So January is all the way finished. I predicted it would go quickly, and it sure did. I didn’t manage to write a single thing, but that’s okay. My family and friends all were keeping me company IRL so that George and Ellen had caregivers while we balanced newborn doctor visits, pre-op testing, orthopedic visits, and urologists.
Ellen is doing very very well. At one month old, Ellen is as big as her brother was at his birth. That fact gives me comfort because she is a premature baby, given every thing she’s encountered, I’m very proud that she appears to be as healthy at one-month-old, born 35 weeks premature, as her brother was at his birth who was carried full term. What I mean to say is, if Ellen had grown as an inside-baby to full term, she would be as big as my other baby was at his full term birth. It tells me that I’m as good at growing an outside-baby as I am growing an inside-baby.
I mentioned that Kenmore Mercy doesn’t deliver babies, yes? I suspect someone misplaced a decimal in her chart and there was a question if Ellen was born 6 pounds 7 ounces, or 6.7 pounds. Turns out she was 6.7 lbs at birth, but it doesn’t matter because she grew to 6 lbs 7 oz before 14 days old. It was all formula. I did not breastfeed her beyond the colostrum in the hospital. True to my word, I did not offer my breast to my daughter once I arrived home. I will remember the last time I had her suckle forever.
Overall, I have no significant news related to my cancer journey from the month of January. It was life with a newborn and a toddler. George would go to the grandparents to visit and stay on his normal schedule. It allowed for Nick and I to have one-on-one bonding with Ellen and balance sleeps. I struggled with some postpartum diaper rash, but I got it under control quicker than I did with George’s postpartum.
There is a significant and wonderful accomplishment in January. Me. My mental health. It was excellent. I was not suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety because I was dutifully taking Zoloft to regulate my brain chemistry. I can’t do that on my own. I’ve spent 33 years trying to do it on my own, and I cannot. I have always lived with an anxiety disorder, never fully realizing that my normal is a painful way to exist. When I was pregnant with George I noticed that the PPD posters in my OB’s office already described my life, so I knew that I would struggle with postpartum depression. Since then I was able to get myself help. I was able to find a good medicine and counseling to improve my wellbeing. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I am proud to improved.
To say that the difference in my mental health is night and day does not begin to illustrate the contrast. The difference feels more like the bleak, dim dawn on Pluto to a beautiful, summer sunrise with birdsong on Earth. My first postpartum experience being lonely on Pluto, followed by vibrant Earth.
I hugged George. I picked him up. I danced with him. I played with him. I got on the floor and rolled with him. I was jubilant in freedom from my body as a sick vessel for four weeks. And then with Ellen as an outside baby, she slept and ate and filled diapers every two hours, and my family rolled with the rhythm. Nick and I took shifts at night so that we could each get five hours of continuous sleep. This January was excellent.
I’m writing this six weeks later and it feels like this joyful moment in time was years ago. I’ve suffered quite a bit in the month of February. So let’s get to it.
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