A beautiful mess

This weekend was messy.

Yesterday I was a ball of nerves. Ruby’s sick. Sometimes it seems like she’s always sick, but that’s beside the point. She’s had a runny nose and a cough for a few days. On Friday she started complaining about her eye hurting. Yesterday there was discharge. And then a fever.

This is the part of the story where I should tell you that I’ve been reading too much about the measles. It started out innocently enough. We began planning a trip to DisneyLand in March, and then I thought, “Hmm, maybe I should get some more info before making any decisions.” Well, I got that information and it was far from helpful.

Then last night Jason had to go to work. In the best of circumstances I feel anxious being alone with Ruby at night. And these circumstances were far from best. Ruby was sick, my researching practices had become borderline obsessive and there was a risk that Jason would never return. Yes, that is an exaggeration. But for reasons I won’t get into there was actually a risk he would have to move into his office for an unspecified length of time. I mean literally eat, sleep and live there. Not allowed to leave.

So when Ruby began frantically itching I felt my anxiety catapult into another realm. If I were to draw a picture of my anxiety it would look like just that: two layers. Most of the time my anxiety fluctuates within the bottom layer. And, really, the bottom layer covers a lot of ground. I know I shouldn’t assume, but I do sort of assume that most people, even when under extreme stress, never leave that bottom layer. I know I hadn’t until Ruby was born, PPMD settled in and I set up camp in layer two.

Now I like to think about my PPMD as in the past. And, really, it is. I also like to think that I’ve felt pretty good throughout the hormonal fluctuations of this pregnancy. And, really, I have. But last night was a reminder of my brain capacity, the truly remarkable way in which chemicals and synapses collide and create and my nearly complete inability to control it.

Last night I scratched the surface of layer two. Ruby had the measles. It was only a matter of time before the rash showed up. I would catch it to. I would miscarry at 23 weeks pregnant. And, oh yeah, Ruby was going to die. She was already dead. I could feel it.

You guys, this is an embarrassing thing to admit. I do recognize how irrational this sounds. I want to hoard those thoughts, lock them up somewhere safe and secure and private. Really private so no one can figure out that I’m actually this mess of a human. But then I would be all alone with these thoughts so… here I am.

Today I’m back down in the bottom layer. Ruby seems to be getting better. Jason’s home. I’ve been – I guess you could call it – recovering all day. Decompressing. It’s like that tightly wound ball of anxiety unravelled, spread throughout my body and is now seeping out through my pores.

I keep crying for no real reason. But in a good, cleansing sort of way. Almost like tears of relief. But also in recognition of this messy life. I don’t know how else to put words to it. I look at Ruby, with her baby skin and chubby feet and that beautiful smile of hers full of the innocence of youth, and feel like: she is real. She is here, and she is real. She came back to life.

She’s alive. I’m alive. The world is alive. And full of grief and love. And I’m feeling all of it. And that’s okay because this is life. A beautiful mess.

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