that it was a pulmonary embolism. There was nothing they could have done. She passed away at home, where she was living with my parents.

At this point in our story, my own baby was finally starting to come out of her colicky phase. Yes, the preceding few months had mostly played out with a soundtrack of baby screams.

A few weeks later we hosted Thanksgiving at our home for the first time. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of work. I’m happy to do it again this year if I can, but it was a major event with all the other things we had going on. It stretched my introverted self to the limit.

Christmas came and went, and Posy went back to her job waitressing. While she works, I watch Elliot. It has gotten a lot easier in the last few weeks. But at the start of 2016, when both babies were still really little all I could do was sit on the floor and rock one and then the other. Now, they are both mobile, happy to play with toys, and sometimes even nap at the same time. They are absolutely adorable together. What an amazing gift to have two babies in the house!

There are other things I’m sure I have forgotten, but I’m just trying to list the reasons I haven’t made writing a priority. There are also a lot of feelings mixed up in the above list of events, but I can unpack those another day. I’m not sharing this to make you feel sorry for me, I certainly hope you don’t. I love my life, and while it is eventful, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. One thing that I have learned through this is that I have to fight harder to maintain the things that make me, me. I have missed writing, creating, reading, time alone, and running. I had forgotten a lesson I’ve learned few times before; how much those things filled me up so that I had something to give my family.

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