Category Archives: medical/health

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.

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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.

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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.

Baby Boothe v2.0

Baby Boothe v2.0

It’s been overall quiet on the blog front the past few months. Not a lot of brave new attempts at yarn projects or recipes or overall random musings from my brain. But there was a very valid reason!

I know I put this on Facebook already last week, but there’s SOMETHING about this blog that always seems more official. It’s a good place to put more details compared to just a short, “Hey, there’s a baby on board!”

We let Evelyn break the news.


It seemed appropriate, don’t you think?

As of now, I am about 15 weeks. Due date hovers around the second week of July, though honestly I have no clue what to expect, since I was not allowed to go into labor on my own last time. So, if I am being honest, I am equally anxious about what that might mean for this round.

Those of you who have read about Evelyn’s birth story (which starts here, if you want a refresher. I don’t!) know that I lost a lot of confidence in the hospital and doctor experience, so this time we are going a little more “natural.” Jared couldn’t be convinced to consider a home birth, so a middle ground for both of us was a birthing center with midwives that is also close to a hospital in case there is an actual need for additional interference. And we actually “shopped around” with a few midwives and doctors to find a group that seemed like a better match for us.

I’d post a picture of the one ultrasound we got, but it is from week 8 or 9, and it wasn’t the most high quality, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the slight belly bulge is now more from growing another small human and not from over-indulging on goodies during the holiday.

I’m pretty sure I meant to say more during this post, but several interruptions and a walk to the mailbox later, I’ve grown sleepy and lost my train of thought. So, Baby Boothe v2.0, here’s the Elisablog welcome to the family post!

Thanksgiving Recap 2012- Wah wah.

Thanksgiving Recap 2012- Wah wah.

Sometimes life throws curve balls at us. Other times, it feels like life drove our car into a concrete wall at 60 MPH, and then, for good torture measure, gave us a paper cut and poured some lemon juice on it.

I’m feeling a little more like the second right now.

Our Thanksgiving was supposed to be awesome. Jared had the whole week off from work. His sister was coming in; we hadn’t seen her in a year, and she’d be meeting Evelyn for the first time. We were getting our foster dog (more on that in a later post!). We were going to take Evelyn to see Santa at the local mall, even!

It all started to go downhill when Jared got a bad cold. He started feeling under the weather Thursday or Friday of the previous week. He then had to chaperone a church youth dance that Saturday night, and by Sunday, he was pretty miserable. Sarah, his sister, was supposed to get in around 7 PM Sunday evening… but due to a bizarre airport switcheroo/delay, didn’t make it until midnight.

Monday we had to take my car into the shop for some problems. So, the only car available to us was Jared’s monster truck, and the only person who is vaguely comfortable with driving that beast on the road was Jared, who by this time was pretty much holed up in our room with a heating pad stuck to his head to help relieve the pressure. So, we stayed home and watched a lot of TV and played with Evelyn. Wednesday my car finally became available again, but all of us were feeling kinda off (except Jared, who had finally given in and gone to the doctor, who diagnosed his sinus and two ear infections and gave him antibiotics, so he was starting to move and interact like a human again…). So we didn’t do anything.

Thanksgiving was good, except for the “offness” continuing. Even Evelyn was showing slight signs of feeling unwell with a little cough. We decided to keep an eye on it, because it wasn’t like the doctor’s office was going to be open on Thanksgiving.

Despite that, I made a pretty good dinner, if I may say so myself. We tried brining a turkey for the first time. I am not sure how effective that was, but hey, it was a new thing. We had a delicious cranberry fruit salad, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, and with the leftover cranberries, I even made my first attempt at cranberry sauce for the turkey! (It was actually pretty decent for a rough experiment.


After going into a Turkey coma, Friday showed us that Jared, despite his attempts to prevent it, had been kind enough to share his germs with the rest of us. Including Evelyn. Going to the pediatrician showed that she did indeed have RSV, a cold variant that is more dangerous for infants because it likes to get down into the chest, which can cause bronchitis or pneumonia. Poor baby was not feeling well.

(By the way, it is never fun to be told that you might have to take your baby to the ER over the weekend if she starts having a hard time breathing due to this virus. And, even though she’s miserable, you can’t give her anything. And, Mom, btw, you can’t take anything either since it could affect her feeding.

Sarah rallied the troops by taking us out for dinner (which was very sweet, considering how incredibly boring hosts we were and the fact that Jared got her sick) that evening, which was good because by Saturday, we were all down for the count.

Now THAT is an exciting Thanksgiving, wouldn’t you say?

Okay, despite the sarcasm, it really was a good visit, and Evie loved getting attention from her Aunt Sarah. They had some sweet cuddling sessions! Hopefully it won’t be another year before we see her again, because she is pretty dang cool. As if Evie’s onesie could lie.

Anyways, I guess the moral of this story is families share a lot, which is good, except when it’s germs. Then you are welcome to keep them to yourself. Next time Jared is sick, we’ll lock him up in the office room and install a doggie door to slide meal trays and medicine under until he is feeling well again.

Just kidding, dear. Kind of.



If it’s not one thing going wrong right now, it’s another!

In my last post, I mentioned that we discovered that Evie has GERD/acid reflux. Before you think I hastily rushed to this conclusion to medicate her, let me show you some of the symptoms she was exhibiting:

  • Spitting up (increasingly more in the past 2-3 weeks)
  • Irritability during or after feedings (particularly in the evenings and night!)
  • Coughing/ sputtering during eating
  • Refusing to eat
  • Crying when placed on her back, especially after a feeding
  • Arched her back while crying/feeding
  • Choking after some feedings- particularly bad Thursday
  • Spits up forcefully, causing stomach contents to shoot out of her mouth

After last week, this was just getting worse and worse.  She had a nasty choking episode at 2:00AM friday morning, then a forceful vomit later on in the day. She she then had a bad night Saturday, slept very fitfully.. and Sunday was just a mess. She forcefully threw up around 5:00-6:00 pm, and then 1:30 am (1:30 one was particulary bad, but both had vomit coming out of her nose and mouth and was most of her feeding).

There’s a lot they recommend you do, like keeping the baby elevated after feedings for 15-30 minutes, smaller feedings, sleeping in a car seat or adjusting the baby’s crib to a 30 degree angle, but it wasn’t working.

And let’s face it. Getting between 1-3 hours of sleep a night and getting covered in curdled baby vomit multiple times wasn’t working for me, either.

Monday we were able to meet with a pediatrician, who agreed with our assessment that the fussiness was mainly in part to what appeared to be acid reflux. She wasn’t too concerned, since Evelyn’s been gaining weight rapidly, but she could tell, even in the appointment, that Evie was a little fussy and in discomfort from the issue. So she prescribed us some medicated drops for the reflux and told us to call in if we didn’t notice a difference within a week.

Within 24 hours, we had ourselves a new baby. If I hadn’t been so sick with a cold, I would have slept marvelously in 1-2 hour stints throughout the night because this little girl was not nearly as fussy as she had been in the past.

Y’all, when I see that doctor again, I might just hug her.

Unfortunately, remember that cold I mentioned? Well, Wednesday night, Evie started showing signs of being congested. I’ll have to put that down in her baby book. You know, where you put things like “Baby’s first words” or “Baby’s first time to crawl”? I’ll put down “Baby’s first cold: Wednesday, August 15, 2012.”

Just kidding. Sort of.

Anyways, like probably most first time parents, I was extremely anxious. There’s not much anyone can do for a cold, but should I take her to the doctor anyways? Blah blah blah. We called the office in the morning, and the nurse told us that if she didn’t have a fever (she didn’t) and if she wasn’t extremely fussy, then go with a humidifier and saline drops and bring her in if she got worse, a fever, or really fussy (though, before the acid reflux medicine, how would we have known differently?).

Well, we didn’t have saline drops OR a humidifier, so that meant going on a field trip to Target with a sick baby. Yay! (Remember, this blog is a no-sarcasm zone…)

Anyways, meet Horton. He’s our new humidifier.

He beat out a frog and a penguin during the in-store audition for the job, and has a special place next to the bed where I have Evie sleeping in her car seat. (He made a convincing argument that he’d go better with the jungle theme in Evelyn’s room, and that his nondescript gray was being true to type, not boring.)

Don’t judge me for having conversations with animal-shaped humidifiers in a Target store until you’ve been sick for a week with a nasty cold and running on 1-3 hours of sleep a night. If you’ve been there, and you still want to judge me, then go ahead.

Plus, if you’re going to be sick, might as well be sick with a bit of whimsy thrown in, yes?

Anyways, please send Evelyn good thoughts so she can get better soon and enjoy being a healthy baby for a while, before the next calamity, like teething, sets in. 🙂