Saturday, January 31, 2009

Remembering some more.

I felt broken-hearted when we brought LB home from the hospital. Our whole lives had changed. Before he was born we had a son who we loved dearly and could give to him all of our attention. He fulfilled a dream we had to be parents, and we were very happy. I was pregnant, too, finally after 4 years of infertility and many many times I longed to be pregnant. I was so happy with a 1-year-old and a pregnant belly. Then it all changed.

We came home from the hospital right when my postpartum emotions kicked in. I felt absolutely overwhelmed and overwhelmingly anxious. I wasn't pregnant any more, an experience I thoroughly enjoyed, and in place of that wonderment I had a newborn baby who wasn't nursing well or gaining weight. I couldn't spend any time with my precious first child because I was so busy feeding the baby around the clock. I loved them both so much I thought it would be easier to cease existing than to love them both. I felt an obsessive, crazy love for them and not a peaceful, content love like I do now.

Every time night would approach I would just start to cry. I felt so anxious for another night to come. The time had just changed and it was getting dark so early I felt like the darkness would swallow me up. My thoughts raced and yet things felt like they were moving in slow motion. I didn't want to go to bed because I knew the next time I woke up I'd be trying to nurse this baby again and it would not go as I'd hoped.

Waking up in the morning was a relief in some ways, because it was light and I was supposed to be up. The world kept moving along and I could remember that when I got out to run an errand like take LB to the lactation consultant or pediatrician. Then I would get home knowing it would soon be dark again and it made me start to feel sad and anxious again. I don't remember how long this lasted, but it was longer than the "Baby Blues." I had moments of clarity and joy, though, so I told myself I wasn't experiencing postpartum depression. Case solved. Or not.

As time went on and we were sleeping more I started feeling better, but there were still triggers, especially feeding and sleep issues. We had a really terrible time getting started nursing, and I felt like if I couldn't nurse him then I wouldn't have the closeness with him I had when he was in the womb. I wanted him back in there until he was about 6 months old! Now I'm so glad he's here, because he is too big now to carry around in my pouch like a joey.

LB was almost a year old before I finally decided to see if I could get some help with my emotions. I had postpartum thyroiditis, too, which contributed to my depression and anxiety. After we got that straightened out I began to feel even more like myself. Counseling helped a lot, too.

I have two sweet friends who have just had babies. Experiencing that with them (not in person) brought back a lot of these memories and feelings. I don't want to scare them by sharing my extreme reactions to motherhood, but to let them know that it's not always talcum powder and baby blankets, and if you have a hard time, tell someone. Tell them the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Tell me. I won't point and stare. I'll even tell you some shocking things about me! Wouldn't that be fun?!

Ah, life.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I stink at bowling.

Oh, man, do I stink at bowling! At one point I decided that if I was going to be terrible at it, that I would do it with style. So I went skipping off down the lane (on purpose) and rolled a gutter ball (not on purpose). To my credit, I did have some of the fastest bowling speeds in my group. Yay for me!

Let's bowl, let's bowl, let's rock 'n roll

We are going bowling with Randy's praise band from church. My friend's sister is coming over to babysit BB, LB, and four other children! All told the ages are 9,7,4,3,2,1. She will be rewarded handsomely. We'll see how our tiny little house does hosting all of the little children.

This is a boring post. I guess I'm just not an every day blogger.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Life is pretty crazy around here these days. The driving around has already started and BB is only 2 years old! On Tuesdays and Fridays we drive back and forth to church at least twice, which makes for about two hours of door to door driving. (Yikes - I hadn't calculated that before.) Poor LB gets the brunt of that because he has to travel all four legs with me strapped into his car seat. (That poor grammar is for you, Thelma!)

About every other Wednesday evening we go back to church for music rehearsals. I sing in the choir and Randy plays in the contemporary praise and worship band every other week. On the weeks he doesn't play I put LB to bed before I leave and then Randy puts BB down. Wednesday days the kids and I usually hang around the house, which is what we do Monday as well.

On Thursday mornings we go to Bible study and get home right before lunch. Every other Thursday afternoon we go to the chiropractor. Randy and I get adjusted every other week and the boys once a month. The chiropractor is about 10 minutes away so it's not that bad of a drive.

So Mondays and Wednesdays are our at-home days and it's so nice not to have any daytime commitments. I guess we could be busier, but I think we keep plenty busy. It makes the weeks fly by.

Now that the kids are "older" (LB will be 15 months old tomorrow!) time is starting to go by faster. For the first 9 months of LB's life we only had one commitment per week other than the occasional choir rehearsal and chiropractor visit. Sometimes I get wistful about another baby, but then I remember how good this is. My good friend had a baby just this morning and I was feeling kind of jealous. Then I remembered those first few weeks and decided I would be thrilled with my full night's sleep tonight!

I haven't looked at it yet, but my mom told me about a blog that was called "The days are long but the years are short" or something like that. How true.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dare to read.

I've joined a book club! For a month at least. Before the holidays our neighbor had a party for our cul-de-sac and invited the neighborhood ladies to attend. With the holidays I wasn't able to make the commitment to do it, but I felt like I could for February. We are reading "Tolstoy Lied" by Rachel Kadish. I haven't started it yet as I just received it yesterday from Amazon and I have a library book to finish first ("Oh My Stars" by Lorna Landvik). I'm looking forward to it!

I have never been a part of a book club unless you count Bible study (which technically is a giant book club), so I'm looking forward to this. The women in the group range in age from their 20s to their 60s and come from all over the community. I'll do a book review and share how it goes on February 19th. I wish my mom could join a book club with me. Wouldn't that be fun?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Postpartum Depression

What? Does this seem random? I've never written about PPD on this blog. You didn't know I had PPD? I didn't, either! In fact, I still don't know whether I would have been officially diagnosed as having PPD, but I'm certain I experienced a postpartum mood disorder. I'll speak of this is more detail another time soon, but for right now I want to talk about my new book I received in the mail: The Lifter of My Head: How God sustained me during postpartum depression. by Sue McRoberts.

I've only read the first chapter and a half, but it is a very riveting read so far. I am on a quest to find out more about postpartum depression and post-adoptive depression, and this is my first stop.

What makes perfect sense to me, and what contributed to my experience with possible PPD, is my experience with infertility. Although infertility was not Mrs. McRoberts's story (at least it doesn't seem like it so far), she does list "major loss in the past two years" as a risk factor for PPD. Think about infertility for a minute. You might not think it involves loss if you've never experienced it, but it most certainly does. No it's not always loss of a pregnancy, but of a hoped-for pregnancy and prayed-for child. A loss you experience every. single. month (if you are fortunate enough to be an ovulatory woman).

I'm going to come back to this soon, but for now there are some little boys needing my attention, and a hungry big boy (husband) who would love to sit and eat a bit in peace. So I want to quickly list some risk factors for experiencing postpartum depression.

In academic writing you need to go straight to the source instead of writing "according to Parenting Today as cited by McRoberts, 2007," but this is a blog and not academia - yay! So, according to Parenting Today as cited by McRoberts, 2007, some risk factors for experiencing postpartum depression include:

previous PPD
family history of anxiety or depression (genetic predisposition)
unplanned pregnancy
unsupportive spouse
recent separation or divorce
major loss in past two years (death of loved one, for example)
obstetric complications
environmental stressors

Do any of these describe you? Have you undergone a lot of stress and disappointment in your life on your reproductive journey? Did you envision a natural birth only to have to have an emergency C-section? Were you unable to breastfeed after planning to nurse your child? Was your sweet baby in the Nicu after birth? Did you finally release your desire to be pregnant only to find yourself so? Did this happen after adoption?

I want you to be aware of the possibility that you may experience some form of postpartum mood disorder, and to know that it is OK and important to seek help. You do NOT have to do anything yourself, you do NOT have to love every minute of parenting, and you do NOT have to go it alone. Accept help. Ask for help. Beg for help. See your doctor. Pray for God's guidance in how He would want you to deal with PPD.

In my case, I chose to go to counseling to begin to cope with my postpartum emotions. I went to my OB/GYN and my favorite Nurse Practitioner prescribed an antidepressant called Lexapro. I decided to wait before I started taking it until I saw a counselor. My lovely friend and supporter Tara suggested I contact Postpartum Support International ( and speak to an area coordinator about therapists in my town. Through PSI I found Dr. Kelly Boyd who I saw for several visits and plan to to back now that the holiday crazies are over. She has helped me a lot and things are so much better.

I'll link these to my right sometime when I remember how, but in the meantime here are some links.

Postpartum Support International (
Out of the Valley Ministries (
Sue McRoberts (
Live Oak Center for Counseling and Reproductive Psychology (

"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." Psalm 3:3, as cited...

Friday, January 23, 2009

My new book.

I got a new book. I was going to tell about it, but now I've decided that I'm tired. I'll tell about it later.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reliving LB's birth *****lots of baby talk*****

Don't worry, I'm not going to give graphic details, we know how babies are born, but I want to forewarn anyone who does not want to read a very baby-intensive post.

My dear friend Wendi is about to give birth any minute now. She's been having contractions for 24 hours or so, but still irregular. Every time I look at her blog or think about her it catapults me to 15 months ago when LB was born. Except that I didn't have contractions until 6 hours before that kid was born. (Sorry, Wendi.)

It was almost Halloween and BB and I had been outside taking pictures of him in his lion costume.

I was 38 weeks and 4 days pregnant and nowhere near ready for LB to make his appearance. I wasn't really excited for a baby because I had a baby. BB was just a year and 4 days old. BB and I had fun taking these sweet pictures but then it was time for his nap. I put him down and looked forward to a caramel apple (the last thing I ate before giving birth) and relaxing my 9-month-pregnant body a little bit. As I put something in the microwave at 3:51 pm a very strong contraction moved through my body. "Uh-oh, I thought, I'd better lie down!"

Off to bed I went with a glass of water, ready to relax away the Braxton-Hicks contractions. Au contraire, mon frere. I felt a huge "bursting" sensation in the nether regions and realized that my water had broken. I had this picture of one gush (OK, maybe this is a little graphic) and that's it, but it turned out to be about 6 big gushes. How many babies did I have in there anyway?

I called my friend Jennifer and told her I thought my water had broken. I was still talking myself out of the fact that I was actually in labor. She suggested I call the doctor. I did so, and they said I needed to come in. It might be a false alarm, but once the waters broke I needed to deliever within about 24 hours .

The night before this excitement I told Randy, "I guess we need to start talking about how I would get ahold of you at work when I go into labor." We decided that I would text message him. So at about 4:15 or so I texted Randy at work, writing, "I think my water just broke." Uh, you think? In any case, he was in a meeting but came on home as fast as his little car would carry him.

BB woke up then, crying. I had called my magic friend Stacey who was going to care for BB when LB came, and she was on her way, too. I didn't know what to do about BB so I just left him in there. I did not know what to do, nor was I prepared. He was supposed to wait a few more weeks. Not! Stacey arrived and I was walking around trying to get some more things together (I hadn't packed), having contractions every 5 minutes or so. I would walk and talk then double over with the pain of a new contraction. We thought we might need to meet Randy at the hospital! He got home just in time for some last minute instructions for Stacey, and we head off to the hospital.

We had to traipse through the whole hospital to get to labor and delivery and they checked me into a room. I hadn't decided whether or not to have an epidural, but after another hour of contractions I decided to go for it. After that I was feeling no pain, answering and making telephone calls, and in a very good mood. Randy went to get something to eat and our friend Rachel, who thankfully could NOT stay away once she heard I was in labor, went to our house to pick up some more things we forgot. By the time she got back to the hospital we had a new little baby boy! LB was born at 10:28 on October 30th, less than 7 hours after that first contraction.

Now I've got two little boys, ages 27 months and 15 months, wrestling on the bed. They play great together and are best friends.

I've got this down now, so when Wendi has her baby I can rehash that experience again, too. Thanks, Wendi!

Oh, yeah.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Texas sweater day.

It is not often one wears a sweater in Central Texas. This one was knit by a friend of my mom's. I find this very impressive as I can only knit scarves and coasters. Oh - and a coin purse that I gave to my nephew. But getting this sweater out again motivated me to step up my knitting game, so I'd better get a knitting.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peas in a pod.

BB likes to "eep." He says, "Daddy. Eep. Nu." (translation: Daddy sleep, LB) He likes to pull up the "tank" (covers). We have a lot of fun deciphering the language these days!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Status report

I haven't posted many pictures lately because we were out of town. Grandma sent BB a riding toy for Christmas. Turns out this is a four-wheeler motorcycle with a "gas" pedal that you press to make it go. It's fun! LB thinks it's pretty nifty, too, and gave it a little test drive today. Mostly though, BB loves trains. I've never seen a kid love trains this much! His favorite video these days is a documentary about the Moffet Tunnel in Rollinsville, Colorado. He requests it over Thomas the Train.

The boys are really fun right now. LB is the most affectionate child I've ever known, but mostly with me. BB is interested in everything, especially in how things work. This is something he inherited from his birthmom. His birth grandma reports that she used to take things apart all the time. It's fun to know that. It's a real mystery where nature rules over nurture, though, since Daddy likes to take things apart, too. We'll just say that BB has a lot of influences in his life!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Yes, we're still alive!

Things are mercifully boring now that the holidays are over. I think the boys are finally getting back into their normal routine. 2009 has begun and this might be the year I get back to work some. I'm hoping to do some music therapy assessments for a local school district this spring.

I love doing assessments because I really enjoy meeting new people, designing music applications to mirror what the student is already doing as a part of her Individualized Education Plan (IEP), comparing and analyzing the student's responses to both modalities, and even writing reports. I am passionate about including students with special needs in the general music classroom and in using the unique qualities of music in addressing educational goals.

Wow - it's been awhile since I thought like that. Time to sharpen my skills!

TGIF, too. It's a good day.