I have not posted here in thirty months. I came here tonight to write a long overdue update about life. When I got here I discovered this post, written in December 2012, still sitting in draft mode....
I'm not doing so well these days. Not well at all, to be very honest. Most of it has little to do with grief, but I honestly have no other outlet at this point, so here I set writing while I should be doing something else.
My second rainbow was born on July 20 (2012). As luck would have it, the full time physical therapist that had worked for me for two years left my employ on July 27. I knew that he was leaving, but when he advised me of such, he told me that he was staying through summer, which I initially interpreted to be the end of August, not the end of July. I started looking for a new physical therapist to fill his position in May, but had not found one before he left, so I returned to work, part time, at 10 days postpartum. I was back to full time hours by 3 weeks. I had a month of normal hours, and then the school year started. I still have not found another therapist, so I am doing (well, trying my very best) the job of two full time physical therapists. I am either traveling between or hands on with patients for 10-12 hours a day, 5 days a week. That doesn't include most of my paperwork, which I have to do after 7 p.m. I have had so little time that I can't even find time to sit down and pay bills for the house or the office, and now I have a pile of late notices to deal with.
Everyone keeps saying to me "I don't know how you do it." The truth is, I'm not. I'm falling apart inside and out. In my mind, it's amazing that people can't see right through me to see how bad it really is right now. Somehow, I continue to be held to the expectation of being everything to everybody, and I just don't have that strength right now. I just want to be me for me.
I have no nerves left. I start most mornings with a huge elephant of anxiety sitting on my chest because I go to bed behind, wake up further behind and know that it will be worse by the time I go home at the end of the day. No matter how much I accomplish between the hours of 5 a.m. and midnight, I'm always further behind at midnight than I was at 5 a.m.
I spend so much time working that I feel like I'm missing every moment with my girls, and it's made worse by the fact that I know I will never get any of the missed moments back. Knowing that I will miss every moment of the life that Gracie should have had makes every moment that I miss with Jenna and Kylie that much worse. Worse for me and worse for them....worse for me because it creates more stress and anxiety, and worse for them because the worse the stress and anxiety get, the shorter my temperament gets. The worse all of it gets, the deeper my feelings of guilt and hopelessness get.
I snap at my husband and raise my voice to the kids. I yell at the dogs and cats. There is an episode of Everyone Loves Raymond in which one of the kids calls his teacher 'mommy'. His father and sister both asked "Why? Was the teacher yelling?" I feel like that mom right now. I don't want to be that mom. And this isn't how it's supposed to work, right? Isn't the dead baby supposed to create that 6th sense about 'better' parenting? Parenting with better insight, better understanding, more compassion, more tolerance, more empathy, and generally more love injected into everything, right???
And that is where it stopped.... I thought about just deleting this and going on to the post that I came here to write tonight, but I obviously changed my mind. In the moment that I was writing this post, I had myself convinced that none of my feelings were related to baby loss or grief, despite the fact that I referenced 'the dead baby' in my last thought. Reading through this tonight, I can see so clearly that most of how I was feeling could be blamed equally on lingering grief and extrinsic stressors. Just another demonstration of not being able to see the forest for the trees... Those damn grief trees...
Since writing that post, lots has changed. The baby that had been born in July is now 2 1/2 years old and we had our 4th and final baby girl on January 24, 2015. I finally hired a therapist to replace the one who had left, but we have again reached the point that both of us are working a gazillion hours per week, and we have been searching for an additional therapist for the last year. I finally hired that additional therapist....two weeks before this last baby was born, so we are not yet settle in or experiencing any case load relief yet.
I have made it my mission to quit yelling. My voice still works its way to "firm" or "raised" with relative frequency, but I have long stretches (sometimes weeks) with actually yelling. I remind myself every single day that I need to slow down the things in my life that regularly take time away from my kids, directly or indirectly, because I know that I am going to be so very sorry down the road if I keep missing moment after moment with them. It's so hard, though, to balance a business with the need to capture those moments with the kids....
The good news, I suppose, is that even with the sleep deprivation that has come over the the last 2 1/2 weeks with the new baby, that utter sense of despair that oozed from the December 2012 post is gone. I have had three full weeks off with the new baby (which is a luxury for me) and I will have two weeks working half of my normal schedule before I return to full swing. Once the new therapist completes orientation, we will split caseloads and I can focus on other aspects of the business that should, in the long run, free up some time for me to spend with the family.