This year has provoked not-much, in the after recovery of the birth of my beautiful daughter. Soon to be one and I’m so happy to know her. Joyous in the face of her soon-to-be first birthday. But some floating anxiety over the illness that hit me after. A big truck. So there’s this. For what it’s worth.
To shine forth – last year’s almost-end. Or almost-stroke. Or almost-seizure. Possible-failures: liver, kidneys. Now — increased risk of cardiovascular death. 2x more likely. Heart worn thin.
Dreaming in a mag sulphide haze of Margaret Kilgallen who died of cancer days after giving birth to her daughter. Her large scale letterforms eating up the sky. Her sly folk ladies with full ladles.
The winter outside and how it stormed and the trees carried with them all the cold. Thinking of wolves. The other babies in the ward crying as they were born and for milk. My milk coming in without Rose who couldn’t be with me. I’m compromised.
Daytime visitation only, except for the last night. Where we hovered and I shifted the baby so the nurses could check my blood pressure again. Again. Again.
Not permitted to walk. Not permitted to have bright lights. Not permitted to get up. No excessive stimuli. No stress (if possible). Limited visitors.
The pressures increasing. Reflexes so quick that I nearly kicked the ER doctor in the face. My stomach a teaching tool, displaying a reflex that shouldn’t exist. Indicative.
My mother nearly choking on a hard boiled egg while I pumped milk. The milk I sent home and the smell of formula in the baby’s spit up mixed in.
Both my parents visiting, waiting at the bedside. What is your blood pressure? What is it now? What is it now?
From the ER, how I wasn’t allowed to walk but instead was wheeled back into the maternity ward. Lights, then lights, then, lights in the hallway. Watching them and then considering that if I died there’d be nothing set up for my husband and the new baby. That nothing was safe for them. Irritated at the potential of dying for birthing. Irritated at my own privilege that my response is ‘irritation’ and ‘fear’ rather than ‘resignation’.
Before the ER, my limbs swell. I can’t catch up on sleep. When I wake up, I’m still tired and crying. This overwhelming sense of paralyzing dread. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Then the headaches. And the bright lights that wake me at 4am like being hit in the eyes with flashbulbs.
How easy it would have been to dismiss all this as exhaustion or postpartum depression. My grandmother’s heart disease misdiagnosed as depression. How everything felt crooked and aghast.
How very lonesome here.