It's ok to not be ok. Supposedly.
"This is it. This is me on my own with our three children."
I can only describe the last couple of weeks as a continuation of the longest rollercoaster of my life! I'm experiencing highs and lows literally every single day and if I wasn't having to keep the fluids up for feeding the milk monster it would be to stop me from becoming dehydrated from all of the tears!
Finally the time came for catheter out day. In general, birthing a child ensures you've lost all dignity and privacy for your body, after people have prodded and poked around, put things in places you'd rather they didn't. Carrying around a bag of your own waste fluid is just a continuation of these unwanted experiences. The doctor pumped my bladder full of dye until it was full and I felt like it would explode, then took a load of pictures of it to check that it wasn't leaking. It wasn't, which meant I could have the catheter out and just had to pee a certain amount during a few hours. Totally nailed it and did a happy peeing dance to celebrate. Never been so relieved (literally) than I felt right then. Only problem was by being so fixated on the catheter coming out, I hadn't considered I'd still be feeling pretty shabby, both physically and emotionally, once it was gone so that added to my frustration and upset.
The following day we registered our teeny tiny human and made her all official. Funnily enough her name wasn't on the list of the top 100 in the registry office but that didn't surprise us as we went for something she will definitely have to spell out or clarify whenever she rings a call centre. Poor kid. The big girls were at nursery so we went for a lovely peaceful meal, just the three of us, to celebrate. You forget how easy eating out is with only one child in tow - hot food and everything!
We have also celebrated our anniversary. One year since we turned our civil partnership into a marriage and 11 years since the civil partnership. I can't believe how quickly it's gone since the big party in Windsor. We had agreed not to make a fuss since we have quite a bit going on with the arrival of the little one but L surprised me with my wedding flowers all over again and our first dance song, Shut Up And Dance, playing. There were free-flowing happy tears and that warm, fuzzy feeling at just how thoughtful she is. I felt loved. She's got to love me to have put up with me over the last few weeks. I know it's not been easy for her.
Next, to add to the ride, it was time for L to head back to work. This is it. This is me on my own with our three children. This is us having to begin our new normal. I felt ready for it. I mean, the OCD in me was starting to get annoyed at how L was doing things round the house, which is usually my territory. I mean, she's let G have potato waffles for breakfast most days with the giveaway sign of ketchup on her face and who knows how many chocolate biscuits the Chaotic One has had. L wasn't bothered though. She said it was a clear sign I was getting better, now I'm bossing her around again. Plus I made it to nursery only five minutes late with all the snow, three kids in tow and homemade costumes for World Book Day. Felt epic! Maybe it's the Northern in me, or maybe it's just the determination that I want to feel better and back to me, that I got a bit of fire in my belly.
So imagine the disappointment I felt when during my first week of going solo, the tears still kept coming. I found it hard for so many reasons. I was in pain maneuvering through the day from lifting the kids into the car and going about my day-to-day tasks, as well as coping with the tiredness. So it was no surprise when the health visitor asked me how I was coping and I became this blubbering mess of tears and ugly crying face. Now I don't know what your experience is of a health visitor, but I hear a lot of people grumbling about them and their faults. But I guess I've been pretty lucky with mine as they've always been fairly helpful.
I've only had one awkward moment with our first health visitor who discretely shuffled the "contraception after a baby" leaflet out of the welcome pack she was about to give me. Yes, I'm not sure I'm going to need that, love! So this time round I'm a mess, expecting her to be all judgy and critical at my ability to be a good mum and her advice was, "You've had a baby. Go easy on yourself. It's ok to feel like this." Phew! It was like the fog had lifted a little bit. Maybe it was ok. Maybe I'm not completely crazy. My friend told me it's ok to not be ok. Maybe she is right. Still keep trying to tell myself that and remind myself I'm trying to get over a hugely traumatic birth, while juggling life with three children and not to mention the physical healing, which is still not where I want it to be. My stomach, for instance, is a mess. I'd expect it to start resembling some sort of normal by now, maybe a little podgier, but it is still really abnormal, hugely swollen and painful in many areas - probably about five-months-pregnant-looking. Trying to be patient, but it's not really my thing.
I have been living in this weird blur for the last few weeks. I've even gone through some of my pictures and texts and can barely remember them happening or it's as if it was from another time. It's weird and surreal, but my control freak nature hates it, plus I feel like I'm not getting to enjoy the best bits like I would want to. Also, with this emotional side of things, my ability to interact with many humans, be they friends or strangers, is becoming affected. When people tell me I look great or that I'm doing so well, I feel like an absolute fraud as inside I'm hurting. When people ask me how I am, my response is the usual "I'm good" or "I'm ok", but really I'm not, but I won't tell you because I want to be these things. I'm just not there yet and that's ok. Supposedly. I don't quite feel up to big groups and I certainly am out of my comfort zone with strangers. Strangers are the worst. They see you with a fresh baby and feel its essential to impart their tales about their uterus, vagina or C-section during birth when I don't even know their name. I can't be held responsible for my actions if this happens again; my smiling politely has run out.
So trying to take one day at a time and be kinder to myself lowering my expectations and slowing things down. I know I'll get there and there will be less tears and more smiles. I just don't know when.
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