Friday, May 9, 2014

My Son Saved My Life (Part I)

My son was conceived January 9th, 2013 and his conception saved my life.  The beginning of his life marked a rebirth of mine.  His beginning broke me back down into the tiny pieces I had glued together two years prior when I got sober.  This time would be different.  This time I would go on to pick up those pieces
and lay them instead at the feet of Jesus who reassembled me into a woman I never thought was possible.

Rene James III just 6 hours old.

Two years before, I had been living a nearly isolated existence in a small Louisiana town.  One evening, not long after the holiday season, I paced through my house, weeping and wringing my hands.  I wasn't well and I knew it.  My husband stayed 80 miles away in New Orleans during the week and it was just me and my firstborn daughter at home--she was about 18 months old, and I was two months pregnant with my second daughter.

I was struggling to do pretty much everything, so I packed up my car and let my parents know we were headed that way.  I figured the logistics of the visit, the drive, the change in scenery, the company, the help--one of those many factors was sure to jolt and jump start my system back to normalcy.  It had worked before.

I arrived safely at my parents' house just outside Nashville and got into the bed to wait.  I waited and waited but it wasn't working.  All I wanted to do was sleep for escaping was the only thing that brought relief.  My mom had to completely take over caring for Cadence.  I was unable to rouse myself in the morning let alone think coherently enough to perform the simplest tasks like dressing, grooming and feeding my daughter.

I couldn't bear to converse with my parents or join them for meals.  My nerves were raw.  Light was annoying, but darkness brought anxiety and despair.  Sound was annoying, yet I was so lonely.  I started to grow weary like I had just before my diagnosis in 2003.  I started to crave a sleep from which I'd never wake.  And just like before, I knew it was time to once again seek professional help.  

I found a gentleman by the name of Dr. Samuel Okpaku in Nashville, and I got sober as I've mentioned many times before in March of 2011.  Over the next year, I steadily built a solid foundation of sobriety with a series of tasks that allowed me to get outside of my own head and forced me to be part of the world.  

I was well enough by April of that year to coach the women's All Marine Volleyball team.  Later that summer I gave birth to my daughter Carmyn.  By February my husband's older daughters, 7 and 12, were living with me.  I am certain that the routine of feeding, grooming, supervising, getting them to school, etc. played a huge part in my recovery.

My husband received a new assignment in New York and we moved to Long Island the summer of 2012.  The timing couldn't have been better.  I went from being isolated on 8 acres in a small country town, to living in an urban townhouse surrounded by neighbors, many of them fellow military families, in a bustling town not 25 miles from New York City.  It was awesome!

I quickly realized that I was in over my head.  I had lived as a sick woman for 10 or more years.  I lacked many life skills that normal people take for granted.  I didn't really know how to have friendships with other women, I didn't know how to create or follow a daily/weekly routine for myself or the kids.  I didn't know how to grocery shop properly, let alone cook.  I couldn't clean my house efficiently or tackle a to do list expeditiously, to name a few.

I decided that I needed therapy and God sent me a beautiful woman named Samine Charles.  She was perfect for me in every way.  I learned the darndest things by just talking things out with her, but the most valuable revelation that came from our sessions was anxiety.  I had no idea how much anxiety had ruled and was still ruling my life.

I may do a whole post on my anxieties, but for example, my dishes used to pile up because I couldn't do them until it felt right. Often times it would never feel right and they would end up getting done out of shame or fear that someone would see them.  Cue irritated panic that would spill over effecting everyone in the house negatively.  This pattern was pretty typical and my anxieties crippled me, making most things quite the difficult undertaking.

I worked with Samine regularly that summer and on into the fall when Hurricane Sandy throat punched Long Island.  I packed up the girls and the dog a week later and we evacuated to my parents' house in Tennessee where we remained until January, 2013.  

Things were going great!  I was finally losing weight, I was growing individually, my marriage was on the mend, my husband and I were becoming friends again....perhaps a little too friendly because on January 9th, 2013, I got knocked up quite unexpectedly.  I was livid.  

I knew immediately that I was pregnant but had to wait two weeks to take a test.  About 20 days after conception I decided that it was in the baby's best interest for me to quit taking my SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) escitalopram.  I had concerns regarding him possibly developing a neural tube defect. 

And the hell began.

It may take one or two more posts to tell this story, so, Holla Back!! in the comments, "I'm staying tuned!"  Until next time.....all my love.


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