Two months after bringing Anaia home my mother left. Cue panic attack…
While Ryan was working twelve-hour days, I was home alone with this truly amazing, but equally intimidating little being. My physical limitation aside, the biggest obstacle was extreme sleep deprivation. Although Ryan was working he’d help during the night. He was completely and totally in love with the new little lady in his life. I used to get out of bed and hide out of sight so I could listen to him sing “Anaia Grace with the beautiful face, Anaia Grace, Anaia Grace.”
One night, after hearing him standing there singing, there was a moment of absolute silence followed by a loud thud then a baby crying. I ran into the room to see Ryan and Anaia on the floor! He’d sung both of them to sleep. Don’t worry, Anaia was fine….
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:2
For me, sleep deprivation can be very dangerous and can trigger a seizure. Although I never had a one during that time (I’ve been seizure free for over eight years), I had auras, which is the feeling of a seizure coming on. Another issue was getting the right dosage of my medication to prevent seizure from occurring. Just as when I gained weight while pregnant and I had to increase the dosage, when I lost weight after giving birth I had to decrease the dose.
Here’s when my doctor almost had a heart attack…
After giving birth I lost 40 pounds in one week! How or why did I lose that much weight in a week? I didn’t try to. Those 40 pounds were the result of how much extra amniotic fluid I was making coupled with losing weight of Anaia, who was six pounds at birth. While I was happy about this weight loss, because I was 186 at 5’1″, my doctor was a bit frazzled. I was losing weight too fast for her to keep up with the adjustments. Keeping me stable was going to be an act of God and I believe it was by His grace I never went into a full-blown seizure.
Neurologically speaking, I was a complete mess. Ryan probably should have taken me out in the back yard and put me out of my misery. God no doubt had his hand upon me. It took almost a full year after Anaia’s birth to feel “normal ” again. I found the best thing for me to do was to nap when Anaia was napping and not worry about so much about cleaning up and doing chores. I had to learn how to take care of myself first, so I could take care of my daughter.
As time went on I became less anxious and more comfortable with the daily routine of motherhood. I figured out how to do things is such a way that worked for me. I had feeding, dressing and diapering a baby with one hand down to a science. Anaia was incredibly patient with me slowly fumbling my way through all the baby/mommy tasks at hand. Thank God!
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.~2 Corinthians 4:8-9
But new obstacles would show up daily making every day a lesson on scientific hypotheses….
There are stairs at every main entrance to my house. It’s not handicapped accessible and my CP causes me to have balance issues. The basement door leading to the garage has steep stairs… a nightmare in the making for someone with CP, balance issues, and one normal arm to carry a baby to the car. The door leading to the back yard has no stairs, but I didn’t feel like carrying my baby through the backyard in two feet of snow to get to my car. So what I did if I had to go out is…
- Go down the basement stairs to the garage stairs without Anaia. Get to the garage open the car door, leave it open, and get the car seat ready.
- Go back up all the stairs and bundle up my baby.
- Pick the baby up and put her on my right shoulder.
- Go to the basement stairs and sit down.
- Scoot down the stairs on my butt while hold while holding Anaia.
- Stand up and put Anaia on my left shoulder while opening the door leading to the garage.
- Switch my daughter to my right side scoot down the garage stairs this time.
- Lift her up and into the car seat.
- Wipe the sweat that was dripping down my forehead.
I told you it was a science! When we got back home I would do it all over again only in the opposite direction.
Why do this? Because I’m not comfortable going down stairs without holding on because of balance issues, and life doesn’t stop for a mother who has CP. It was the safest option. Life consisted of scientific step-by-step solutions for every day happenings. I wouldn’t change anything. Every difficult thing I faced meant I was overcoming an obstacle and, in turn, finding out of what I was capable. Anaia wasn’t suffering or neglected. She was happy, healthy and growing like any other baby. Life wasn’t any different for her, nor was her mother different… every day things were just done differently.
As she got older, I taught her not to be a “cookie cutter kid.” I taught her to think outside of the box and to be an individual. She’s a rough and tumble Tom-boy of a girl who loves Peter Pan and skate boarding, but will inform her father that he is going on a date with her and insists he go put on a suit and tie while she changes into a party dress. They have to look nice at the Italian restaurant.
Anaia is very outgoing and accepting of others. She is also very independent. I found out having a mother with CP wasn’t all that bad for her.