Why yes! I am awake!

Yes, it is 12:41Am, and I am awake!

Jay’s been ill today. I am getting very worried. The drug that is REALLY helping him is a major immuno-suppressant. He was running a fever of 99.1 on Thursday and I made him email his doctor. His doctor said not to worry until 100.5… I am still worried. He is asleep next to me (yes, I’m in bed, watching the Red Sox) Today’s been a whirlwind of activity including a PTO Fund raiser that took most of the day, making the whole family run down to Sommerville MA so I could get my medicine and then watching "James and the Giant Peach". Very very excited because Luna made it through the movie with only one running away! Yippee!

Tomorrow, Jay has softball practice. I am hoping he goes easy, so I am taking the girls to see "Horton Hears a Who!" I hope this movie is acceptable for kids who are 3y9m, because if Luna runs out on me, I am so going to lose it!

Good night! 

When did the rain start to fall?–Part 4

When I first went on anti-depressants, I figured "okay- about 6 months and I’ll be back to normal". Ha! I am still on them. 

I thought this was all temporary. The depression was just post partum depression. It would go away as my hormones returned to normal and life would be good again.

Or would it?


I would go to the campus store and pick up a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I would take my thermal dynamics book and notebook and go to the 7th floor of this building. The corners had large plate glass windows. I would occasionally wonder if I could run the length of the hallway and throw myself through the window. Then I would return to the problem set at hand. Once I did a calculation of force. In all reality, I would not die from such a fall, just be really really hurt.  I continued to ponder and watch the lights of the island while I did my homework.


I’m not sure there ever was a Normal for me. Perhaps an insanity, but not a normal. If I was thinking this way during college, long before children, maybe this wasn’t PPD, but something else. I started to really look at this in gory detail. I reviewed many different symptoms and thoughts. The best fit seems to be clinical depression.


In my hometown, I was never the popular one. Oh, sure everyone KNEW of me, the geek, the astronomer. The girl most likely to find a planet. But I was not popular. I fell for a popular boy. When it was clear that he was not going to ever reciprocate, I withdrew my emotions from my being. It was easier to hide behind a smile than to deal with rejection. At the time, I thought is was normal grieving of a relationship. In retrospect, it was overreacting at the least and unhealthily obsessive. I had signs of depression then. This was in 6th grade.


There were other signs. Little ones that I can see in hindsight, but never in front of me. The hormones of pregnancy certainly increased my depression. That was clear from the 7th week of Luna’s pregnancy. When the depression kicked me hard and often. When I would look at Soleil and wonder how I was destroying her life. Oh, yes, every parent wonders that with their children, but this was worse. My thoughts were violent and graphic. I was trying to stay off the antidepressants during Luna’s pregnancy, but at 12 weeks, Jay found me sitting on the floor of the kitchen, absentmindedly running a butcher knife along my palm. He helped me get back to the medication. And back to help.

 

 


It’s always been here. That’s the truth. The rain has always been here. I am not sure why I never saw it before. It was raining when I was a child, It rained when I went through middle and high school. College was full of rain. But even in Seattle, people can be happy. Can I? 

 


Luna messed with me from before she was born. I went into pre-term labor at 33 weeks. Ended up on terbutalene. Nasty stuff. But she made Soleil happy and me….

Head meet wall…. BAM!

How to not get something done

  1. Call doctor’s office first thing to report I need more medicine
  2. Report calmly that I have only 1 days’ worth left
  3. Confirm which pharamacy
  4. wait until 4
  5. Call pharamacy, discover nothing has been entered
  6. Call doctor’s office. Discover no doctor that can authorize meds is in today
  7. Bang head into wall
  8. hope they have meds tonight or tomorrow. 

RE: The depression series

I am working through some issues with the depression. I am finding that it is very cathartic to write down what was going on and how I was feeling. I also hope that if someone else sees themselves through my prism, they may get help. I’ve closed the comments because I am not looking for pity. I am trying to figure out where the depression started and how I got through this incredibly difficult time.

I hope you don’t mind reading along. You are more than welcome to just skip these. I’ll keep the title going so you can skip them if they are boring.

If you do want to discuss anything, you can always email me….thespacemom at gmail DOT com
 

When did the rain start to fall?–Part 3

 I had found myself withdrawing deeper into myself as time went on. We started to get smiles from Soleil and that helped. I would take her for walks in the mornings on the Minuteman Bike way. It helped to get out in the Summer/Fall air. I tried to get her in the Baby Bjorn. It took about 10 tries to get her to stop crying. I would get her in it, walk about 5 minutes and then take her out because she was miserable. Eventually, she stopped hating it. It just was so hard to get her to calm. The walks helped me because there was a world outside of my private hell. But winter was coming and soon I would need to return to work.

We traveled to Baltimore for a work meeting. I wasn’t officially back at work yet. A blowout had happened with the new boss. I was about to lose my office space and my plan of working 3 days 10 hours a day was getting axed because of the boss change. When we got on the plane, I realized I was having a panic attack. A full blown panic attack. I thought my heart would burst out of my chest. Soleil was wonderful on the flights. She sucked her pacifer and slept most of the time. I was the one losing it on the planes.

I started to review my mental state. We were house hunting. I was returning to work. we had a CHILD! And I was thinking darker and darker thoughts every day. I would review our wills and life insurance policies when Soleil was sleeping, to make sure that Jay would be able to handle life with her alone. I would think new and unexciting ways to leave the planet. The oppression in my head was unbearable.

One night, after feeding Soleil in the middle of the night, I just sat on the stairs and cried. Jay heard me and came out. I told him that I was going crazy. He said that I was just overwhelmed. I looked right at him and said, "No, I am really going insane. There is something wrong with me." He stayed with me that night until  I was ready to go to bed. In the morning, he arranged for me to see my endocrinologist. Maybe your thyroid is off…

I saw my endocrinologist within a week. I didn’t think of it at the time, but Jay must have insisted that he see me because it normally takes months to get an appointment. I explained my symptoms. I explained that I was "down". He asked how I was bonding. When I explained that it was not going well, he probed deeper. Was I getting enough sleep? Was she a good or poor sleeper? Had I ever gotten frustrated over her? Had I ever considered violence even if I wouldn’t act on it? He knew the right questions to ask. He arranged for someone in mental health to see me ASAP and had a nurse walk me over to the mental health office.  The road to wellville? Not really.

I started taking antidepressants. I started working again and managed to save both my office and my 3-10 work schedule. I started missing more days of work with small child illnesses. We purchased a house and sold another.  

I went through 4 different doctors before I found one who would deal with me as a person. One tried to associate past events with my depression. Another insisted on hypnosis, which I rejected. I found a doctor who specialized in post partum depression and I was turned away because of my insurance. I finally found someone in February. Soleil was now 7 months old.

 

When did the rain start to fall?–Part 2

The first few months where hell. Literal hell.

I arrived home on a Thursday and we had Jay’s parents in shortly after that for Soleil’s Brit Bat.  They were wonderful and did not interfere with my attempting to breast feed and visits with the Lactation Consultant. They tried to help when she cried. She would cry every day for hours. We went out for dinner once and when Jay and I returned, Soleil had spent the entire time crying. It was so hard.

The 1 week mark of being home was punctuated with the news that my boss, the one I loved and worked hard to move to his team, was leaving. He would be gone by the time I got back from maternity leave.  I had arranged to be on maternity leave (I only got 6 weeks) for 15 weeks. The last 11 were work at home weeks. I went to 20 hours of work a week, at home. I mostly did things at nights and listened into meetings about software projects I was working on at the time.

Soleil quickly fell into a pattern. Wake at 6, eat, play. Sleep. Wake eat play sleep. wake eat play SCREAM between 4-7 pm, eat sleep and then a bunch of eating and sleeping over night. I would stand in a dark closet, shutting out all stimulation to calm her. She clawed at me as if to say "make it stop" but I had no idea what was bothering her. Sometimes it was better to put her down on the floor and let her scream while I cried. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.

After 2 weeks, I was encouraged to give up breast-feeding. I was already resenting the time of trying to get her to eat. Even with bottles we had to put the bottle in her mouth and then get some liquid in her before she would acknowledge that it was there and try to eat.  I was guilted by perfect strangers for giving her formula. My light of life was getting darker by the day. I was getting very little sleep and then not much done during the day. And just at 4, when I was ready to get coffee or something to get me going again, she would start the scream.

Once, I remember having the idea of just tossing her out the window. I was immediately horrified that I would even think that. How could I? I had spent so long trying to have a child and I was thinking this?

I was furious with myself and the world. No one told me that motherhood would be like this. They LIED and told me that I would see her and be bonded for life. I didn’t even like this screaming monster. How could I bond with her? Oh, yes, I loved her (and I still do!) but the first month left me emotionally drained and unsure if I would ever be able to like this child. I often had thoughts of driving my car into a tree. But usually, Soleil was with me and I couldn’t do that to her.
Soleil at 1 month.

A quick question-

I will continue the depression posts tomorrow.

 

You may have heard in the news that one of the Harvard gyms has set aside 6 hours a week for "Women only" exercise. This was requested by some (note SOME) Muslim women who were uncomfortable exercising when a male COULD be present. One woman described how she couldn’t lay on a mat because a man was present and it is against the religion for her to do that.

This is "my" gym. The one I trek all 1 minute to exercise at. When I first saw the "women only" hours, I was horrified. I am not thrilled with the idea that men are "checking out" my body, but I also doubt that many are. I got over co-ed exercise sometime in high school. However, this is a religious issue.

So now I am not sure. Is it FAIR to set aside hours for women to accommodate certain religions? On one hand, I want to say a big fat NO. Why should someone else’s religion restrict someone else?  Or is this harmless and reasonable to allow a tolerance for the religion?

Discuss. I haven’t figured out the answer myself. 

When did the rain start to fall?–part 1

I am never sure when it began. Perhaps it was when I hit puberty. Or earlier. I thought it started when Soleil was born, but now I know that it has been around much much longer.

Soleil was born after 2 years of trying to conceive, 1 miscarriage(complete with D&C and then getting told that insurance wasn’t going to cover it), and a very long and difficult pregnancy. I knew that I would never be a great pregnant person. The constant nausea, the hernia that sent me to the hospital, the bleeding, the pain, the early drop that put me on bed rest, none of that disappointed. But what I didn’t expect was how HARD it was to be a mother.

Soleil come into the world after 49 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing. She screamed bloody murder for the first 20 minutes. She calmed when warmed up and on my chest. We tried to feed, but she was too upset to do so. The nurses took her up to the nursery for tests and I was taken to a room where I could rest. Within 1 hour, they brought her to me. I was exhausted and mentally shattered. I had not expected labor to be that difficult. I was still fighting off the epidural. I had lost all of my food from the day before and had not eaten yet. And they brought this tiny fragile child to me. And we tried again to feed. And she screamed. 

I had a nurse help me, but it was HARD. I wanted to breast feed. I knew all of the research. It was there, I could do this. But what I didn’t know then that I now know is that Soleil is sensitive to textures. She needed a long smooth nipple. Mine are not. We were incompatible for feeding. I even went through many different bottle/nipple combination before I found one that worked.  Yes, I gave up breast feeding two weeks in. Because even before I left the hospital, the depression was there.

It crept in. Maybe it was always there. 1 hour break from labor until I had my child with me, alone. Jay had gone home to shower as we had been told to do. It never occurred to me to send her to the nursery so I could sleep. I should have. I cried and cried as she cried and cried. I felt that in less than 12 hours, I had failed my child. The girl I had tried so long to conceive. 

Jay came back in the afternoon. The girl and I had slept after a very difficult feeding session. The thunder moved in that evening. The Red Sox were playing down the street and there was a sign up for Nomar Garciaparra, "Happy Birthday". It was Soleil’s birthday too! She spent most of her awake time crying. It was amazing how much she cried. And how much I cried.

We learned to change her, bathe her and we got ready to take her home. I dressed her in her new born take home outfit. She was ready to go. I climbed into the back seat of the car with her….

to be continued

Words of wisdom

Another crazy weekend in the Space House. I have come to the conclusion that we will never have a calm weekend again until the kids go to college. And then they will be home to do laundry.

This weekend was funny. I mostly finished Soleil’s dress that is just like Luna’s except for the sleeves. I made them different colors so I could figure out who had which dress! Sunday was declared "Wacky Day" in our house. Soleil’s logic was "Christians have Easter, Jews have Wacky Day!" Whatever gets you to sleep at night, kid…

Soleil and I watched Enchanted. It was very funny! I loved it! In fact I loved the ending because (SPOILER ALERT) she opens a dress shop and I said "See! Didn’t I tell you guys that Cinderella should have opened a dress shop!" to which Soleil answered "But MOM, Cinderella was still drawn. Giselle is REAL so she CAN open a dress shop. Cartoons and real life are different!" Oh, good point!

At one point this weekend, Jay was being a bit snarky. Soleil turned around and said "Dad, you’re being SARCASTIC". We looked at each other and just lost it. What 5 year old knows the word sarcastic and then uses it correctly?

Oh and Luna? SHE CHIPPED HER FRONT TOOTH AND NO ONE KNOWS HOW! Can you believe that? Not even she remembers chipping it! I have a photo of her from Thursday evening and her whole tooth was there! Now? A chunk out of the front! EEK!

I called the dentist, nothing to do about it unless the tooth starts to die! Lovely thought, eh?
 

We got an email last night. Soleil was the closest guess for the bowl of Jellybeans at the Purim party. She guessed 1000. The correct answer was 1029. The prize? The jelly beans, of course! Thank Goodness there where two people who guessed 1000 because she only gets 514 jellybeans now. Can you imagine this girl with 1029 jellybeans? Can you say Sugar high? 

Well, that’s it for my weekend. Thoughts of other fun things tomorrow!
 

Survival of the fittest

Well, I survived yesterday. I will post photos later, but I got Luna in her new princess gown I made her!

As expected, I was jostled and crazed and at the end wondering why on EARTH did I take 3 girls to this? They all had fun, but MAN!

Soleil did a cake walk and won a cake. Yippie. We now have a 7inch cake which is taunting me. When my thyroid meds went nuts earlier this year, I kinda of sort of gained 10 lbs. I have been having trouble losing it. I need to lose it. So I am working on it. Trying to keep my workouts in. Trying to sort out time for everything.

I’ve done it before, lost weight that is. And it’s not as if I am saying "la la! Poor body image I’m so fat!" I really can’t wear clothes I fit in earlier last year! So, I figure in 7-8 weeks I should be able to remove these 10 lbs. No high calorie evening snacks. 1 serving of the main meal and extra veggies at dinner. Simple low calorie snacks… Put away the Girl Scout cookies…

Will I do it? Time will tell….