the cut has healed, but not the woman

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it all started in the bath.

it was the usual mommy and daughter ritual, (if and when we encounter a bathtub). “bathtub” you ask? yes, a good ‘ol fashioned tub. you know…a basin in the bathroom which holds water for bathing purposes? i’m not trying to insult your intelligence. although, i do sound pretty loony. like i’ve been living under a rock–kinda loony. well i sort of have in some respects. living in a teeny, tiny studio with a teeny tiny, stand-up shower can be….claustrophobic. we’ll just leave it at that. my experiences in our previous home will be left for another time. so as i was saying–bathtubs…be they at the grandparent’s or at a hotel, automatically light up our eyes. like woah! we’re so very grateful to have a fantastic one in our new florida rental. [chime in hallelujah song].

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if i shower or bathe, it’s impossible without hubby watching izabella or us girls getting lathered up together. in this instance, we exercised our good hygiene skills with the latter. izzie loves baths these days like a fish loves water. there we were, splashing, washing, blowing bubbles, giggling and best of all, bonding. then she points down below the water, underneath my belly button and above my ‘lady bits’. her little index finger pokes my skin. she scrunches her eyebrows with concern. her lips quivering. “dat..dat”, she says and continues with an “aww”. then she inches up closer to me. her hands now open, caress my scar. “boo-boo?”, she asks with sympathy. just like that, my inquisitive toddler discovered the evidence of my c-section. my heart felt heavy at the moment. anxiety and depression creeped into that garden tub of ours. the water once warm, became a little colder. i looked into those hazel eyes and told her that it was in fact a wound. this sweet child of mine, stood up and wrapped her arms around my neck. She sat back down and inspected it once again. “ouch mama!”, she exclaimed in the most genuine matter.

how do you explain to a nineteen month old it wasn’t so much physical, as emotional pain i endured? you don’t.

you just ensure her that you once got hurt, but you’re all better now. that’s along the lines of how i responded (minus the high-pitched-cutsey baby talk). honestly the whole “mommy is okay” was also about consoling myself. am i really, truly “okay”?

the answer to that is a big fat no.

having a cesarean section was the furthest thing away from my birthing plan. in fact, an epidural wasn’t even on there either. i’m not the epitome of strength, but i wanted to give this natural, spiritual, primal and empowering birth a shot. i was wholeheartedly committed. i was moved by ricki lake’s documentary ‘the business of being born’. then hypnobirthing caught my attention in a couple of youtube videos. i was intrigued so much so, i stuck my nose inside this book. i prepared as best i could with an eight week class. i had a midwife and a husband who supported my decision for a water birth.

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since the fifth month of pregnancy, i knew about my partial placenta previa. the news for me was one part concerned, one half denial, a quarter hopeful, and another frustrated. all in all, i tried my best to shove the entire “high risk” label to the very back of my brain. even so, the occasional panic would interrupt my zen. sometimes i’d get distracted during the relaxation exercises in our practitioner’s home basement. the only good thing about my situation was the frequent ultrasounds. i had so many opportunities to see baby growing and moving. it was also a reminder of just how stubborn my placenta was. specialists were measuring its position and the distance away from my cervix. sometimes i’d daydream of reaching in and manually moving it. (i know TMI! not the most pleasant visual)

what can i say? i was desperate and pretty obsessed with babies, birthing and breastfeeding in the most cliche/ idyllic matter. i wanted to be a mother since i could probably say the word ‘mother’.

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as i grew, so did my curiosity and desires to fulfill this rite of passage. ever since the sixth grade (not even exaggerating), i’d religiously watch episodes of tlc’s ‘a baby story’ with amazement and a tissue in hand. i was all like–“how do they do that?” or “how can i do that?” and “how will i endure this? there were a lot of “wows and awws” and “that’s what i want!” followed by “how beautiful“. it was the most intense and incredible thing i’d ever watched. not just on a television, but in person. i witnessed my sister’s all-natural birth. from the first surge (that’s hypnobirthing lingo for ‘ya! it’s an alternative word for contraction) to the final push. when the midwife placed my bare-naked, crying nephew on his mother’s exposed chest, i literally burst into tears. i mean ridiculously, hysterically bawling.

it was a miracle and it was breathtaking. i always hoped to experience it myself.

six, seven, eight and nine months went by. no progress whatsoever. “mrs. molczan, we’re scheduling you for a cesarean section in two weeks”. everything and everyone seemed to fade into the background. i felt as if i was in the charlie brown cartoon. gradually the protocol and procedures explained were sounding like gibberish.”so and so from here and there will be something something. blah, blah and blah. ummmm um um. errrrrr. something something and blah. blah blah. wha wah wha. okay–any questions?

my dreams officially escaped my grasp at the thirty-seventh mark. for the next fourteen days, i was anxious yet excited to meet our daughter. i was thankful for doctors and modern technology and their ability to detect life-threatening conditions. yet, defeat came along for a looooong ride. all my research, planning and efforts were pointless. my fears of major surgery would soon be a reality.

[my birthing/ delivery story would be appropriate here. i’ll also reserve that for yet another post.]

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this scar should be my badge of honor, but i’m not quite ready to wear it with pride. it has nothing to do with vanity, but of what it negatively represents. this incision is one which reminds me of the struggles izzie and i endured. everything from my birthing disappointment, my breastfeeding woes, her serve colic/ reflux troubles and my postpartum depression.

but this scar is also…

where my beautiful, healthy and happy little girl came out of. if i concentrate on that, maybe i can completely let go of my resentment. my c-section and the effects of the surgery were difficult to accept. it still is. even nineteen months after the fact.

it’s just going to take more time i suppose.

raquel

mind over mattress

if we could play word association and i mentioned the word ‘bed’, you might have the following responses:

• sleep • sex • cuddling • sick • insomnia • reading • watching t.v • headboard • comforter • duvet • pillows • murphy • bunk • twin • queen • king • sheets • room • dream • tired • nap • rest • snore •  morning night • relaxing • talking • feathers • cushion • soft • firm • spring • mattress.

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unless you’ve experienced it or love someone who has, this one could easily slip your mind…

de·pres·sion

/diˈpreSHən/ noun:

 1. severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.

 2. a condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.

i’ve personally witnessed this ten letter word misused in casual conversations — “they didn’t have that shoe in my size!…i’m soooo depressed”.  sometimes it’s belittled and treated like a chipped nail — “she says she’s depressed. i personally think she’s…. lazy, because she misses so many work days.” depending who you speak with, you’ll be sure to hear an assortment of opinions. some good, and others are just plain stupid (excuse my lack of a better word). even in this day and age, it carries so many misconceptions and stigma.

smile. be happy”  −  “just get over it already”  − “you’re so sensitive”  −  “why do you take everything so personal”  − “stop crying already”  − “shake it off”  − “pull yourself together”  − “think happy thoughts, and you’ll be happy”  − “why are you always so negative?”  − “you’re being over dramatic right now”  − “you have so much to be grateful for, why are you sad?”  − “can’t you just snap out of it?”  − “when are you going to be your old self again?”  −  “is this how you want to live your life?”  − “well then, i guess you need to try harder”  − “there’s children starving in africa and people dying of cancer. there’s no reason why you should be depressed”  − “just be positive and everything will work out”  − “happiness is a choice.”  −  “staying miserable isnt going to get you anywhere”  −  “i can’t believe you’ve been in bed all day. you need to get up and get out already!”

it’s these statements which leaves people (like myself) feeling misunderstood and alone in their struggles.

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ain’t nothing like a having a bed to surrender to

there’s something comforting in knowing it will support my aching body and heart. when i’ve given all that i’ve got, i’m left with very little. maybe just enough energy to do the bare minimum. at that point, i really just want to crawl into bed. preferably mine, but anything with a semi-firm mattress will do. the second my head hits it, i instantly feel i rush of relief. a very similar feeling when i (actually) made it to first base playing baseball. ohh–i hated gym class more than anything! i’ll confess, i was “that girl”. the last one standing because nobody wanted to pick me for their team. i may just be the most pathetic person ever to attempt sports. so while reaching that base was insignificant to others (because sadly, i never made it to second), i literally exhaled. seriously, i’m not even kidding. i exhaled because i made it. in that same matter, i feel i’ve reached my safe place when i hug my pillow. i bury my face into it and it soaks up my tears. the comforter (which by the way, i think is an appropriate name) swallows me into an abyss of feather-filled puffiness. i get into my typical fetal position and i embrace my weakness. i accept i’ve done my very best to fight this battle. i’ve tried so hard to stay strong. to push forward with every little ounce i have. i’ve smiled beyond the sorrow, i’ve dragged myself hour after hour, day after day in fulfilling my obligations. i continue to push forward with all my might to cope with the the pain, and constant worries. then one day, “i… just… can’t… any more.” –those are my exact words. it feels like i’ve held my breath underwater forever. and while others may cheering “just a little bit longer…you can do it!”, i bring my head up for air. i’m struggling to catch my breath. i’m in severe distress and that’s when the bed lures me in. when i’m in that state of great vulnerability, i feel safe and my pain seems pacified. i like to believe it’s part of my recovery process. most people struggling with depression would agree. we so desperately need our rest. it’s not just emotional exhaustion, but our bodies take a beating too. i could literally stay there forever if we could. it encourages and satisfies my desire to give up for a while, and so i give in.

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fast forward a few days later

that same bed is completely transformed. maybe i changed too, but i certainly feel betrayed sort of speak. she (or he…the gender is debatable, right?), was my best friend. after all, it heard my prayers, caught my tears and excepted me just as i was — unshowered, dirty hair and a complete mess. it embraced me and brought comfort during my times of distress. when i closed off the world, that bed was mine. i become attached to it, because i felt this is where i belong. just as i’m reconnecting with my on-and-off buddy, i feel the knife in my back. i feel trapped, sometimes even handcuffed to this furniture. even when i finally feel the need to clean myself up, i can’t move. i want to go out. i want to do something fun and crafty with my daughter. go on a date with my hubby. chat with a friend. visit my sisters. have a play date with my niece and nephew. write a new post on my blog. work on opening up an etsy shop. cook a yummy meal. do the laundry (and fold it too). i want to do of all this so bad, but now i’m a captive. it’s like i signed my body and mind over to this bed. as you can see, we have a love/hate relationship.

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eventually, my caring husband will open the blinds and the warmth of the sun will touch me ever so perfectly

i feel a tiny bit courageous and i attempt what (almost) seems impossible for me. i have to say that getting up after a few days, is so darn hard! almost just as hard as when i toke my first steps after my awful c-section. the physical, mental and emotional pain is intense. i feel incredibly weak, nauseous, sad and fearful. i hold on to that little ray of hope. i complete each task one at a time. in between, i also take breaks–that’s how distraught and overwhelmed i feel. with the help of those who love me, i regain my strength little by little.

it’s a big milestone, when the bed no longer has control over me. until next time, that is. it’s a constant battle. one i’ve fought since my late childhood. so far, i can’t say it’s gotten easier. it’s just that i know the drill. of course, i’m currently working on my coping skills, but it’s tough. i have a long ways to go.

*i recently came across this non-profit organization. i think it’s a great site for those struggling with depression, anxiety or any form of mental/emotional distress. also, it’s a wonderful way for spouses, family and friends to educate themselves for the sake of their loved ones.

yours truly,

raquel

stained carpet, broken heart, zombies and fall boots. what a week!

This was meant for Sunday, and three days I’m finally able to post.

Needless to say, it was the mother of all jam-packed weeks.

So much has happened. As usual, these past seven days had it’s bitter moments. It also had some sweet ones too. Here is a (small) glimpse of what my week looked like.

Because looking at my little girl on a post about not-so-pleasant things, makes me smile.

Bitter

  • Maybe this should go under the category of funny/ borderline not-so-funny mommy stories. My fifteen month old is the epitome of blissfully happy when she’s in her birthday suit. So as usual, I allow her to run around sans-diaper a couple of minutes before bath time. She’s shrieking and singing, and then completely silent. Very curiously, my husband asks “What did you give Izzie to play with?”. I wasn’t too concerned because I assumed it was some kind of tupperware. Nope. I was so very wrong. Not even close. What could of been a dirty diaper, turned out to be a disaster. I don’t want the TMI reaction, so I’ll conclude as discreetly as possible. It’s safe to say, my carpet and daughter’s hands are (now) cleaner than ever.
  • The example above is so trivial and light hearted in comparison to a loved one in deep pain. It was the worst and most critical situation I had to confront this week. It broke me in a million pieces that I couldn’t do more. All the empathy, listening, comforting and supporting couldn’t change the damage. I’m no physic or modern day prophet, but I saw this coming. I anticipated it and shared the cry for help, Unfortunately, those tears went down the drain and one of my fears became reality. My dearest (you know who you are), your sorrow is also mine because you are a piece of my heart.

Sweet

  • I actually found the first pair of fall boots for Izabella. I was looking for a size 3 which is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack. She has the tiniest of feet (like her mama), and fashionable shoes usually run two sizes waaaayyy too big. So when I found these at The Children’s Place, I grabbed the last pair like a crazy, mad woman. Mind you, they’re a size 4 and a little too roomy. So we’ll have to use thick socks, but at least she won’t outgrow them anytime soon. I think they’re cute. By the way she proudly paraded around with them, I think she agrees.
  • The new season of The Walking Dead started last week. I’m very partial to zombie anything, but this thriller series is anything but typical. The concept is incredibly creative and the plot is meticulously written. It’s filled with action, drama, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. If you have little ones, I have one word for you: DVR. (It contains violence, some language and gore). Plus, the scary scenes are a perfect excuse to cuddle with your lover. Even if it is at home. And it’s only for an hour. Hey, I’ll take it :)

Tomorrow is a new day. A fresh start. A hope for one better than the last. However, Mondays get a bad reputation, and with good reason. So here’s a little mantra for the most dreaded day of the week.

Now repeat after me…

May my monday be peaceful, and not mayhem. Filled with a little less deadlines and a bit more grace.

That officially concludes my bittersweet Sunday post.

Until next time,

R