Covered

August 30th, 2012

I was distracted.  I confess I was on my phone trying to juggle my million and one things going on this week.  I was sad, not at all hopeful about the arm full of prescriptions I had in the car.   I was going to go here and then there and then make make it home before: fill in the blanks.    I hit HARD.   Bounced the minivan right off of our shiny new bumper into the escort in front of it.    It HURT.  Seat-belt cut into my already burdened and tight chest.   I just caused a three car accident while I was worrying about how to pay for non-essential medicine and certainly non essential Disney.   It should be mentioned that I had already used  our vacation gas money to buy our neighbors a new bumper after another careless, distracted, overly burdened morning.

I froze.  My first thought was that KH was going to be so disappointed.   He loves his new car.  He is working all the time partially to pay for this had to have, not at all luxury vehicle that he still loves.   We are two payments in.   No way can we afford to fix it.

An old man got out of the mini van.   A frazzled blonde climbed out of the civic.   She shook her head and drove off.   He glanced at his bumper and said “oh, its fine!” and was back in his car as the light turned green.

I never even unbuckled my seat belt.  It was still pressing against my chest with my heart pounding inside.   I was covered.   No damage.  Really? Three cars, hard enough that I really thought airbag would come out and NO DAMAGE AT ALL?   I was covered.

The tears started before I even crossed through the intersection.  I thanked and pleaded.  I begged and asked for forgiveness.   I drove to the pharmacy and picked up round four, knowing we would be covered one way or another.

Today

November 22nd, 2011

Today is November 22.  It was one year today that I had my whatever you want to call it.   A hundred years ago it would have been called an attack of the nerves and I would still be locked up somewhere.    In some ways it feels like it was a hundred years ago, yet I remember every detail…..more than I want to really.

Thankfully today….I got a good night’s sleep last night.  I had breakfast with my kiddo, alone, and now we are going to run some errands.   My house is clean, laundry is caught up.   Today is not the same day it was a year ago.    Praise be to God!

blog

MOPS talk (part two)

November 18th, 2011

(continued from yesterday)

The next few months were incredible.  I took 10 mg of Lexapro, and did intensive talk therapy.   I started going back to bible study at my church.   Life was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I started to feel more like myself.  I started to feel horrified by my scary thoughts instead of seriously considering them.  I started to enjoy my baby and feel the love for him that I felt like I should have had from day one. In July I finally pulled him out of daycare.

In August he turned one, and I felt like I had been through a battle.  I took him to the park and story time at the library.   In September of 2007 I came to my first MOPS meeting.  I started making friends, something I had been sorely lacking since I graduated from college.  I started to be that socially active. smart, funny girl that is the real me. I was not that person who cried all the time, and thought about death and hated to be around people.  And, honestly MOPS was the first place after I became a parent that gave me hope there was life on the other side of this whole motherhood thing.  I will never forget the first afternoon IH and I spent just cuddling and giggling and reading together and my heart just was so full and grateful I had been given this incredible gift.

There were three parts of my postpartum depression that I have had a really hard time getting over.   1.  Is the guilt I still feel for having seriously thought about harming my baby.  I just am not sure I will ever get over that guilt.   2.  Is the fear of getting pregnant again because I am terrified of going through that year of hell all over, and actually this fear is even worse now because my hormones went all crazy in the fall and I totally went crazy.  Like really. But, I still have this desire that won’t go away for another baby.  I will keep you updated on how that goes.   3.  The third is the hardest to explain and that is the spiritual ramifications of what I went through.  I was mad at God; I thought God was mad at me.  I wondered if I would ever get back that calm confidence which I had in my faith before IH was born.

I’m just hanging on to the fact that God made me.   God made me with my weaknesses, and strengths, and He does not make mistakes.  I am beautiful in His eyes, and He Loves me, like really loves me the way we love our babies.  No matter what.   He does not make mistakes.   Me having IH was not a mistake.   Me being IH’s mother is not a mistake.   And, it is okay to be unsure.   It is okay to be scared and even angry, as long as you go to God with those feelings.  As long as we let Him carry us when we are in that pit of despair, we are not alone.    And you know what? I am grateful to be here and to be a mother, this battle I have been through makes me view my role as a mother more divine,   as something more than just a maid and cook and chauffer, but that I have the absolute privilege of teaching this child about Jesus Christ.   I am grateful for this trial, or trying to be, because I know there is a plan for me and that God gave us this spiritual nature to turn to God during hard times, to pray for His help, and praise Him all the time.

(this next part are just my notes for the rest of the discussion)

2 Corinthians 4:8-11

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

And 2 Corinthians 12:10

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Up to 80 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues, a form of depression that begins a few days to a week after delivery and generally lasts no longer than two weeks.

Symptoms:

·  insomnia

  • weepiness or sadness
  • diminished interest in once pleasurable activities
  • difficulty concentrating
  • change in appetite
  • anxiety
  • moodiness and irritability
  • withdrawal from family and friends
  • excessive guilt
  • panic attacks
  • suicidal, scary, or constant negative thoughts

PPD can strike up to a year after birth, but is much more common in the first few months

Other than medicine, therapy, and scripture there are other ways to fight PPD because while incredibly effective for me, the meds do have some drawbacks……like um hello orgasms!!

So.  Exercise and eating a healthy diet with out lots of additives and junk in it.   Yeah.  Um here is where you should do as I say and not as I do.  But seriously just moving is a huge  help.

Sleep, try your absolute best to get 9 hours of sleep a day.    Ask for help and support from your family and friends.   Become part of a group of loving moms who understand, like MOPS!

Don’t neglect your “outside.” Taking care of your physical self can sometimes help you feel better inside, regular showering clean clothes, make up fix your hair…..can help.

Go outside, a little sunshine a fresh air is awesome for you and your baby.

My MOPS talk, part one

November 17th, 2011

This, (and tomorrow’s too) is the speech I gave to my MOPS group in March.  It is graphic, but is also full of great info about PPD.


Most Gracious Heavenly Father, please be with us in this room today.  Please use me to help moms know they are not alone.  Please use my words to glorify You, and please strengthen me to be able to tell my story.  Thank You for this room full of loving women, Lord.  Thank You for the platform to be honest about the parts of motherhood that are hard. Amen.

Just in case you don’t know me already my name is Sarah .    I have been super active in MOPS for over three years now.    This is my second year on our steering team and way back in July, during our steering planning retreat, I kind of gingerly raised my hand and said that I thought we should have a speaker on post-postpartum depression, because I knew that I was NOT the only one to have suffered with it.   Now I was thinking we should find a doctor or midwife or somebody to talk to us about it, but my lovely fellow steering team members thought a personal testimony would be better and so here I am.  Today is the first time I have ever talked publicly about my postpartum depression and it is probably going to be hard, and I definitely will be telling you some things I am not proud of, and are not easy to hear, but I hope it helps someone.

So my story with postpartum depression actually goes back about four years before I even gave birth to IH, when I was in graduate school.   I am what you call a type A personality; I had my life planned out ten years in advance, seriously.   I had not one but two bachelors degrees by the time I was 22.  I had a job with a US Senator and had a guaranteed job in DC after I finished grad school.    So in the fall of 2002 I was working my tushie off in school and working full time at the senator’s office.  I had a very nice new fiance, KH.   In the first week of November the Republican senator I was working for, who was running on a family values campaign, lost the election because he had an affair with his campaign manager.   When a politician loses an election, he is not the only one out of work.    Two weeks later, my Pa, my maternal grandfather, died very suddenly.      January 11 was my last day of work for the Senator and I suddenly got very POOR!  KH and I decided for me to finish school in College Town and that we would then move to Capitol City in June for him to finish school at  (his school), and for me to get the highest paying job I could find.   In February, KH’s maternal grandfather died.   Our wedding was in May and every time I met with my wedding planner I had to remove a main guest!  So in April, the day after Easter, KH’s paternal grandmother died.   I was supposed to graduate with my masters the first week of May.   In the last week of April I find out that I had made a D on my political statistics class, so I was not going to graduate.   May 24 I got married, we had a gorgeous outdoor reception planned, and the day of the wedding we had tornado warnings and flash floods, with hail and everything.   Pretty much the month after the wedding I started having really bad anxiety attacks.   (Fact one about PPD, if you have had mental illness issues of ANY KIND before, you are 75% more likely to suffer from PPD.)

So to wrap this chapter up, I did graduate, we  moved to (hole of a town) of all places.  I got a nice high paying job which had NOTHING to do with those degrees I worked so hard for.  We could not find a church we felt comfortable in so we just did not go. Oh, and we lost another two grandparents during that time too!  So that is five grandparents in less than two years.   We spent a year like that, KH working and in school, me working 50 hour work weeks, living in an area we hated, not having any friends, and not going to church.   Oh, and I had baby fever super bad!!   We decided that we could not stand to bring a baby home to (hole of town) , so we bought our little house in (dream home town) and spent several months remodeling it from the studs up.    We got active at  the church I pretty much grew up in, started doing Sunday school bible studies together……and my anxiety had pretty much disappeared.   Oh, and I thought I had baby fever before??  Now I felt like BABYBABABYABAYBAYBAy.  KH and I talked and prayed and talked and prayed and finally I got him on the baby train too.

I guess I just thought I would magically get pregnant once I came off the birth control pill, like one day no pill, next day do a little horizontal mambo with the hubby and wam bam baby! Um. No.  Seriously the first month I got my period after we started trying I like wept.   (Post partum depression fact #2  women who had planned pregnancies are just as likely to get PPD as those surprise babies).   Okay, so  a few months passed and I was sure I was like infertile or something.   I was praying so hard for God to give me a baby.    I went to church to pray one night when everyone else had left and read the scripture in Samuel about Hannah promising God if she got pregnant that she would give her son to God to become a priest.   I promised God that I would do everything I possibly could to raise my child to be a man of God.    I got pregnant that week, and found out I was pregnant on Christmas Eve, 2005. (PPD# 3: women of faith have the same occurrence rates of PPD as women who consider themselves to be atheist.)

So I was still working full time, but I read every single baby/pregnancy related book I could find, I compared American Academy of Pediatrics suggestions to The World Health Organization.  I read every book put out by the La Leche League.  I took every class offered by the hospital.   I was confident that I was going to have a drug free birth, that I would immediately take this precious little baby to my breast and he would never use a bottle or even a pacifier, (Good gravy the pacifier, I even printed out a study about the evils of pacifiers to show my MIL when she actually dared to buy me one)   Any way.  You get the point.  I was a crazy excited and hyper prepared pregnant lady.  In none of my studying about how to be the world’s best mother did I ever think to prepare myself for depression.  I skipped those chapters, I was sure that I was going to be so thrilled to have my son here that I would feel nothing but joy.  Maybe little bluebirds and squirrels would be drawn to me like Snow White.  Seriously I was a nut.

August 31, 2006.  I had been told that IH was getting really big and got talked into an induction.   Can we say bye bye drug free birth?  So, of course that did not work.  I ended up having a c-section that afternoon.   I had a panic attack while they were stitching me back up and they knocked me out.   It was hours later before I had recovered enough to hold IH for the first time.   I was sure that my panic had destroyed my breastfeeding relationship and was afraid that because I had a C-section he would have something wrong with him.  (Post partum depression fact 4, C-section patients get PPD twice as often as a vaginal birth)

Right after he was born…… I mean I loved him, but I so did not have that instant OMG this is the most perfect creature ever and I am madly in love with him feeling.  And, I felt guilty for not having that feeling.   My milk took a pretty long time to come in and I refused to let him have even a pacifier because I was so afraid of nipple confusion.   I did not sleep the entire three days I was in the hospital.   I did not let the nurses take him to the nursery, but at the same time I did not really feel able to care for him.  KH changed every single diaper the entire time we were there.   I left with my milk still not having come in, and his weight was quickly dropping.    We got home and I felt like crap.   I had not slept.   He cried nonstop because he was hungry.   He was just this little red hairy, needy creature and I had no idea all of sudden.    In the past, I would study hard, know what to do, and then succeed.   With IH I had done all of the preparation I thought I needed to do, and I still was like what!! What the heck is wrong with you, child?  Are you defective?   Still no milk, my nipples were raw from trying to get him to nurse when it was just colostrum.   The Monday after he was born was Labor Day.   It was also KH’s last day at home before he had to go back to work.    I said I was going to take a short nap and if my milk was not in that evening we were going to go buy some formula.   I left IH in the living room with KH and I went to my room and slept deeply for the first time since…days before I gave birth.   I slept for just two and a half hours, and woke up with like monster boobs.   Seriously, my milk came in like right away and strong.   So we struggled with the nursing thing for a while, but I felt like it was the only thing I was doing right with IH.

When he was about a week old, we were home alone, and he just would not stop crying, and I had no idea why…..so I gave him a pacifier and just cried and cried.   I still did not really feel as connected to him as I thought I would.   My body felt awful, and so gross and leaky and just blegh.   My husband got to go to work every day and escape and I was left all alone.   I would not even turn on the TV because I was afraid I would like mess up his brain synapses or something.  I was not answering the door, or my phone or emails…..I was just secluded in my room with the baby trying to sleep when he slept and not being able too.  One night when IH was about two and a half weeks old, KH had come home, and he was watching TV, and I had been nursing and Isaac fell asleep in my arms.   I just looked at him and he was so fragile and I felt so huge and clumsy and I just kept focusing on what would happen if I dropped him.  Or, if I fell asleep and rolled over on him, or if I let him slip down too far in the bath tub, or if I left him in the back seat of my car or any of the hundreds of other ways that I could screw up so bad that my child would wind up dead.  I just started shaking and could not even handle it.  I kind thrust the baby into KH’s arms and went in my room and just like sat there and was numb, and wondered what had I done!  I had ruined my life!   I had messed up everything that was good in my life.   I just wanted to be that smart successful woman working with politicians to help make this a better world.    (Post Partum depression fact 5, if it lasts more than 2 weeks, it is not just baby blues.)

I went back to work full-time in (capital city) when he was eight weeks old.   I dropped off IH at the day care as soon as they opened at 7.   I drove to work, worked all day, drove home and it was 7pm. KH had picked him up an hour before, and we ate, bathed him, put him in his bassinet and collapsed in bed.  He cried every two hours, I would pick him up, nurse, KH would change him and we did that until our alarms went off.

I felt like the only thing I was doing right as a mother was giving my baby breast milk.  I pumped in the car on the way to work; I pumped during my breaks, during my lunch break, and on the way home.  I pumped so often that my body thought I had twins or triplets and our fridge had hundreds of ounces of frozen breast milk at any given time.  I nursed every time he even made a squeak of fussiness when we were together.   (PPD fact 6, breast feeding does help reduce PPD because of all of those “happy” hormones that are released.  Obviously for me, it was not enough.)

Every day when I would go to work and drive over the River Bridge I would wonder if maybe KH and IH would be better if I drove off it.  I thought how mad God must be at me because I had promised him I would do anything I could to raise IH to be a man of God, and how I was the worst mother ever.  Ever.  Then I started to think how then he would not have anything to eat if I drove off the bridge and kept on my way to work.   One time I figured out how many frozen ounces of milk he would need to last him until he was a year old if I were to die.  I came up with this insane number and realized that I could never have that much stockpiled.   As time passed I started to think how maybe it would be better if I just drove off that bridge with IH in his car seat.    I thought he was doomed to have such a horrible parent and he and I would be better off dead.  At least I knew he would go to heaven.

(PPD fact 7.   If you start seriously considering killing yourself and your baby?  It is time to get professional help.  Like yesterday)

I scared myself when I could not stop thinking about death.   I read all about Andrea Yates and all of those other mothers that had done the unbelievable.   I was starting to feel mad at God that he had let me even have this baby if he knew what kind of mother I was going to wind up being.

The February after IH was born, I got laid off from my job.   I never really loved it, just loved all the money I made, so I did not think I was bothered by getting laid off.

I had a really nice severance package and the plan was for me to stay home for a few months with Isaac, and collect unemployment, and study for a new job and then we would reevaluate the situation.   Only I never withdrew him from daycare.   He was still in daycare while I was hiding under the covers in bed at home.

That April my parents paid for my whole family to go on this amazing cruise to Europe.    It was fantastic.   But there was this afternoon that Isaac and I were alone in our cabin.  And I swear all I could think about doing was throwing him and then jumping off this 11 story cruise ship balcony.   As soon as KH came back to the cabin, I dragged him into our room and told him everything.

The Monday after we got back he called Counseling Associates.   The therapist insisted I call my Primary Care that day and I had a prescription for Lexapro within hours.

to be continued.

Baby? Baby? Babybabybabybaby?

November 12th, 2011

The baby question.   It has not gone away.   IH is still an only child.   He may always be, and I really think we will be okay with that….but still my body is saying babybabybabybabybaby!  Baby!   Tick tock!  KH  wants one more so……I guess we are trying.  Ssshh.  Don’t tell my mom or MiL.  But remember that whole went crazy thing?  Half way caused by hormones remember.   Those same hormones mean my little eggies are staying nice and comfy in their ovaries and don’t seem to be budging.

I take pills for that.   A lot of pills.  I am trying to balance out Crazy Clomid Sarah with Happy Go Lucky Lexapro Sarah.     I dropped the 20mg of Lexapro down to 10mg so any potential baby is being exposed only half as much to this class C drug.    That means I have SOME anxiety, SOME obsessing, but not as much as I would be with nothing.     Clomid starts at 50mg, you take it for five days and then hopefully you spit out some nice juicy eggs in the middle of the month.   Only on 50mg I only had some lame little late eggs.  That means this month I got to take DOUBLE that, 100mg. Those five days you are on taking Clomid?  Cuh-RAZY lady.   Hot flashes, no patience, anger at the smallest thing.  Perfect for a preschool teacher, right?   The middle of the month when you are hopefully ovulating?  A jittery, blurry eyed, dizzy mess.   Sexy, yes?

I seem to be walking the fine line between nutso and normal pretty well, just a few slip ups here and there.  I gotta be honest, I hope that I do not have to take the Clomid much longer, well actually I can’t take it for very long, something about my liver being important.

If I do get pregnant, I am going to stay on 10mg of Lexapro,  I know.   I know.  Less than ideal, but a useless or worse mother is not going to do any kids any good, so I am willing to take that risk.  No one forward me any articles about it okay?    After that maybe baby I am going to go back to 20mg of Lexapro faster than they can say “It’s a Boy!”  (I have no delusions of a daughter.)   Hopefully it will keep PPD at bay, even though I will have a hormone crash the size of the Hindenburg.

Do you have any advice?  Have you been through anything similar?  Does your body still say babybabybabybaby?

Breathing

November 10th, 2011

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Here is hoping for a day like this soon.   I am trying really hard to  do NaBloPoMo, but have been pretty darn busy, so here is hoping for real post tomorrow.

I hope the trees stay rerangellow a little longer.

November 8th, 2011

It is raining.  The Halloween decorations are all packed away, and my few thanksgiving things are now up.   I am about to toss out all the leftover candy.

It is that time of year.  I hate November.   I am okay with the day of Thanksgiving, but wish we could skip the rest of the month.

Is it just me?  Maybe it is because I love October so much.  Maybe it is because I stay so busy in December.  But November.  Blah.

I hate wearing winter clothes and burning up.  I despise wearing clothes I wore all summer and freezing.

I can only think of bad things which were major life events that happened in November.  (Your birthdays do not count, sorry friends.)

It is okay to feel melancholy sometimes.  The good news is I am pretty sure the sun is going to come out tomorrow, and my mood will turn around too.

Lordy, I hope this was not the first post you ever read on the Huckablog.  It was a little depressing.  Someone tell me your favorite thing about November?