It’s a very cold, raw Memorial Day weekend here in Providence. We’re barely in the 50s today with off-and-on rain. I’m cuddled up in the lounge chair watching the Bruins v. Rangers game on TV with a plethora of coffee to keep me warm. I’ve heard rumors that Monday will be nice around here – here’s hoping!
May has not been the best of months for me, and I’m glad it’s coming to a close. I have just over a week left of my maternity leave – I return to work on June 4th, and my feelings are mixed about it. Maternity leave has been a confusing time for me – both slow as hell and passing in an instant at the same time. Part of me is completely not ready to go back to work. I’m exhausted and stressed with trying to figure out motherhood, along with the recovery of what’s happened over the last twelve weeks (or honestly, everything since last July). Part of me is SO ready to go back to work and rejoin society again. Newborn baby stage really is an incredibly isolating thing. I’m surprised how much it has affected me – I tend to be a bit of a homebody and love to spend time on my own… but I suppose when it’s forced time at the house with no real way to get out because of a very young infant, it was a bit paralyzing and incredibly stifling.
As I mentioned, May hasn’t been the best of months. The month started with a 5 am trip to the Emergency Room for another strong gallbladder attack. Only this time it wasn’t just a gallstone making irritation in the bile duct – I’d developed pancreatitis. So for the next four days, I was admitted as an inpatient to the same floor of the hospital I’d been on only seven weeks before when having Max. The first 36 hours were spent being forbidden any food or water in an attempt to let my pancreas and my liver rest and reduce the inflamation. Then I was on a clear liquid diet for the remainder of my inpatient time. I’m completely truthful when I say that I was thankful to see jello. The worst part of being in the hospital was the first night. The doctors ordered an MRI to see what was going on with my gallstones to plan how to proceed. Since the hospital only has one MRI machine, they do the inpatient MRIs overnight. I was wheeled down around 12:30 in the morning and had the WORST claustrophobic panic attack of my life when they tried to put me into the MRI tube. I absolutely lost it – completely over the edge, sobbing and irrational about the damn thing, convinced that I’d never be able to get better because I couldn’t face getting in that tube. About three hours later, the aide came by again to attempt to bring me down for the scan again, and I was still crying and not doing well. The nurses suggested administering a dose of ativan (an anti-anxiety medication) to help me get through it. I agreed to try it, even though I doubted it would work. Thankfully it did and they were able to get me through the MRI with me stoned out of my mind. Once they’d received the MRI results, the decision was that I needed to have my gallbladder taken out as soon as possible, and surgery was scheduled for Monday.
I was released from the hospital on Sunday to go home for a night, rest, shower, and spend some time with Max. On Monday afternoon, I had outpatient laproscopic surgery to get the gallbladder out. The surgery itself went well, but I was in recovery for a few hours due to my oxygen level staying low. I tried to stay calm about it, but with everything else that had happened, I was a bit weepy in the recovery room. I’m sure the nurses thought I was a bit… off… but I just couldn’t help it.
During this entire hospital adventure, my mom was in town. She’d originally planned to only be up for two days, but ended up staying for a full week to help Erich with Max. She suggested that I go back down to Pennsylvania with her after my surgery to relax and recover, since she already had another trip up to Providence planned for May 18th-24th for a cruise around the south coast islands. I agreed and spent about a week and a half at her house, visiting with family and introducing everyone to Max. I also learned a lot of baby techniques from my mom – we gave Max his first real bath (as opposed to the sponge baths he’d been getting for the first month and a half), we developed his bedtime routine, and got him accustomed to sleeping in a bassinet in an attempt to start transitioning him from the swing he’d been sleeping in since day one. I didn’t sleep all that great while at Mom’s since I was on the couch and on overnight baby duty for all but one of the nights, but I had a good time seeing everyone. My youngest cousins had a blast with Max, and I finally got the opportunity to spend more time with them than just a quick chaotic night at my wedding or during the holidays. I also got to see my Uncle Ray, Aunt Ann, and cousin Laura from my dad’s side of the family – they came over to my mom’s one afternoon, which turned into an unplanned blending of the divorced family again briefly as my mom and grandfather caught up with them. My mom hadn’t seen Laura since she was a little girl. It always catches me by surprise at how weird having my mom and dad’s family together feels. My parents have been divorced for 24 years now, and I’m so used to them being completely separate.
I have a bunch of photos from the visit to get up on my Flickr account. That may have to be my Memorial Day project.
Anyway, we returned up to Providence last Saturday. Mom and her longtime friend/former boyfriend Barrie went on their cruise, and I settled back into motherhood at home to start my last days of leave. Max got his first vaccines on Monday. We went up to Boston to show Max off to my co-workers on Wednesday. And tomorrow my mom will head back home to end what has been a very, very strange month.
The good thing is that at the end of this, I’m okay and recovering from my two bouts of major surgery in eight weeks, although I’m a little shaken by it all. I did finally accept that I’m having some postpartum depression and am getting help for it. Max is doing great and growing quickly. As of his doctor’s visit on Monday, he was 13 pounds, 7 ounces and 25 inches long (7lbs even at birth and 20.5 inches). He’s now sleeping in the crib full-time and has a solid night routine. He’s not sleepning through the night yet, but we’re doing stretches of three to four hours at times. At ten weeks, that’s not that bad.
But I’m glad May is almost over. And I’m hoping that I won’t experience another month like this in my lifetime.