10 Mar Life Lately: Kicking, scratching, and a touch of anxiety
It’s been so long since I last did a Life Lately post. I am not too sure why I don’t do them as much anymore, maybe that’s another problem in itself. For a long time, my blog was just a tiny space on the internet for me to write, share and explore, and then slowly, I started working on content creation, focusing on a structured content plan, trying to balance my different topics so that my blog was still appealing, even though, sometimes I am more focused on my pregnancy than beauty.
Yesterday, the weight of life caught up with me, and I am just… tired. So very tired. I’d usually cry it out, rage in a series of voice notes, or just climb into bed and sleep it away, but none of those things were helping so I thought I’d go back to my biggest comfort… words.
The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of challenges – first and foremost, Darren was really ill, some days he was in so much pain, that he’d prefer to just stay in bed. We went from doctor to doctor, trying ice, then heat, then new anti-inflammatories and of course, dozens of antibiotics. I had to laugh – last week, I noticed that our pharmacist is driving the latest Audi, and I am pretty sure it has something to do with all the money that we have been spending there as of late.
In the midst of receiving bad news upon bad news, we found out that we were expecting little Eli James – my ray of sunshine during our storm. There were days where I felt that maybe if I had known just how much stress Darren’s condition would cause, then maybe it would have been better to wait to have another baby, but that would be at the risk of Darren never being able to have kids again, anyway. So, is there a happy resolution? Yes, enjoy this pregnancy for what it is and deal with the rest as it comes. However, my pregnancy hasn’t been all rainbows and farting butterflies either.
I started with severe morning sickness from early on in my pregnancy, had a horrible experience with my doctor and still struggle with low blood pressure and sugar. I have since gone back to the doctor that I used with Axl, which has been a great help! He is monitoring me for all the signs that caused me to be induced last time, which puts me at ease – kind of. I was also prescribed a morning sickness tablet which is actually prescribed for those going through chemo. It seems excessive (and boy, it isn’t cheap) but it helped me through the 36-38-degree summer that we are still experiencing. The hotter days had me staying at home because every time I’d go out, I’d feel faint and would start throwing up. So, in all honesty, it was just easier staying at home.
Admittedly, I am experiencing some strange sort of anxiety during my pregnancy. With Axl, I didn’t have expectations and wasn’t very active online, so I wasn’t so aware of all the risks. I was told that I needed to be induced without even knowing what that meant, and fortunately, everything went very well. Now, I am worried that I have some sort of unrealistic expectation of my birth and that things won’t be anywhere near to the same. I was so empowered and grateful for the last experience but that doesn’t mean the next birth will be the same. And then, my mom-brain goes into overdrive and I find myself worrying about being away from Axl and who will watch him, and will he be okay for about 2 nights without me, and will they know to stay at our house instead of taking him to sleep anywhere else – he will want to be surrounded by the things that he knows, especially with such a big change about to happen. And will he come with to fetch me, if he does, someone will need to come with Darren and him, because he isn’t allowed in the hospital and Darren will need to come up to fetch me and help carry our bags, so someone needs to stay with him? But if that happens, they would need to bring two cars, because our car is a little hatchback, and with two car seats in the back, there isn’t any space for anyone else but me. Oh, and then there’s the thought that what if something goes horribly wrong, and I have an aneurysm and die – how selfish of me to have a second kid, just for my first kid to grow up without a mom. These are the thoughts I have – in between making conscious lists of everything that needs to be cleaned, washed, fumigated, scrubbed, moved and reorganized before Eli arrives.
Axl got the flu quite bad recently, he was restless throughout the night and couldn’t sleep because of the nasal congestion. I stupidly dropped the medicine shelf 2 days earlier (Murphey), and lost all our backup meds to help with these sorts of things. Eventually, it was just easier to hold him up, so that he could actually breathe while he slept, but somehow, in the process of moving him over to my side of the bed, I felt something in my tummy rip. It was so painful that my eyes immediately filled with tears. In the morning, I could barely move and even driving had me in wanting to cry. Eli’s movements had slowed down and by the following night, I noticed that I couldn’t feel him kicking anymore. So of course, I started panicking that something was wrong. My pharmacist said I needed to get to the doctor ASAP as it could very well be a ruptured placenta. So off we went to the doctor, who confirmed that everything was okay with baby Eli- he had changed positions and was now cushioned by my placenta which explained why I wasn’t feeling his strong kicks. He also said that I had ripped a stomach muscle and explained that I needed to start taking it slowly, which I am yet to figure out how to do.
We are still trying to deal with Axl and what I now know is some sort of trauma, from going to school. This has really delayed any progress we were hoping to make trying to potty train him. In all honesty, the kid just about has a panic attack when I start undressing him to go and bath. At first, he would scream, kick, scratch and throw himself out of the bath. We tried just about everything, including giving him a brand new Hot Wheels car, after every bath, but he just wasn’t having it. So, at the moment, our strategy is a 2-man game. We start by filling about 20 water balloons and putting him in the bath, with a t-shirt and nappy on. He starts by popping the balloons all over himself, while I sneakily start putting in bath water. Once the balloons have run out, I give him bath crayons and paint (mixed with shampoo – so it will wash off) and let him draw and paint on the walls. While he does this, he is usually nagging for more balloons – which Darren pretends to go get (but really, he is getting the towel and his clean clothes ready). I start by washing his body, and hair, and at the very last minute, remove his nappy and his T-shirt which results in a fountain of tears, splashes, and screams! By the time that we get him out of the bath, we are all soaking wet and exhausted – but he is bathed, so it is a victory. Trying to discuss potty training with him is pretty much a no-zone, he just won’t hear any of it. So, at this point, I am holding out until Eli arrives and am hoping that Axl wants to voluntarily bath with the baby.
Every night, I feel like I failed at this motherhood thing – I feel like I should have known, and could have prevented this. The day that D and I had made the call to take him out of school, we still wanted to fetch him early, and I said no. Had we just gone and fetched him, things could have been different – my kid might still love swimming and bathing, and it wouldn’t have to be a workout to get him to bath.
I also gave up my job of 4 years to pursue something new. It has been 2 months since then – I love the work that I am doing, thoroughly, but it doesn’t make it any less scary. I have gone from a job that I knew so well, a place where I was confident and comfortable, and working for someone who after 4 years, I couldn’t help but know very well and often, we were both on the same page without even communicating. Now, it’s all about learning – constant learning. I don’t think I mentioned it, but right now, I am working as a social media manager and content creator for a marketing firm that specializes in transportation and logistics, across the States. It never even crossed my mind that I’d one day be writing about trucks, every day. So, the job requires that I learn a lot; a lot about a new industry, a lot about working with new people (including my husband) and a lot about my strengths and weaknesses too.
The new year also started with news that a 2-year journey for my best friend to donate her kidney, was finally about to happen. You never realize how much you love someone, until she’s about to go for a life changing surgery and you wish with every bit of you that you could be there, not because you can make it any better, but because sometimes you just want to cry, laugh and be with the human that you speak to every day for a year. In those situations, I know nothing I say can make it any better – I knew the day was coming, but when you get a message that the op is scheduled for a week later, your mind goes into a panic, while you try to keep calm on the outside. Lydia is recovering at the moment, and I am sure that she will share her story when she is well enough too, so I am not going to say much about this – it isn’t my story to tell, but I will share her post on my social media platforms when the post goes live.
In between all of life’s knocks, we celebrated Axl’s third birthday! We kept it really small, and just invited family to a local café, where we had lunch and cake. D and I made a big deal of presents and cake – we both sort of realized that it is the last birthday where Axl is our only kid, so we wanted to make it special and besides, we were sick of cardboard racetracks, so had to add some Hot Wheels ones!
We are also really proud of how well his speaking is coming along. I really thought that we may have a problem, but it was sort of like overnight that he just started repeating everything we said! Now, I have to be really careful, because I never know when he is creeping up behind me ready to repeat whatever I said.
Axl is currently obsessed with Paw Patrol, LEGO, Rabbids Invasion and Hot Wheels. I can’t believe that we’re at the point where he has these tiny obsessions with things like I do with makeup! It’s so cool to just watch his little personality develop. He has become quite cheeky, like lately, when I say I am going to change your show – he says, “No! My show!” with the cheekiest grin. He loves having possession over anything from “My nappy” to “My dog” to “My food and juice!”
He has also moved completely into his own bed. I got frustrated with trying to convince him to sleep in his bed, with the side-table between us, just for him to crawl into my bed sometime in the middle of the night. So, we joined the beds, and now he sleeps in his bed, and we sleep in ours, and everyone sleeps really well, which is great because I was getting so tired of having two babies kicking me while I try to sleep.
Between the big things, there were loads of little things – well, not really little – I managed to launch The Mom’s Guide, a campaign to create a one-stop platform for new and expecting moms which provides resources, articles, and printables to help you navigate the early days of parenthood. I also started content writing for other websites which include RCS, in addition to even exploring ghostwriting – which I am still not too sure if it is something that I actually enjoy. Also, in May, I will be featured again in Living and Loving – which I am pretty excited about!
In the grand scheme of things, I have a lot to be grateful for. I am especially grateful for Lydia, because, at the end of the day, everything that seemed to be the end of my world seemed so insignificant, when I consider what she is doing and going through, to save a friend. I am grateful that we finally found a specialist and it’s been a few days that Darren isn’t weighed down or miserable about pain, he is finding motivation to choose healthier habits and just seems so much happier. I am grateful that despite all the challenges, my son still perseveres and is flourishing in all the other parts of his life. I am also reminded to slow down and enjoy the last 15 weeks of being a mom to one. I am grateful for the many people who place their bets on me and give me opportunities that I once, only dreamed of. And most of all, I am just grateful that life isn’t as crap as it can sometimes feel, and that despite it all, D and I have a good home, good jobs, an awesome kid with another on the way, and we lead a pretty good life. Sure, I am tired, but I am also 25 weeks pregnant and trying to juggle the world. It is, after all, time to slow down.