i still exist!

i haven’t posted in almost three weeks! things are going a lot better on the depression front. the worst of it seems to be over for now. finally! it dragged on for months! i am now going to therapy more often & trying an anti-depressant. i don’t feel 100% better, in part because i still have the disability review hanging over my head. if that was resolved (in my favor), i could breathe more easily & i would have less stress about trying to plan for the future. anyway.

i saw a specialist about my aching hands situation & she ruled out any & all joint problems, including rheumatoid arthritis. she seems to be thinking that it’s a neurological issue, something like multiple sclerosis. i read up on MS a bit after the appointment & a lot of the symptoms seem to fit. but it’s difficult to diagnose, & it could be any number of other nerve issues, so i still don’t have a real diagnosis or treatment plan. there are more tests in my future.

& ramona learned how to walk! she still seems to prefer crawling, as she’s pretty unsteady & slow, but she can & does do it pretty much everyday. she had some kind of feverish illness (an ear infection?) last week & mostly just cuddled instead of walking, but now she’s all better & back in the game. she has even walked in public a few times, which is awesome. she’s usually shy in public & doesn’t do a lot of the things she does at home. we signed off on doing any more occupational therapy with her, since we were only concerned about the delay in walking & standing. oh yes, she learned how to stand independently two days after she started walking. it’s just as cute as i expected it to be.

& she’s picking up more words every day. some of her newest: “i know!” “it’s true.” “why?” “slide!” “night night!” & she is obsessed with saying “bye bye.” i’m not sure she really knows what it means, because she uses it as both a greeting & a farewell, always accompanied by vigorous waving.

for about a month, she was waking up ten million times a night. we tried putting her in a different kind of diaper (bamboo, which is more absorbent than cotton or microfleece), we gave her baby tylenol in case her teeth were hurting her (she now has all her baby teeth but two), we let her sleep in bed with us…we were barely getting any sleep. finally jared suggested putting her in disposable diapers at night. that’s what we’ve done the last couple of nights & she has slept for twelve hours straight. i have so many feels about this. on the one hand: yay! sleep! but on the other hand, i am so disappointed that we’ve made this move to disposables. it feels like giving up to me, or like saying that disposables are better than cloth somehow. i don’t really judge parents who put their kids in disposables (much), but it’s not something i ever wanted to do. tomorrow is the 18-month anniversary of ramona being released from the NICU, which was the last time a disposable diaper touched her butt. until two nights ago. i know this is a dumb thing that i just need to get over. someday when she is learning how to read or having her first crush or leaving for college, i’m not going to wasting any energy castigating myself for what kind of diapers i used with her. but still. (we are still doing cloth during the day.)

i am also starting a new sewing project. i haven’t touched my sewing machine since i got the rejection letter from DDS. i’ve just been too stressed out, depressed, & anxious. like i’ve said before, sewing is not exactly the world’s foremost inexpensive hobby. obviously there are ways to cut expenses (utilizing sales, repurposing thrift store items, etc), but my sewing tends to be inspired by fabric, which means i usually want a very specific fabric, & then very specific trims & finishes, &…well, it can be kind of expensive way to sew. even though i don’t necessarily have champagne taste in fabrics, even $11-a-yard cotton can add up if you need four yards of it, plus lining fabric, plus matching thread, plus a zipper & a hook & eye, plus interfacing, etc etc etc. every time i think about tackling a new sewing project, i am overcome by the guilt & anxiety associated with the expense, since i will have no income & no real way to generate income if my disability is fully denied. jared keeps saying that i need to live as normal a life as possible, because it’s entirely possible that this may not be resolved for a few years, & i will make myself crazy living with this level of anxiety for two years. which is true. but it’s also easier said than done.

anyway, i already had the fabric, notions, & pattern i needed to make a new dress so i finally sat down over the weekend & started working on it. it’s a princess seam dress, which is new for me, & i’ve realized that i’m going to have to make a lot of bodice alternations. well, i realized that i am ALWAYS going to have to make a lot of bodice alternations. because of my block vertebrae & spinal compression, i have a condition called lordosis, which is a medical way of saying a swayback. i’d never really thought about it too much before, because i think i am like most people in feeling that whatever shape or form my body takes is more or less the norm, but it’s pretty extreme. it means most bodices are too short in the front but too long in the back. so i am experimenting with lengthening the middle front bodice, grading out to the side seams, & shortening the middle back bodice, also grading out to the side seams, so the side seams will still match. i’m having to lengthen & shorten by at least two inches on either side, & i’m not sure how that will affect the hem. i guess i’ll find out. i’ve written before about how it’s nice to sew for yourself because you get an item that actually fits more or less properly. i’ve definitely started to observe new things about my body shape through sewing for myself. it’s just a little tricky because my fit issues are pretty unusual & i am new at all of this. when i come across an alternation or technique i don’t totally understand, i usually google for tutorials, but there aren’t a lot of tutorials on how to fit a bizarre skeletal deformity. it’s been hard to find anything about swayback adjustments, & what i have found assumes that only the back needs to be adjusted, or that the bodice needs to be shortened all around.

anyway! this probably doesn’t make a lot of sense or make very compelling reading for anyone who doesn’t sew. & ramona desperately needs a new diaper, as i just discovered when she popped up next to my desk accompanied by a pronounced odor. off i go to do some quality momming.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

8 thoughts on “i still exist!

  1. I’m on a bi-yearly posting schedule it seems, so you totally have me beat. :p

    We switched from cloth to disposables when I went back to work. It’s not the end of the world. Parenthood is hard enough without putting giant expectations on yourself. When I think back about how horrible I felt when we started supplementing with formula, I just have to laugh at myself. In the grand scheme of things, it was just not worth working myself up over. I’d say that a good’s night sleep is well worth a few disposables. 🙂

    1. but is the implication here that disposables actually are more effective than cloth? because i don’t actually think that. i still kind of think that if we had stuck with the bamboo diapers, we could have resolved the issue, but jared is the one that diapers her at bedtime, & he convinced himself the bamboo wasn’t doing anything & wasn’t worth trying. maybe i’ll try them again when he goes out of town next month. i know it doesn’t really matter, but it still makes me feel weird. i don’t think cloth is a giant expectation for our family. i don’t work, i enjoy doing laundry, & i honestly do find disposable diapers ten million times more disgusting & disturbing than cloth. oh well, i guess? (also, she woke up last night & partied for two hours. despite the disposable. so…)

      1. I only had a few months to experiment, but the internet has led me to believe that disposables are more absorbent. And we all know that the internet is always right about everything. :p

        Apparently disposables at night when sleep training is a thing. I think that disposables tend to absorb more liquid in a way that babies can’t feel? Cloth diapered babies are supposed to be easier to potty train because they give you a little more of a sensation of hanging out in your own filth. All that absorbency usually comes from nasty chemicals, so I guess it’s a bit of a tradeoff. We use hippie disposables and I never noticed a difference after we switched. We can maybe go a little longer between changes now.

        1. i have thus far never changed ramona into or out of a disposable. (jared does bedtime & morning diapers, & she’s in cloth the rest of the time.) but he reports that ramona’s skin does seem drier in the morning than it did in cloth overnight. i know it’s because of chemicals, which i am not crazy about, but…maybe once we get through our current box, we’ll try the hippie disposables. even though i guess there’s nothing wrong with the current diapers.

  2. Have you checked your vitamin D levels? My shrink and rheumatologist both recommended getting my levels checked. I did, I was low – and noticed a huge improvement once they were up to “normal”. Dr Google is the best – it’s how I discovered my random “ailments” were all related to psoriasis/psa.

    1. i drink literally a gallon of vitamin D-fortified milk every day. it would be pretty shocking if i had a vitamin D deficiency.

      i’m seeing a neurologist later today & having an EMG done. perhaps this will help shed some light.

  3. Have you tried wool diapers for overnight? We cloth diaper and only recently ventured into this sub category of cloth diapering. Although our son is fine in regular cloth overnight, I have heard wool is good for heavy wetters through the night.

    1. yeah, we’ve been putting her in wool soakers overnight for months. it made no difference for us. she would even soak through the soaker sometimes!

      honestly, even though there were nights when she woke up at 1am wet, i think the real situation is just that she wants to sleep in our bed/with us. even is disposables, she wakes up most nights fussing & stops instantly if we bring her to bed. so…we let her sleep in the bed most of the time. i’m okay with it, because i wanted to co-sleep anyway. & if it means we only have to wake up once to transfer into the bed, that beats the pants off two or three hours of crying, trying to convince her to sleep in her crib.

      (she did sleep all night in her crib last night though. she only napped for about 45 minutes yesterday, so i think she was pretty tired at bedtime.)

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