Saturday, August 10, 2013

Everything is Broken, Part II

I am bedresting.

This has put a major crimp in my nesting.

It's amazing how much can go haywire in a short amount of time.  Tuesday morning, I was tired but fine. Tuesday night, complete screaming agony.  While I writhed around in pain from the worst hemorrhoids of my life (hemorrhoids hemorrhoids hemorrhoids ... if you're grossed out, stopped reading now) Walter woke up coughing and screaming at regular intervals, throwing up at one point, too.  There was a thunderstorm, as well, adding an extra exciting element to our perfect storm of a terrible night.  Between taking care of me and Walter, Sean got almost no sleep at all.  Every once and awhile the household whimpering would abate long enough so that I could hear Hank the Dog snoring. Hank: "I am so used to this by now.  Good night, crazy family."

When Walter woke up again at 3 am I decided that our misery could only be improved by company and I crawled into bed with him.  It was a terrible idea, but it worked: Sean got a few hours of sleep, Walter got a little sleep, maybe, and definitely some rest, and I got one more snuggle in with my boy before that snuggling became absolutely physically impossible.  It was not a comfortable three hours for the Mama.  At one point, I had to turn over on my other side, away from Walter.  He woke up a little bit, snuggled in behind me, and did his best to rub my back (because he knows, you see, that back rubbing is what you do when you want someone to go to sleep.)  He's a very sweet boy.  When he woke up at 6 Walter was cranky to find a giant pregnant Mama taking up so much space in his bed and blocking his route to the door.  I was cranky and unable to get out of said bed (the turtle-on-her-back metaphor is truer than ever these days.)  Sean came and rescued both of us, like he does, and as we started a new day, I think we all thought we'd probably seen the low point and it could only be up from there.

Our optimism, while a treasured family characteristic, was misplaced in this case.

Since then, Dr. M. put me on bedrest for the duration of my pregnancy (me: "If I get better, can I go back to work?" Dr. M. "No.  That was easy.") and I made arrangements for my maternity leave to start (and end) a week earlier than we'd hoped. While my helpless turtle self lay around in pain all day, Walter got really impressively sick.  Pink eye in both eyes and a case of hives that spread so quickly and aggressively it took our breath away.  There was a trip to the emergency room and two trips to see Dr. L. The second trip to Dr. L. was inspired by a bad case of tremors and blue fingertips. Walter had his first lab work since the day he was born--a blood draw and urinalysis that came back totally clean. Armed with two antihistamines, steroids, and antibiotic eye drops, we were told to dose up our boy regularly, watch and wait. All of this, we were repeatedly assured, was perfectly normal and not nearly as scary as it looked.

And it was true.  But ohmygoodness was it a terrible three days before we started to see the light.

The light was there all along, of course. It was immediately there in the form of prayers and offers of help from family, friends and congregation members. It was there in the fact that none of the conditions that put me on bedrest are life threatening to me or to Sally.  The light was there because of all the work I'd already gotten done to get ready for maternity leave, and because the incredible staff and volunteers at Redeemer immediately jumped in and made everything else that needed to happen, happen. The light was in Walter, who braved all those doctor's visits and pokes and prods like a trooper, and in the truth that he is really OK and going to be fine: his body is just fighting a regular old virus in a somewhat overzealous way (really, immune system? Do we need this over-the-top histamine response?)  The light was in our wonderful doctors, Dr. M. and Dr. L., and their wonderful nurses who take such good care of Walter and me. Walter was so excited to go see Dr. L. on Thursday morning that he ran around the house happily chanting "Dr. L.! Dr. L.!" It's a little weird, but it's definitely better than being afraid to go to the doctor.

The light shone in and through Sean, who--sleep deprived--summoned strength, love and patience abundant (where does it come from?) And the light very much arrived with Umma on Friday evening ... that was the turning point, when we knew it was going to be OK.  When Walter woke up this morning he declared it: "Umma, Umma-Day."

We're not out of the woods, yet, but Walter's hives are getting better.  The main struggle now is getting all four medicines into him while he's 'roid raging like a tiny, angry baseball player. So, so angry.  I'm doing OK, too, although the hemorrhoids are now bleeding a lot (I told you to stop reading) and I'm kind of anxious and cranky (with no steroids to blame for it.)  I've got a bit of a Rear Window thing going on ... kind of ... really, nothing like that at all except I sit around all day thinking that bad things are happening out there. I'm going to have to distract myself with a lot of Star Trek next week, I think.

On Wednesday morning, after that first terrible night, Sean and I couldn't help but draw parallels between this 37th week of pregnancy with Sally and my 39th week of pregnancy with Walter (the week that Sean immortalized in the original "Everything is Broken" post.)  I made some sort of "well, maybe this time it will be less expensive" comment, but I should have knocked on wood, because Sean has had to take two and half unpaid days off so far, and the ER isn't cheap, and the emotional and psychological costs racked up in just these few days have been considerable.

It stinks when it feels like everything is going wrong all at once. You try to keep perspective, you try to count blessings and realize that it could be so much worse, but it still stinks while you're in the middle of it.  A lot of the light/darkness dichotomies in the Bible are unhelpful at best and racist (or often used racist-ly) at worst, but there is something to be said for the image of the light of Christ shining in the darkness, like a candle flame shining persistently, maybe sputtering a little bit now and then, but shining nonetheless.

On Thursday Walter was heartbroken to find that two of his "happy birthdays" (battery-powered LED candles we had in our windows at Christmastime) were out of juice. "Broken," he announced, sadly.  When we got the third one to glimmer, he was completely delighted, and let out a big, very surprised and happy "YAAAAAAAY!"

So, thanks be to God for Umma Umma-Day, for dear ones who come bearing shredded BBQ chicken, for snoring dogs, for Sean, for the impromptu concert of Muppet music Walter gave us tonight (he let us know when each song was over by clapping and shouting "Yaaaaaay!",) for Sally dancing to the beat of her brother's singing, for sitz baths, for steroids and antihistamines and antibiotics, and even for bedrest (and the luxury of being able to take bedrest when I needed it.) We are a little broken, but still glimmering away.  YAAAAAAAAY! Amen!


3d8th said...

I think stitch says it best:

Pastor Annie said...

I knew you'd get the reference!! Sean and I watched Lilo and Stitch on a regular basis (over and over again) when we first started dating ... it's pretty much the foundation of our marriage. =)

3d8th said...

It is by far my favorite Disney movie.