Thursday, April 28, 2022

Ghosts of Ailments Past (Day 118, Year 2)

Almost 16 years ago, we brought Lily home from the NICU. She had been born at 29 weeks, 5 days; 11 weeks too soon. It wasn't her decision (I still get annoyed when people comment, "oh she just couldn't wait to get here!")

I was sick--so sick--from preeclampsia.  Three years later, now 13 years ago, we repeated the same dance. I became very ill suddenly and my baby girl, this time, Chloe, had to be born too soon. 

Chloe made it to 31 weeks. 

I carry that guilt with me forever. There is nothing like watching your babies struggle to breathe,  knowing that if your body hadn't failed then they would not be struggling. 

But, alas, our bodies are mostly out of our control, even under the best of circumstances. They are complicated, imperfect, fickle and disasterous. I was in the best shape of my life when I was pregnant with Lily--a runner who just finished half-marathon training. With Chloe, I was a yoga teacher, teaching hours of classes each week. With Nicholas, who was born right on time with no preeclampsia in sight, I taught yoga, but I always enjoyed a seafood buffet and watching Bravo. 

When it came down to the truth of my body: there was nothing I could do. I just had to try my best and pray I made it through preeclampsia. And I did. 

But, things have a way of creeping up in our bodies; latent trauma and cellular exhaustion from working so amongst the rumble of damage.

That's what has happened to me. First, it was 5 years ago when a visit to a podiatrist for my bad ankle revealed a high blood pressure that hadn't been there a couple months earlier. The high blood pressure only left with medication. Now, it is Type 2 diabetes--which also was not there a couple years ago, not even in a borderline way. A friend said this is why routine doctor's appointments are important and she is right. 

But, this is also why loving your imperfect body completely is important. 

There was nothing I could have done, short of intense and sustained diet changes that would have made a difference. And even if I was a "perfect" eater and an intense athlete, I would still be in this spot. No amount of diet and exercise can erase preeclampsia. No amount of strict eating or hardcore training will erase my bodily malfunction in the past. 

So, here I am, waiting for the pharmacy to fill my new prescriptions, embarking on a new journey with this constantly malfunctioning body of mine that still surprises me with its ability to simultaneously fail and succeeed in big, huge ways. 

Just look at those three kids of mine--the biggest successes of this body of mine. 


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