Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
He also started devouring his hands and fists at every chance he could get. So I started putting links and little rattles in his fists to see what he would do when they reached his mouth.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Well today the "harried mother" card just didn't work. I accidently left my keys in the ignition, (yes, car thieves you have a good chance at stealing my van out of garage because the keys are usually forgotten in the ignition) with the ignition turned on. When I went to go drive the boys to school, the van wouldn't go. I called my husband at work - "please you need to come jump my car - it's raining and I can't walk the children to school in the rain with the BABY (harried mother card displayed here)". What I didn't tell him was that I was planning on going shopping immediately after dropping off the kids and how my plans were ruined.
He didn't come home. He said he would fix it tomorrow morning. Hrmphrphmmmmm (me grumbling)
Have you noticed that when you can't go anywhere because your car won't work makes you want to leave even more?? After sulking for at least a good twenty minutes, I realized that I have AAA. I use it for the hotel discounts and the free maps at the offices, but shoot, this is what AAA is known for!! I called and they could not have been more pleasant (something my husband wasn't exactly) and they called a tow truck company and the driver was at my house in twenty minutes!! He had one of those portable Black and Decker chargers and started it up in less than two minutes. I didn't have to do anything. Sooooo worth the membership.
I have the most BASIC AAA membership at $50/year. So let me pass along all of the wisdom of this experience to you - get AAA - if, for nothing else, the free maps.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Now, I'm afraid I'm on the same path yet again. I was running my tongue over my teeth just now and thought, "Yikes, they are a little fuzzy. Hey, wait, when was the last time I brushed?"
Racking my brain I realized that it was yesterday morning. How gross is that? Looks like I'll be getting some more cavities and fillings and crowns and root canals and mouth cancer and whatever terrible things that happen to your mouth when you forget to take care of it.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
This is a story that I didn't think I would ever have to write. However, as it happened to me, it must happen to other women out there, so I've decided to share my story - especially while it is still fresh in my memory. I've hinted at this in previous posts, but since then, several women have written me or called me and said, "That is exactly how I felt!", so I thought I would share a brief version of my story. Maybe it will encourage somebody else or maybe it will be just a memory for me, but whatever the case, I feel compelled to share. With Chase, I experienced a mind-numbing and body altering postpartum depression.
With all of my other births, I had the "baby blues" - a period of about one week where I cried for no reason and felt pretty depleted and tired. Looking back on my first baby, I may have even had a bit of PPD, but I was so young and so eager to please that I didn't even give it a second thought that something was amiss. Plus, it was my first baby so I had nothing to compare it to. With Chase, however, the crying jags lasted much longer than one week. They always came at night, so I just associated the crying and sadness with the coming of the darkness and the end of a long day. As the weeks progressed after Chase's birth, I found myself wanting to stay inside. I didn't want to do anything. I stopped volunteering at Jackson's school - citing the reason of "being too busy", but I had a very supportive husband who was more than willing to watch Chase and Blake one morning a week so I could go to the school, but I refused. I also stopped going to my weekly Bible study. I had deep fears about going. Fear of taking Chase to my church. Fear of breaking out in a crying jag in the middle of the study. Fear of appearing that I was falling apart. I still have not seen my Bible study to this day.
Another thing that clued me in that something was different with me this time around was the intense fear and anxiety I had toward Chase. From the moment he was born, I had an inner script that something was wrong with him. I played it all day everyday in my head. When I took him to the doctor and everything checked out just fine, I worried. I thought, "Maybe my mother's intuition is screaming and no one is listening" but Chase appeared extremely happy and healthy. He is a little bit smaller in weight and size than my other boys, so I worried myself sick about it. He was in the 68% for height and 50% for weight, yet I broke out in tears at the doctor's office after his weigh-in, convinced something was "wrong" with him. With my other postpartum experience, I didn't feel the mind numbing fear nearly as much as with Chase. I knew this situation was extremely different and frankly, getting worse.
When Chase cried, I had a icy knot that pulled in my stomach. I never felt like I wanted to hurt him, but I truly and honestly felt that I couldn't take care of him well. Anyone else other than me could take better care of him - or so I thought. When Jeremy took the night shift and I would hand Chase to him, I would run back to my room and shut the door and breathe a sigh that now Chase was getting a person who could help him and take care of him. Usually mothers think they are the only ones who can care adequately for their child, I felt the opposite. In my altered mind, I was the worst person to take care of all my kids. When they all got sick with bronchitis and asthma attacks, it literally sent me over the edge. Jeremy calls it "The Perfect Storm" that hit our house and he was right, we did have a perfect storm.
About this time, my mom and my friend here in Salem started seeing that I wasn't getting better and that my crying and anxiety was actually getting worse. I was encouraged to talk to my doctor or midwife, but I didn't want to appear weak or vulnerable, so I didn't call or say anything. I just attributed it to being the mother of three kids and a husband with a crazy work schedule. I tried to work out everyday, but every day I felt anxious and frustrated during and after my workout. If Chase didn't nap, I felt extremely agitated and angry towards him. then I felt guilty for thinking those things. I turned to God - scribbling out notes of help on pads of paper and then shoving them in different spots around the house - kind of like a mini wailing wall all around me.
The lowest of the low came when one day I started crying shortly after I woke up and couldn't stop by noon. By the time I pulled myself together and Jackson came home from school, I saw a paper he had written for a class assignment. In the paper it said, "Where is your mom? I don't know. But her mom is at the airport and she is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very sad."
I couldn't believe that my children were noticing my behavior and writing about it in school, but I'm glad they did because it woke me up. The next Saturday,(Chase was about seven weeks old), I couldn't face my day. It was the day when both the younger kids were sick and Jackson had a baseball game. I had asked for help from a relative and she said she couldn't help me out and I started crying and couldn't stop. I took the kids to the doctor and cried the whole way there, during the checkin, and at several points during the examination. Jeremy called his mom and she immediately put down everything she had and got in her car and drove four hours to come down and be with us - well, with me really. Jeremy took the day off work until she got here. I called my midwife and said, "I'm going under" and we made an appointment for me to go see her on Monday. After the weekend, I felt better after having a reasonable and caring adult around, so I was tempted to not go to my midwife appointment. But I did keep the appointment and glad that I did.
When I got to my appointment, I told her my story and what was going on, I was amazed at how much I had changed since Chase's birth. I had always had fears and anxieties about life, but nothing that griped me so much I felt unable to cope or bond with my family. She suggested I try an antidepressant and also go into talk therapy. She warned me that the pills wouldn't work immediately (they would take a few weeks) so in the meantime I should have loving and supportive people around me. We also talked about the things that made me happy or brought up my mood. We agreed that I should exercise daily and do one positive thing with Chase every day. I should also be vigilant about my schedule since I am a schedule person and appreciate the structure it provides.
While we waited for the SSRIs to take effect, Jeremy took three days off work and then my mom flew in for a few more days after that. It was a time in my life where I felt like I had run a marathon after eating just a few crackers. I was exhausted and jittery, but quiet and reflective of my moods and those around me. I felt unusually bonded to Jer and my mom because they just sat with me and took care of me and the kids.
Chase is now 10 weeks old. I've been on the SSRI's for two weeks now and the crying jags have stopped. I try to get out and exercise everyday as I promised. I talk a lot to my mom and certain friends about how I feel and what is going on. I know that I when you have depression you shouldn't count on a pill to make you happy and I don't. Every day I have to wake up, put on my clothes and makeup, stick to my schedule, and keep moving forward. If I feel myself slipping, I schedule a playdate with my friend.
But I will say that I think the pills have kind of smoothed out the rough edges. Just last week after I had ran a few errands with Blake and Chase, I had about thirty extra minutes. Instead of escaping to the cocoon of my home, I took them to the park and sat out in the fresh air and sun. Just this act alone was an indicator that I was getting better. I read a line from my new favorite book - called "Grace Eventually - Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott. She says, "I finally figured out that I had a choice: I could suffer a great deal, or not, for a long time. Or I could have the combo platter: suffer, breathe, pray, play, cry, and try to help people"
That is how I would describe my state of mind today. Breathe, pray, play, cry, and try to help people along the way.
Overall, I'm glad that I was aware that something was not right with me and that I reached out for help. I'm forever grateful that I have an extremely loving and supportive family that has taken me by the shoulders and held me up when I couldn't do it for myself. I'm glad I had a chance to take medication that is ironing out the chemical imbalance I experienced. Chase no longer appears to be a threat to me - he feels like my son now. When he cries, I don't feel a wash of ice over me; I feel like I can help him. He recently started laughing and giggling at us and the joy I feel at this is indecribable. I am so glad we had another little boy.
This mother's day is especially touching and memorable because I now feel like the mother of three gorgeous wonderful and good kids. I'm a blessed mama.