Learning to breathe again

This post is going to fall squarely into the “ramblings” category. Sometimes I’m tempted only to post the things that I feel are going to be popular – my crafty projects or recipes I like, the kind of things that make you feel good. This post might not make you feel good. But this is my blog and I started it as a place to write about my life. This is my life. And it finally feels like the right time to write about it.

The last few months have been hard. Extremely hard. Our family had relocated to the east coast for a year while my husband finished up grad school. While there I became pregnant and we were under the gun to not only find a new job for Ben back home by the time we moved but we were also looking for a new home to buy. And taking care of almost three year old twins… and oh yeah… did I mention the pregnant bit? We were extremely busy. That’s about the time that my blog fell off the map and posts became less and less frequent (before stopping all together). In the end of July, while in escrow for our new home and almost two months before my due date, my water broke. I was 33 weeks pregnant. Our daughter Edith was born one week later at 34 weeks on the dot. The day that we took ownership of our new home and the day before we were scheduled to move. Miraculously she was completely fine and required no NICU time. She was just small and needed help to learn to nurse. Since our twins were born at 34 weeks and spent 2 weeks in the NICU, getting to bring Edith home with us when I left the hospital felt like winning the lottery. It was both exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. Really?! You’re going to let us take this teeny tiny brand new baby home with us? Are you sure?

The first few months at home with the new baby were rough. Since Edith was early she wasn’t big enough to nurse effectively and it was a never ending cycle of nurse, pump, bottle feed, repeat. She wasn’t nursing well until she was around 2 months old. We were also in the process of trying to settle into a new house. We had just started falling into a routine at home when our whole world was turned upside down yet again. My sister, who was pregnant and due in December was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and put into the hospital for monitoring. After a few days of monitoring she was discharged home, only to return to the hospital a day later to hear the devastating news that her son had passed away. He was born sleeping on October 25th, she was 33 weeks pregnant. There just are not words to describe the loss of an infant. Cruel, gut wrenching, life changing, indescribably unfair. There just is no way to explain it and no good way to deal with it. He was a living breathing human being, one with a whole family waiting to welcome him to the world and show him all of its wonders. And yet suddenly he was gone.

I literally feel like time stopped that day when I heard the news. I was sitting at home on the bed in my room with the baby. I heard Ben walk into the house and wondered what he was doing home so early from work. “What a nice surprise” I thought. And then he opened his mouth “Allison lost the baby”. I screamed. I sobbed. I didn’t stop screaming or sobbing as I ran around the house throwing things into bags. We had to head up to my parents house, up to the hospital, we had to be there and we had to be there immediately. I didn’t know what or why I was doing anything. I was just doing. And sobbing. And screaming. I don’t think I’ll ever get the images of those next few days out of my head. Of seeing my sister and her husband in the hospital. Of the sign they put on her hospital room door. Of all the crying and all the sadness. I don’t know how we survived.

I literally just went through the motions of living for months after that. I would get up and get dressed because I had to get up. I had to get dressed. The kids needed a mom and the baby needed to be cared for. If it had been up to me I would have buried myself under my covers and never come out. I literally don’t know how my sister was able to continue carrying on. She is an amazing woman. She continues to live and breathe because she has no other choice, but she does it with such grace and such composure for someone who has been through so very much heartache. After a few months I started realizing that something wasn’t right with me. I literally kept thinking that things were the same as the day that I heard the news… I wasn’t mentally moving on. My world was still in October. Still back in that day. I was still the mother of a three month old baby… but time was ticking on without me. My baby was now almost 6 months old. I just didn’t know because I was totally numb. I went to a doctor, I started getting help. Figuring out what was wrong with me and how we could make it better. I started doing yoga again and seeing an acupuncturist. And slowly, bit by bit, I started feeling alive again.

I’m finally now starting to see bits of my old self coming through. It has been a long and rough road to get to this point, and I know that there is still a long way to go, but I now feel like I will be able to get there eventually. I can now laugh and smile and enjoy my children and do it without guilt or sadness overshadowing my joy. I don’t believe that we have entirely arrived at our “new normal” but I feel like we are getting there. And I can see myself returning to a life where I can start doing the things that I love. I want to start blogging again. I want to start working more and crafting more. I want to start living more. What is the point of life if it’s not to live it?

A few weeks ago we went to the beach at sunset with the kids. Nothing will make you feel more alive than spending a golden afternoon in the California sun… it’s truly invigorating.

I finally feel like I’m learning to breathe again. And I really, really needed the air.

Learning to breathe again