September 06, 2012

Lesson 45: Spinning, Laughing, Dancing

There was a season in life when Norah Jone's Come Away with Me played on repeat in my cd player. How could it not? Her smooth voice and powerful lyrics set the perfect scene for a senior in college.

Did I just date myself?

My favorite song on the album was "Seven Years."

The second I heard it I felt instantly as though it was describing me.

"Spinning, laughing, dancing to
her favorite song
A little girl with nothing wrong
Is all alone
Eyes wide open
Always hoping for the sun
And she'll sing her song to anyone
that comes along
Fragile as a leaf in autumn
Just fallin' to the ground
Without a sound
Crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That's all her own
Fragile as a leaf in autumn
Just fallin' to the ground
Without a sound
Spinning, laughing, dancing to her favorite song
She's a little girl with nothing wrong
And she's all alone"

I have always loved to spin and twirl. From the time I was young, standing on my dad's feet ... right up to the present. Mark will hold out his finger and spin and spin and spin me around. Yes, I love to spin.

Thus, when I heard this Norah Jones song, I listened to it and imagined my most innocent self joyfully and abundantly spinning and enjoying life!

I got pregnant when I was 25, and you may or may not know this ... but my pregnancy was horrific.

I'll give you the short story.

Turns out, that during my pregnancy ... I had a disease called cushing. Cushing has nothing to do with pregnancy!

You can't get pregnant if you have cushing. (Which means most likely I got cushing after I was already pregnant).

Before I got cushing during pregnancy, there were 168 recorded cases of women getting cushing during pregnancy ever! I was 169 in all of recorded medical history!

My pregnancy was super weird. I did not know any different, because I had never been pregnant before, but in hindsight, it should have been more obvious that something was wrong.

Cushing is an adrenal disorder. Essentially, I had a tumor on my adrenal gland. As a result, my body made a ridiculous amount of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone. So, imagine that you are in a car accident and your body surges a strange amount of energy to make some miracle happen. This is what my body was doing 100% of the time.

My body was overworking itself preparing for an emergency (that would never come), and I was pregnant.

This exhausted my body and brought about some interesting side effects. I was covered with hundreds and hundreds of pimples, which was a result of stress related acne. My stomach was covered with purple, spider-like looking stretchmarks. Finally, my mind slowed down, and I had almost no desire to engage in any meaningful conversation.

This was a really awesome way to spend my first few months of marriage.

Appearance aside, my body ached! My stomach would tighten and stay that way for hours at a time. Every time I ate it would happen. In fact, at five months, I spent the majority of my day with my legs propped on a pillow, because my whole body hurt.

How is this related to Norah Jones?

I distinctly remember feeling this way and wondering, would I ever feel like myself again? Would I ever be that carefree girl, arms spread, hair flying, twirling in the wind?

Or would I resign myself to a life of pain, tiredness, mental blandness? 

I don't know if I am able to emphasize or describe adequately how seriously cushing affected my body. In fact, it was so stressful that I could no longer physically handle the pregnancy. My water broke eight weeks early. After five days in the hospital, I had a placenta abruption and Samara was delivered through an emergency c-section.

She spent a month in the NICU, healthy, but small.

Soon after delivering Samara, I had surgery and my adrenal gland (and tumor) was removed. (This is still just a slice of the whole story, but for now, I'll end it here.)

Months of cushing, a pregnancy, an emergency c-section, pumping / nursing, visiting a baby in the NICU, and an adrenal gland removed (and stomach surgery, but this the part I left out)... let's just say, my body was wrecked.

However, slowly, slowly, slowly, I recovered. Spring came, my cortisol levels normalized, and I began to feel like myself again.

Again, how is this related to Norah Jones?

Tonight, I spent the evening on the beach with Samara. Her little blue-flowered dress got wet and so, she was splashing through the waves in her diaper, singing to herself.

Spinning, laughing, dancing, to her favorite song.
A little girl with nothing wrong
Is all alone.

Her eyes bright, she ran to me and said, "Mama, spin with me. Here comes a wave. Isn't it so pretty."

Eyes wide open 
always hoping for the sun.

"La, la, la," she sang as she spun.

And she'll sing a song to anyone 
that comes along.

The little wisp, skinny and pale, was happily knocked back and forth by the giant ocean.

Fragile as a leaf in autumn 
Just fallin' to the ground
without a sound

I watched her with a smile, amazed at her beauty, grateful for her life, humbled that I'm allowed to be her mama. To think, her story began the way it did.

Crooked little smile on her face
tells a tale of grace
that's all around.

The Norah Jones song is still about me.

And Samara.

And it is most certainly a tale of grace.

Lesson Learned: Our children really do grow to be like their parents. Sometimes that's okay.

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