I know that we’re all completely bored to tears with hearing about my little “life change” and no, I’m not talking about menopause although I will be soon enough. In fact, I’m shocked that my periods haven’t slowed down already. You’d think my reproductive system would’ve fired off a memo to my uterus the second the twins popped out:
“Dear Senor Uterus” I don’t know why but for some reason I imagine that my uterus is male and Latin. “First off, thank you so much for the hard work you’ve done here. All and all, we couldn’t be more pleased with what you’ve managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Sure, your most recent placenta underperformed but, other than that, you’ve had a solid career. Unfortunately, we will no longer be requiring your services. Please consider this your one-month’s notice and prepare to vacate the premises. Adios. Sincerely, The Dept. of Reproduction.”
I don’t want this blog to ever read like a journal but I do get asked a lot of questions about my non-drinking status and so I feel like I want to update you, yet a lot of not drinking is sort of an internal process. God, that sounded like something scripted off of Bachelorette. Next thing you know I’ll be saying “journey” without a hint of irony. No wonder my husband thinks 12-step meetings are a cult.
Here’s what I’m finding out so far in case any of you are doing this with me: feelings suck. And I’m feeling them all. It’s like a motherfucking roller coaster of emotions over here. It turns out that all this time, especially growing up, I’ve had all these feelings that I thought were “too much” so I tamped them down with whatever worked at the time. Since the twins came it’s been wine, but really all along it’s been something – anything to avoid being fully one hundred percent present. Strip away my ticket to tune out and what you’ve got left is a raw nerve.
I feel exposed.
Lately, I’ve been hit with fits of emotion that come unexpectedly and furiously. One minute I’m sitting in my car singing along with Kenny Loggins (shut up) and the next thing you know I’m crying helplessly for what seems like no reason at all. But there is a reason. I’m catching up on a lot of unpleasant emotion. Back when the girls were in the NICU, I didn’t spend all day at the hospital the way I saw some other parents doing. Here I had these little tiny babies – one (Sadie) of whom was only two pounds and no bigger than a Guinna pig, the other needed help to breathe and I couldn’t make it better. Every day when I hit the ward and scrubbed in, I felt more and more disconnected and less and less like I was making a difference to them. Oftentimes when I showed up, I wasn’t allowed hold Sadie because she was too fragile -and needless to say -or is it? – neither one of them could do the breastfeeding thing too well. So I went in the back room and tried to pump or sat by their Isolette and watched them for awhile and told myself that it was okay to leave after only an hour, that Elby needed me at home and needed me stable. Sometimes I was able to give kangaroo care which is where you hold your baby against your bare chest and for moments the feeling would be so intense it was unbearable and sometimes I would imagine just gluing a baby to my body and taking off but I knew I couldn’t even walk outside my curtained area, let alone care for a two-pound baby.
What I remember feeling the most during that time is Anxiety coupled with guilt that my babies were doing so well compared to some of the other babies and envy that still other babies were on their way out the door after only a day or two spent under the bilirubin lights. Other than that, I felt numb and I preferred it that way. Only a masochist wants to feel what I imagine I should have been feeling – like a big crap sundae landed on my head.
So now it’s payback time. Now I get to feel afraid, pissed off, out of control and all of the things I was through all of Sadie’s trials and tribulations -and really back a lot longer. I get worried that if I feel a certain way one day, I will always feel this way. And it will get worse and worse until I’ve completely lost my mind and am forced to spend my days in a locked ward playing poker with schizophrenics. But I’ve got to man up and deal with it because there’s no going back to the old way.
And yet, through it there are moments of peace. Real peace.
If any of you are on this path with me, I hope it helps you to hear me say the things I say because I know it helps me to say them. And your comments (well, most of you – not you Lynn Earley) have been a lifeline. So thank you.