Saturday, May 07, 2005

Snap, Crackle, Pop

I finally snapped last week. All because of warm milk and turkey sandwiches, or rather the suggestion of them.

Week 15 of my pregnancy had been fantastic, notwithstanding all the damn car minutiae we were going through. Week 16 brought back the joys of bad sleep and morning conversations with Earl Chunks, my trusty green bucket. By the time I got to Week 17, I was starting to fall asleep in meetings at work and losing concentration during simple tasks. I called my OB to try to convince him that the normally trivial pregnancy symptoms of exhaustion and morning sickness were having a profound impact on my life and health. I thought for sure that mentioning that I had run a red light and caused a car accident most likely due to exhaustion would finally get this guy's attention. But no. He comes back with warm milk and turkey sandwiches as the next fix to try. This came the day after I was seconds away from quitting my job because I had just gotten a new pile of work and no help to get through it. I lost it.

Week 18, this week, of my pregnancy saw me at home, taking a week off from work (without pay because my three remaining vacation days are spoken for with family trips) so I could try to get some sleep and get on top of all this stress. And, of course, find a new OB. I did get a lot of sleep, and most of my mornings were fine, although Baby can't seem to let me go longer than ten days without finding fault with something I ate for breakfast. But trying to get on top of the stress has been rough. I had some heart to hearts with Mark to find the best ways for the two of us to deal with my stress and his stress without creating more stress. I progressed further in my quest to accept the reality of my current situation: energy levels that I can't depend on, rough mornings, lots of naps, strange reactions to even the mention of some foods, etc. But when it came to figuring out how I might handle returning to work, I kept coming up empty.

Then I realized a couple of things. One, that I've dealt with exceedingly stressful situations before in my life and emerged just fine, and even weathered the storms with a helluva lot more grace. Two, that in those previous situations I had the comfort of knowing exactly where I was going in life (career in research) and of good, unwavering health. Three, that while I now have life goals and direction again, I am unable to proceed toward them with the gusto I would like due to Mark's needing to finish up his degree and my needing to bring home the bacon until he's got the letters after his name to do so. Four, that I can't rely on my body at all to be healthy at any given time. In short, nearly all of my strength is tapped in just getting through the unique stress and health issues of each day, sometimes each hour. So it's no wonder that a downward spiral in my work situation combined with the extracurricular joys of a car accident and root canal are all converging to make me a basket case on a regular basis. I've got to learn new coping strategies because the fallbacks of life direction and health are no longer givens that I don't have to worry about.

So while I don't necessarily have any answers to make the months leading up to October 3 any easier, I at least have a better understanding of where I am and why things get to feel so overwhelming. And knowing those things will hopefully help me see warning signs well in advance of the snapping point I hit last week.

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