Category Archives: Evelyn

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.

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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.

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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!

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This darling girl just turned THREE!

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(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.)

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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

 

 

Well, this happened. Finally.

Well, this happened. Finally.
Well, this happened. Finally.

World, meet JD.

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He came into this world a little later than we were expecting him to. Lucky for him, this has been the most mild summer I’ve ever experienced in Texas, or else we would have had some serious problems. As it was, he kept us waiting quite a while.

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Here’s the pic I posted on social media to help prevent people from asking me somewhat hourly if the baby had come yet. And then he waited FOUR MORE days. 11 days late total. And boy, was that exciting when he did come. I’m still working on finding time to get all the details leading up to his labor story. When I get around to it, I will post. Fortunately, my body is not in the business of making giant babies, so despite his extra incubation period, he kept it just under 8 lbs. Thanks, little guy.

So far, he’s a huge sweetie. Pretty much a complete 180 from his older sister. Maybe his mellow personality is why he was pretty comfortable with hanging tight for that extra time. But because of that sweet, mellow personality, we’ve decided to keep him. (AS IF IT WERE AN OPTION. We would have kept him anyways, but he’s helping us out by making it much more pleasant. Keep it real.)

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Big sister is doing an amazing job overall with this huge transition. I am really proud of her. We had a -really- rough first day when it was just the three of us alone for the first time, but she genuinely loves her baby brother, gives him kisses, and stops whatever she is doing when she hears him cry to let me know that “Baby J.” needs something.

I am loving my little family and am so glad that this sweet soul has now FINALLY come to join us. The sweet moments and group cuddles make all the sleepless nights and toddler tantrums totally worth it. I wouldn’t trade these cute kids for anything!

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.

The Aquarium and the Flowers

The Aquarium and the Flowers
The Aquarium and the Flowers

I know I mentioned in my last post that things haven’t been going as well as I would like for me, particularly emotionally, the past month or so. In an effort to keep with my resolution to stay positive about things going on in my life, here are two fun adventures we’ve had as a family recently.

The Aquarium

Recently, a new aquarium moved into town not far from where we live. Since this area is booming, and city limits can take take 45 minutes to get from one edge of town to the other in GOOD traffic conditions, we found this to be a bonus. So despite the somewhat inflated price, we checked it out. Some friends had gotten a family pass for half off and hadn’t used it yet, so we invited them with us.

The biggest bummer was that the day dawned very drizzly and wet, and since the aquarium is all indoors, it got crowded pretty quickly. (And that happens on Saturdays, right?) But Evelyn had a blast.

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She got to see exotic birds and fish, crocodiles and tortoises, touch small sharks, starfish, and sting rays, and called the eels she saw “dragons” and roared at them.

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The staff was super nice, and one guy even came out and told us to stick around for a minute because he was about to feed the eels, and the kids usually enjoyed watching that. It was pretty neat. Definitely worth the family pass if you are going to go multiple times with younger kids that don’t think they are too big for the experience. 😉

 

Bluebonnet Season

Hands down, spring in Texas is both the worst of times and best of times. Worst of times: ALLERGIES GALORE. Even if you have never had serious allergy issues in your life, there seems to be at least one thing here that ends up getting everybody at one point or another.  But the wildflowers that pop up EVERYWHERE- any field, along the side of the highways, even on the side of a busy intersection- are gorgeous. It’s hard to focus on driving because I just want to stop and smell the flowers!

We were kind of overwhelmed last year and only caught the tail end of the beautiful wild flower season here for Evelyn, and we were sort of bummed about that. We made a goal to be better this year. So when I happened across a list of some of the best bluebonnet spots last week, I was determined we’d take advantage of the sunny Saturday we had to go get some pictures!

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As you can tell, we weren’t disappointed. Evelyn was entranced by the flowers, but not enough to keep still for long. We grossly overestimated her attention span in competition to all that goes on at a busy park on a Saturday. Despite all that, I still think we got some cute pictures and some great memories. (All these photos were taken by the very persistent Jared.)

instagrambb.jpg (One of my personal favorites that I took with my phone of us trying to compete with an airplane for Evelyn’s attention. Clearly, we lost her attention, but still got a great pic!)

Hope you enjoy our family memories as much as we have trying to make them!

Musings on Career Choices

Musings on Career Choices
Musings on Career Choices

It’s been a rough day in our household. It just hit 2:00 PM, and I have been ready to hand in my “Mom card” since at least 10:00 AM. Evelyn’s had a bad cold for the past week and a half, and mid-Saturday, it blossomed into her first ear infection. (Always, always, she gets over the weekend.)

To make it even better, we had a family here to look at our foster girl, Minka. (That’s a blog post for another time, I am sure.) While we were trying to finalize all the paperwork, Evelyn –who had refused to take a nap– charmed the family with her vengeful screaming for Mama. While that was normal nightmarish Evie behavior at 6 months, screaming for no reason and not napping at all is fairly odd behavior at 1.5 years. It wasn’t until after the family left later that afternoon that Evelyn started to poke at one of her ears.

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(Poor baby finally gave up during a boring movie with Dad Saturday afternoon..)

After a rather enjoyable night where baby Tylenol did nothing to abate the frequent awakenings and crying, we found ourselves in a weekend clinic the next morning. Ironically, once we got there, Evelyn was acting her normal and curious little self, and of course we wondered if we were overreacting and if we really wanted to pay the lovely price for having to go get doctor care on a Sunday morning (especially being out and about while most of the state was doing their last minute Super Bowl Party shopping!). After nearly 2 hours, we were reassured that yes, Evelyn definitely did have an ear infection, and we were perfectly justified in bringing her in when we did.

Now, not only are we dealing with the ear infection, but the lovely side effects of the antibiotics. (Yes, I have given her lots of bananas and pro-biotic yogurt, and no, it hasn’t helped with the runny output of the other end. I am not asking for other suggestions at this point in time because I cannot face going out with this bundle of joyful misery to buy one more thing that *might* help.)

To top it off, she refuses to nap today.

I’m writing this as I let her watch Sesame Street. That recommended “Less than an hour a day of television” that you hear about for small children? Yeah… That’s just not gonna cut it on a day like today. She’s sick, I’m tired, and we’re both needing a distraction that PBS can provide.

THANK HEAVENS FOR ELMO.

I never thought I would say that, but here I am, broadcasting that to the world. I’m expecting a Mother of the Year award coming my way any time now.

It’s days like today, and weeks like the last two, that make me wonder about what I am going to do with myself once this stage is gone. My teaching license expires this summer, and I am really debating with myself if I will bother to renew it. Not because I don’t plan on ever working again, but I am unsure if I can ever teach again. I’ve debated that before on this blog, so this isn’t anything new.

I know there are a lot of women who choose to stay home, or manage to secure part-time jobs/work from home jobs, but with the economy the way it is, and rising costs associated with having a family, I don’t think I will have that luxury. And for the record, my sweet husband does not put any pressure on me to work. In fact, the many times I have suggested it, he’s made it clear how much he loves how Evelyn has grown under my care.

Bu if I don’t teach, what WOULD I do, once Evelyn and her future sibling are older? I don’t know what I would be good at. Not that I was ever an amazing, inspiring teacher. I enjoyed working with my students, and I felt there were times I did a great job, but there was a lot that was frustrating to me about the systems in place. Especially that last year. That doesn’t mean that I don’t miss it, or have moments where I see something in a magazine or on TV that I think, “That would be so cool to share/use with my classes… If I were still teaching/”

I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school to get a Master’s degree. I’ve always wanted to further my education, but with how much it costs, I don’t see the purpose unless I have a specific target in mind. And let’s not forget, one that could at least recoup the price it will cost to get the degree.

I like to do crafts and cooking and other small hobbies, and people suggest the idea of Etsy or other craft sites to sell what I make, but I just don’t see my work being good enough to really make any sort of a profit, even managing to equal out the time spent on making them.

So, what to do?

While not immediately pressing –Evelyn and her impending sibling will hopefully need me around for a while yet– I DO need to make some decisions soon. And none of those decisions seem easy.