Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Changes

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Changes

Okay, I admit it. The last 19 months have been challenging. Never in my life have I struggled so hard to make it through each day and come out smiling. I do not always succeed. I can actually look back at the calendar at this point and map out each stage we have survived. When we decided to become parents, I had no idea what it would entail. My old life and the person I used to be are long gone. I wake up in the same house with the same husband/cat, and I am thankful for that, but everything else has changed. During pregnancy I experienced "baby brain," which I formerly believed was a ridiculous old wives' tale. Silly girl! I always paid most of the bills, and on two occasions the bank notified us I had written completely random, mystical numbers on our mortgage checks that did not seem to correspond with anything anywhere. I finally had to hand over my bill-paying pen until Erik was born. Brian could have ribbed me mercilessly about this, but he (a) knew the pen would be plunged through his eye socket or (b) he was being kind to his swollen, mentally challenged wife. In addition, I was obsessive-compulsive woman, returning to the house three times before work to grab forgotten items or checking to see if I extinguished a candle/the stove/my curling iron. After Erik's arrival, the hormones subsided, and I found I could think again, only to realize Erik was not going to cease crying. Brian and I began the next stage without sleep. I wondered if I would ever get my brain back and my sluggish synapses firing again. I wondered if being a mother was as mind-numbing for other women and if it was normal that I was not bonding with my baby or enjoying myself at all for months at a time. I admitted this to my husband, but it was a terrible, dark secret I carried for months. Truthfully, this would have gone to my grave with me if Erik had not been diagnosed. Thankfully, Dr. G., Erik's pediatrician, gave Erik medicine to quell the acid that was burning his throat and face raw, and life began anew. She also told me to discontinue breast feeding, which stopped my infections/fevers/joint pain, Ebola virus-like bleeding, and the unbearable, shooting pain I endured for three months. No more cold sweats before latch on! During my time off with Erik, the job I had for 10 years changed dramatically without warning, and I decided it was time to move on. I will never forget the feeling of being escorted by the human resources manager to my car with my little box of belongings without even saying goodbye to anyone. Honestly, this was like a death to me, as it was a large part of who I felt I was and how I achieved my independence before I met Brian. I was devastated. I tried working part-time in another office, thinking the interaction with others would be fun. As it turns out, breast feeding was more fun. I was horribly unhappy and found myself sitting jobless at home again. Thankfully, a very wonderful ex-coworker of mine called out of the blue and needed help with her own accounts, and I am doing medical transcription from home now. It was a giant adjustment to go from sitting at a desk in a busy office with a line of people waiting to talk to me and a constantly ringing phone to sitting in a quiet room in my house with a cat staring at me. It took time to realize I was not a failure and was just as important as I was before to different people. It took a year to fully adjust to being a mother and even longer to figure out who I am and what I am supposed to be doing. Once I had a handle on that, we were told something was very wrong with Erik. While it was a relief to get a diagnosis and discover why everything had been so hard for us, we had to get up and dust ourselves off yet again. I had to take Unisom nightly for a month after the visit to the geneticist to get any sleep at all. Now that I am sleeping better, I am constantly coming down with something. Thankfully, Erik has the immune system of an elephant (ever hear of a sick elephant?) and has been sick only twice. We shared his last illness, and he did much better than his poor old mother. I have learned that being a parent means contracting exciting new illnesses that make death look extremely attractive. Add stress to the mix, and they hit extremely hard. I begged Brian to hasten my demise, but he refused and took care of me instead. Now that I am over the latest bird flu/malaria/Hantavirus thing, I seem to be coming down with yet another *&%$#@! sore throat.

I know that I will someday be able to look back on this particular stage and see that we trudged through it successfully. I know now that life means constant change, as stagnant as things seem to be at any given time. Although change can be painful, it can mean moving on to something better. For the time being, though, please pass the cough drops.

2 Comments:

Blogger Teresa & Shawn said...

Hang in there. You are doing the most important, incredible job on this planet - as Erik's mother. If that is what defines you, then that is something to be proud of. Erik is blessed to have such a mother.

Take care,
Teresa

5:06 PM  
Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...

GOOD MORNING ERIK!!
YOUR AUNTIE CINNAMON AND UNCLE BRAD HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR YOU ALL WEEK AND LOTS YESTERDAY! WE TRUST THAT ALL WENT WELL WITH YOUR PROCEDURE YESTERDAY AND YOU AMAZED ALL THE DR'S. WE LOVE YOU AND SEND YOU BIG BIG HUGS! GIVE YOUR MOMMY A BIG HUG FROM ME, AFTER YESTERDAY I AM SURE SHE NEEDS A LITTLE TLC! BRAYDEN AND BROGAN MISS YOU AND CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU AGAIN REAL SOON. TELL YOUR MOMMY THAT HER WRITINGS IN HER BLOGSITE ARE AWESOME AND THAT I KNOW YOU KNOW HOW TRULY BLESSED YOU ARE TO HAVE SUCH GEMS FOR PARENTS!!
ALL OUR LOVE,
AUNTIE DAWNITA
HAVE YOU HAD ANYMORE CINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS LATELY? PERHAPS I NEED TO MAIL YOU OFF SOME? :)

7:10 AM  

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