Category Archives: anxiety

Pushing past the clouds

Pushing past the clouds

Hello?

Is anyone still out there?

If so, thanks for still checking in every once in a while! It has been too long. There’s been a lot happening, but I think maybe, just maybe, I might be able to resurface now. *Ducks before life throws yet another curveball at me.*

By May this year, I knew my postpartum depression wasn’t going to go away on its own, and I had done everything in my power to make it better. It was time to get reinforcements.  I went to the doctor… and I am back on a new medication.

I know there is no shame in this, but I really wanted to give it my all before resorting to medication. Especially because the last time I was on medication, while it helped with the lows, I really struggled to feel any highs, as well. I think this new medication has done a good job of finding a balance, for which I am grateful.

The last several months have been devoted to the basics. Taking care of my family. Taking care of ME. My goal for last year was to be the best me possible, and I have been working hard on it this year.

IMG_20150715_122038

Physically, I have significantly improved my health. Literally, I have lost 1/3 of my weight from where I was just before JD was born last year. ONE THIRD! That is pretty amazing. I am so very proud of that.

One of the biggest benefits is that when I went to the doctor for help, I knew the first two things they would ask me would be 1) How often do you exercise? and 2) What are your eating habits like? I could answer, very truthfully, that I have been ROCKING those out in the healthiest way possible. When the doctor looked me in the eyes, and told me, “You have done everything we would have asked you to do on your own. You have done your best.” …while I was sad that I still had to resort to medication now, I could be proud of myself for doing everything in my power to take care of myself mentally and physically.

IMG_20150724_144612

I am still constantly trying my best to be happy. I try to focus on the positive. I continue my healthy habits. I, for the most part, eat a well balanced diet with good portion control. I work out nearly every single day. I drink my Shakeology.  Several people who know me in person were surprised when I mentioned that I was still fighting this particular demon… and I guess I should take it is a mild success. That I am doing a good job of trying to be a source of positivity instead of a negative one. Now adding the medication, hopefully continuing all of this will help me truly find the balance I need.

I do have so much I want to share with you all. My babies are growing up so quickly!

This handsome little guy just recently turned ONE!

IMG_20150719_095604

This darling girl just turned THREE!

DSC_6210 hires

 

(We also had an awesome Pirate Fairy themed party for the two of them to celebrate…. I will have to devote a post to that preparation soon, too!)

We got to visit Utah and had a lovely vacation, but we weren’t sure if that was going to happen after our Bonnie developed a very serious autoimmune disease. (I’m happy to report she continues to do amazingly well.)

IMG_20150713_173525

 

One of my new goals is to devote more time to blogging again, and trying to enjoy some of those things I used to do before the depression got too much for me to bear. I will be updating here on more of these topics above soon, so keep checking back for more updates!

With love,

Elisabeth

 

 

PPD Round 2

PPD Round 2

I wrote this several months ago, and never got around to posting. I have never really hidden the fact that I have struggled, sometimes more mightily than others, with depression. It has been a part of me for a long time. I try to focus my best on the positive on my social media and to other people, mostly not because I am ashamed of my depression, but I feel it combats those horrible thoughts when I try to focus on all the good I have around me.

But depression is incredibly draining. I have been focusing on my mental and physical health, and just keeping the day-to-day needs going (like caring for two children). So things, like this blog, have gone on the way side. I am hoping that I am turning a corner, that things will change, and I will be able to take joy again in my crafts and cooking and all those extra things. Since I have been focusing so much on my physical health, I think that has helped with my mental mindset a little. I am hoping that shift will continue to change towards the positive so I can be more active on here again. 🙂

Anyways, without futher ado, writing from the Elisabeth of 7 months ago:

 

As I sit here with a sweet, tiny, little baby boy on my chest, I have a dark secret. The soft puffs of my 4-week-old son’s baby breath tickle my neck, while my toddler sits on my lap, engaged by the TV. It’s a rare peaceful moment, a moment of beauty; the kind other mothers are constantly telling you to cherish because you’ll blink, and then suddenly the kids are off to college.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 12.50.00 PM

But it’s not always possible to enjoy and cherish every moment, especially with postpartum depression.

Today is a pretty good day so far. The depression is more of a haze. It lightly lingers in the air; you can see it is there, but it doesn’t dramatically alter your course. We will go play outside before it gets too hot, and then I will try a few other tricks to keep the toddler entertained until nap time. After nap time, it’s only a few more hours before my husband makes it home and I won’t be so alone anymore. I feel the haze in my impatience with my toddler; the ease which my irritability rises, but I can check it. I can recognize it for what it is.

It’s not always this good. Some days, it’s a thick, heavy fog. The kind of dark storm where you can hardly see your own fingers raised inches in front of your face. I have never personally tried swimming in syrup, but I image the sensation would be the same; the extra exertion just to move your limbs, desperation to keep your head afloat, while everything around you sticks to you and feels a hundred times heavier than they should. Every negative thing said to you in the last week reverberates through your skull, and you beat yourself up for every action you could have handled better.

Some days, as my baby cries, I sob right along with him. I apologize that my kids are stuck with ME. So flawed, so imperfect. I apologize that I just don’t know what else to do as they cry in my arms; how much better things would be if they had somebody, anyone, really, better than me to care for them.

Every thought is distorted and twisted so far that I truly feel like my family would be better off if I just disappeared, or stopped existing.

That’s ridiculous, of course. On a day like today, it’s easy to see. My family needs me. They want me here. They love me, despite all my flaws. My daughter doesn’t understand why Mommy is so sad, and does her best to deal with the emotions that emanate from me, even when I try so hard to hide them to protect her. My husband does understand, and tries to help where he can.

It hasn’t been such a shock like the first time; a time that according to the textbooks, the parenting websites, and Facebook, should be the happiest, was one of the darkest six months of my life as I dealt with a baby who hardly slept, and when she was awake, she screamed and cried endlessly, even with rocking, feeding, changing, swinging. (She happened to find the best time to do this was from about 10PM-2AM every night. For months.) Even with treatment for her acid reflux, she still was a very vocal baby. This was all on top of my own recovery, which did not go as smoothly as I would have hoped.

I’m lucky, in a way. I’ve suffered with depression and self-esteem issues for most of my life, so I knew I was a higher risk for PPD. Especially with my second baby, my husband and I have been taking extra precautions, extra care, trying extra natural solutions from early on to help fight back that heavy fog. This time, so far, this baby’s personality is much different, and I am getting more than a hour or two of sleep a day. It’s amazing how different their personalities are, and how much that has an affect on me (this time, making it a little easier).

PPD still lingers, though. You probably wouldn’t talk to me face to face and guess, unless you asked me outright. I know other moms that have suffered, and like me, they put on a good face to the world. They don’t want to force their pain on others, for whatever the reason may be.

You never know what trial another person is suffering as they try to go throughout their own day. You don’t know what sort of cross they have been asked to bear as they try to do the best they can for themselves and their loved ones.

So please, THINK. Be kind. Offer others the benefit of the doubt. Serve them with actions before words. It doesn’t have to be much. A kind smile, a treat, a hug, can be a huge blessing for somebody who is suffering from depression, just to let them know you remember them, that they matter in some way. The advice, or “words of wisdom” that you dish out to others may do more harm, cause more feelings of guilt for somebody who is already trying their best just to make it through a minute at a time.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 12.56.51 PM

Still waiting

Still waiting

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I was hoping to have better things to do than sit here and update my blog a bit, but….

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 9.54.37 PM

As you can see, somebody is still perfectly comfortable where he is. So this picture is what you get to see. Sorry.

(Okay, I took this two days ago at 39 weeks and 1 day, which was two days ago, but just imagine me two days more pregnant now. There you go.)

Still pregnant. If you ask me how I am doing, the answer will be “Pregnant.” Meaning, all those weird aches and pains and symptoms are in full force, to the point that most of my nervousness and anxiety about giving birth again and round two of a potentially very colicky and fussy baby are now overshadowed by the desire to NOT BE PREGNANT ANYMORE.

And I’m sad because again, I’m not getting my 4th of July baby I was kind of hoping for. (Wouldn’t that be totally awesome?) We’ve had the chance twice now and both times have been foiled. Guess these kids just have a mind of their own. 😉

Mentally Preparing for Baby 2

Mentally Preparing for Baby 2

I’ve been absent from writing again. It seems like now that we are about a month away from BBv2.0 time has flown too quickly, and all the things I wish were done for his preparation are nowhere near completion. It’s harder to get things accomplished when your husband has some difficult work deadlines and you have an energetic toddler that is pretty demanding of your time. And the hour or two respite I might get in the middle of the day if she takes a good nap is usually then spent by me resting so I can keep up with her antics for the rest of the day. (Curse you, third trimester insomnia and fatigue!)

Honestly, I have spent a lot of time internalizing things. Being alone with your thoughts and a toddler most days seems to do that. Some of it are logistical questions—who are we comfortable enough with to ask to watch Evelyn while her brother is being born? (Especially if it’s 3 AM and turns out to be a false alarm… Oops, sorry!) Or if it’s during the day and takes a while, who will give the doggies and chickies some extra TLC?

A lot of the questions are the What Ifs.

There is so much I wish I could change about Evelyn’s birth. The longer I have had to think about that experience, the angrier I become with that doctor and hospital. ANGRY. They broke my trust in so many ways. I thought I was covered with a birth plan. I thought I was safer because I had a doula. Truth is, I should have stood up for myself more, and I didn’t think I could. I did in many important ways; at least I was well-read, and had good techniques, and was able to be coherent enough to recognize certain signs, but it wasn’t enough. I trusted the doctor, nurses, hospital to treat me and my family in our best interest and health, but I think my doctor was hoping for a better payout from us (C-Section), and some of the nurses were truly awful.

And there was so much I didn’t realize! Like the fact that using pictocin made it so I had to be on an IV and have continuous monitoring. (That didn’t work well; it rarely caught a contraction, and if I moved at all, as one would expect to do to try and find comfort from a contraction, it was harder to monitor Evelyn. Then they started to give me a hard time on that when really, she was just moving around as I was trying to do and the monitors were worthless.) Did you know your water breaks, you can actually still some time without labor starting; days, even, especially when you don’t have GBS. Yet that 24 hour limit has caused problems for numerous people. And I still remember Evelyn’s little heels, bloodied from all the pricks to check her blood sugar. We had to argue with the nurses and doctors that it was their imposed schedule (not to feed her on demand, but wait until the next text) and a bad nurse that caused her blood sugar to be so low and that if we could just feed her when she was hungry, we could keep her out of the NICU.

Less than a month ago, I came across this article on traumatic birth on one of my favorite sites. While The Leaky Boob focuses more on breastfeeding (if you couldn’t tell by the name!) , they often touch on other aspects of early motherhood too. “Traumatic Birth: Resources for Healing and Protecting Breastfeeding” resonated with me. Suddenly, much of my long recovery after Evelyn’s birth made so much more sense. It took 5-6 days before my milk actually came in. I had horrible anxiety and post-partum depression, mixed with Evelyn’s GERD and irritability, that made it months and months before I felt like I could get more than a hour or two of sleep at a time. Some of the physical healing took months, too, though I will spare you those details.

And the worst part was that I felt like I was ungrateful, that nobody would understand. I don’t think I can count how many times I heard “The most important thing is that the baby is okay.” But I  wasn’t okay for long time. (Another great post on this alone can be found here. Seriously, check it out before you say “All that matters is a healthy baby” to a new mom, especially if you don’t know if she’s struggling or not.)

We are going a completely different direction with Baby Boy’s birth, and I’m both excited and nervous, because I feel like this is still our first time. I still don’t know what it might be like to go into labor naturally, or to be able to move around more freely without being strapped to a bed, or being told that I would just have to wait for a doctor to show up before I could push because the nurses didn’t want to do the paperwork.  But I feel that at least I have a fighting chance, because I really enjoy the midwives and the birthing center that we’ve been attending for most of this pregnancy. (This time, I wasn’t afraid to “shop around”. I know some people thought I was high maintenance for looking at multiple doctors and midwives, but I wanted to make sure both Jared and I felt really comfortable with how we would all be treated through this experience.) And yes, we are very close to a hospital for transport in the unfortunate chance that there may be an emergency.

I feel much more at peace overall with this decision, whereas with my doctor around 30 weeks in I started wishing I could go elsewhere. Oh, how I wish I had.  Even with knowing this is a better decision, the anxiety and worry and unhappiness from the first time has not disappeared, and I just hope that I will be able to let go of that experience enough to make this time the best it can be.

 

If you are interested in some resources I have found helpful, I would recommend some of the following:

Fun article that I mostly agree with (feel free to ask me what I would change or asterisk): “Dear Friend, Birth Doesn’t Have To Suck”

Book: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (Skip all the happy-go-lucky stories to the second half of the book where she gets into how childbirth works and some interesting historical facts about how birth has become what it is now)

For supporting nearly all kinds of birth experiences, Birth Without Fear has a great collection of home births to cesarean sections stories and support.

For Breastfeeding: The Leaky Boob. Seriously. Ignore the name if it bothers you, but I have found some amazing things on here that have helped me so much with Evelyn.

A quick update…

A quick update…

I haven’t been very active on here lately. I wanted to do better with blogging, but it just hasn’t been in my bandwidth. There’s been a lot going on, and with my energetic toddler, I don’t know how anyone has ever had the time and energy to get anything done with these crazy little cuties around.

But other than that, if I were to be completely honest with you all, I would have to say that I’ve been struggling with a big resurgence of my anxiety/depression issues, and just being able to take care of my family’s immediate needs has become a main priority. A lot of the remedies I would usually turn to aren’t as viable an option right now, especially being pregnant. And I know the pregnancy has it’s own share of contributing to the problem with hormone changes and pain issues. I’ve felt fairly isolated lately, and it’s been a really difficult time for me in those regards. However, I do apologize for not keeping up with this as well as in the past.

Things with BabyB v2.0 have been moving along fairly smoothly. In fact, a few weeks ago we found out that “it” is a HE. I felt pretty strongly all along that this little guy was indeed a guy, so it was pretty much what I expected. We were really fine with whatever the result would be, as there are benefits to having both another girl, or having a boy, so really it is just planning ahead now that is the fun part.

SAMSUNGThe “REVEAL” picture I shot the day we found out.

SAMSUNG

One of my favorite pictures from the ultrasound- he’s waving hi!

Anyways, that’s been fun. I enjoy being able to plan. The pregnancy has gotten a little more painful the past week with some lower back pain issues that we are working on resolving, but it’s hard to not tweak your back when you have an energetic toddler, right? So being able to sit and rest and dream up ideas on Pinterest of how we can decorate BBv2.0’s room has been a saving grace for my attention during this lonely time, and I am glad for the distraction.

I’ve also been working on a small crochet blanket for him the past few days. I am really excited about this project, especially because it’s the colors I’ve wanted for his nursery from early on, even before I knew for sure he was a boy. I was trying to think of ways to make them work if BBv2.0 had been a girl, so I am glad I don’t have to try as hard now!

BBv2.0Blanketcolors

The colors (in cotton yarn, as he’s going to be a summer baby!)

EvelynBB2blanket

The project so far, based on this Tiramisu blanket pattern.

 

I haven’t gotten too far yet, since thanks to the cutie pictured above, it took about 5-6 hours to untangle a yarn mess she created, putting me a day behind. (Bonus, it motivated my husband and me to FINALLY get a yarn swift to go with our winder so we can wind hanks/skeins here at home… yay!) I tried to get a stand alone picture of the project all morning since the light has been good, but SOMEBODY would not leave the blanket alone. She sees it and immediately wants to snuggle it. I may be making a second blanket here soon just for her since she has been so obsessed with this project.

So that’s what has mostly been up in our lives. Incubating baby #2, surviving Toddler #1, and fighting a battle with housework that if you came over, probably would look like we’re losing. 😉