First Weeks Of Life

Where do I begin?

The baby (I really need to find a bloggity name for him) is happy, healthy, and growing like a weed.  We have the semblance of a daily routine.  We are surviving and sort of accomplishing things most days.  We went to his first Renaissance Fair!  He has given us his first smiles.  We have learned that we definitely need more bottles.  No progress has been made on any house cleaning.

DH is back to work from his paternity leave.  I’m very bummed about it.  We’ve enjoyed our time together so much.  The baby was just icing on the cake.  It’s the longest we’ve gotten to spend together since block leave when he left for deployment.  We found it sorta sad that I had to push a screaming human out of my hoo-ha to get that kind of time together.

My mom came down this past weekend, and it was so refreshing and lovely to have her around.  I’m very taken aback by how much I want my mom here.  I really want to show off my little nugget, but I’m really, really wanting my mom’s company too.  Baby’s do weird things to people.  I never thought I’d be wanting my mom like this.

DH’s mom was here the first weekend, and the visit turned into a disaster.  It’s way, way too complicated to go into right now.  The short version is she monumentally overstepped some boundaries.  I’m very angry about it still.  It’s going to be one of those things that takes me a very long time to come to terms with, which makes me even madder because it will forever be linked to my first memories with my lil boy.  Ugh.  The whole situation pisses me off.

I’d like to save my first thoughts and feelings about birthing and motherhood for a separate post.  They deserve their own space and time to breathe, but I wanted to let everyone know that we’re hanging in there.

Random Episode #111

What has everyone been up to?  It seems like we’ve all been too exhausted to blog much lately.  I don’t know about you guys, but I’m blaming mine on this huge belly I’ve been lugging around.  I’m down to about 7 weeks left, which is great because my belly is outgrowing my maternity work shirts at an astonishing rate.  Other baby planning is going well.  I’ve picked up lots of stuff at local thrift stores.  There are so many great finds there with tags still on them.  We’re missing a crib and a car seat/stroller, so that’s kinda important.  I’m going to try and hit some stationary stores in town looking for fantastic paper for birth announcements this Saturday.  I’ve been on meds now for a few weeks, and I’m feeling alright.  I’m almost even getting excited.  I’m hoping to keep up the momentum so my nerves don’t get the better of me as the day creeps closer.

DH is out training, so I’ve been lounging around home getting lonely.

I got some of my veggies started for the spring.  I have cucumbers for pickling, green beans, and potatoes started.  I want to get a tomato plant, a pepper plant, and strawberries maybe this weekend.  It’s going to be fantastic!!  There’s a tater tub thing at Walmart that I’m trying this season.  It comes with everything for like $12ish and grows fingerling size potatoes all in this black bucket with a lift out insert to check on the potatoes as they grow.  I’m super excited to see if it works out.  Oh, and I’m sure I’ll pick up some flowers sometime too, but I want to maximize my veggie growing season before it gets too hot down here.

I’ve been reading a ton of great books, but I want to give those their own space.  So…just wait longer.

My parents came and visited about two weeks ago or so just for the weekend.  We had a great time, although we didn’t really do much.  We went and saw Riverdance, and I was a bit bummed because I’ve seen it once before and this time it seemed like a slimmed down version.  It wasn’t a grand feeling like it was last time I saw it.  Anyway, we did a lot of non-baby things and some baby things, so it was a nice mix.  Short but sweet.

Ugh, taxes are here again.  My W-2s got all screwed up, so I’ve been waiting on those to get corrected before I can start.  And for some reason two of my interest bearing accounts didn’t send me 1099-INT forms this year.  Seriously??  Is the universe trying to stress me to the max right before this baby gets here?  I hate tax season…

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  With DH out on a suck-fest right now, maybe I’ll get reacquainted with the blog world.

Medicated

I just wanted to post a quick update.  I started medication on Monday after an appointment with my OB.  They seem really willing to help with prenatal depression, which was reassuring, but I’m going to wait and see until after my therapy appointment tomorrow whether or not she recommends that I still go to a psychiatrist.

I’m so out of my element with this medication thing.  Supposedly it should take awhile to feel the affects, and I might have to go through several dosage adjustments to find my level, so I can’t really tell if it’s working.  I feel relief though knowing that at least it will end.  I don’t have to worry about what if I can’t get a handle on this before the baby gets here or while DH is gone.  At least the decision is made, and I know I will eventually feel better regardless.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at.  Red and I have been talking when we can.  Having her already have navigated these waters is really reassuring.  She keeps reminding me that this is the right choice, and I’m being proactive instead of waiting for what we all know will turn into postpartum depression.  She had another baby boy in December, by the way.  He’s adorable, but he’s getting in the way of my phone calls.

I’ll keep you updated in how this whole medication thing goes, but I’m optimistic and that’s good.

Dark Place

Some bummer news…  Over the past few weeks my mental outlook has continued to decline at an alarmingly fast rate.  I’ve been seeing my therapist (who is the absolute best) rather sporadically because of the hours of my new job, but at the last meeting she was really concerned.  I’m upping my meeting back to weekly, she called in a favor to a psychiatrist friend, and I have an appointment with my OB to discuss putting me on antidepressants.

Prenatal depression isn’t exactly uncommon, although obviously it gets less attention than postpartum depression, and I am at a much higher risk with my past history, but I’m still bummed.  I’ve never had to go on antidepressants before (although maybe I should have), and it feels like such a failure.  I’m worried about the side effects because I know these meds are serious drugs.  I’m worried about taking too long to figure out the med situation and being too late because I know it takes awhile to get the right combination/level of these drugs.  I’m worried about this being the right choice because I’ve been able to deal with this on my own in the past.

It just sucks!  Health-wise I’m doing so well.  My stomach issues are calm.  The baby couldn’t be growing more perfectly.  I’m just starting to hate the baby and this pregnancy for so many reasons.  I hate that it’s changing my relationship with DH.  I hate the pressure I feel having to shop for it.  I hate the intrusion I feel from my family because they’re excited for it.  I hate how my body’s changing to accommodate it.  I hate strangers asking personal questions about it.  I hate the uncomfortableness and the squirminess and the sleeplessness that it’s causing me.  I hate the public expectation to be overjoyed over it.  I hate everything right now.  I’m stressing over the birth, over shopping, over single-parenting while DH is gone…  It doesn’t end.

I’m bummed that I have to go through this healing process again, but I’m more worried that because of its different causes, this time is going to be harder and I’m not going to be able to be a good parent.  I already feel like it’s unfair for DH to live and deal with a mentally ill person regularly, but a kid isn’t going to understand.  I don’t want to burden him with it when he should be worry-free and ignorant of such problems.  And that’s how my thought process goes full circle and I start feeling like crap again.

Therapy and Reality TV

I’m a total sucker for a lot of reality tv.  DH and I don’t pay for a ton of cable, so I spend a lot of time on Bravo and TLC other such channels that seem to come with every cheap cable package.  You learn to love tolerate what you have.

Anyway, in my channel surfing I have been hugely impressed and happy to see how much reality tv is showing people going to therapy.  More celebrities like Catherine Zeta Jones and Demi Lovato have openly talked about seeking mental health treatment, which I think is awesome, but (as I think it should be) it’s kept a private affair.  Even though mental health treatment is talked about in the media, there’s still a ton of stigma around therapy and seeking treatment.  Gene Simmons, Bethanny Frankel, Sarah Ferguson, several 16 and Pregnant cast members, and Tatum O’Neal are a few I can name off the top of my head who are willing to take their mental health and therapy work public.

I think it does a ton to chip away at the preconceptions people have about talking to a therapist.  Rarely do you lay on couches.  Rarely are the therapists providing neat answers.  Medication and hospitalization are not usually needed.  Powerful, productive, and beautiful people want to go to therapy.  It’s not less manly or less strong or less anything to need to talk to someone about how you feel.  There’s no target age or target gender that benefits more than any other.

I’m torn though.  I really feel for these people.  I know they sign up to do these shows and put their personal life on display.  I don’t think it’s ever a good idea and probably does a ton of damage in the long run.  I just wish they could do their therapy work in private.  I’m sure a lot of it is.  Not a ton of therapists would agree to open sessions like that for tv.  But no matter how honest they think they’re being even with cameras there, it’s not the same.  There’s at least the teeniest sensor there before they start saying something, and one point of therapy is to provide a judgement-free space where anything can be said without repercussions.  Fan/hate mail, press coverage, and knowing the family/friends could eventually hear what’s said are huge burdens that I wish these people didn’t have to worry about during their therapy.  At the very least, it slows the process for them, and I wish no one would have to purposefully drag out an already arduous job.

So maybe I just need to say thank you to these celebrities for taking one for the team for the rest of us.  By bringing attention to how beneficial and non-threatening therapy can be, hopefully more people will get the help they need.

Meetings

I’ve started back with a new therapist, and I really like her.  We’ve met a few times already, I’ve been meaning to post an update on how the appointment went but things come up–as usual.

Anyhoo… she seems like a super cool lady.  She’s young-ish, which I think I like better.  I’m not ageist or anything, but the last time I tried meeting with an older lady I got a lot of “well, in my 30+ years of practicing…” and that didn’t sit well with me.  We’re both learning about my messed up insides together.  She works a lot with families, so her office has comfy chairs and toys and just feels homey rather than office like.  And because of her emphasis she likes to work in spouses into therapy whenever it’s helpful.  I’ve always felt things would be so much easier if DH could listen in on my meetings, so that sat well.  She works a lot with military families too, so that’s nice.

I guess it’s hard to quantify, but really, I just got good vibe from her.  She seems like someone I can talk to you, which is the whole point really.  I’ve had to fight incredibly hard to work through the insurance process, which I think is actually half the hospital’s fault, so I’m happy to finally make it to a live person at the other end.  It really shouldn’t be this hard to get help, and it makes me sick at how many people don’t end up getting any because they can’t make it through all the crap in the way.  It sends a huge mixed message to military families when more mental health screenings and awareness are being pushed on us from deployments but then it’s so difficult to see someone.  The amount of time I’ve had to take off work and the long line of people I’ve had to re-describe my issues to so I could simply get an appointment to start really talking about what matters is appalling.  Why is it this hard when getting a referral for a heart of stomach doctor is a routine phone call?  Arg!!

So yeah, to end on a happy note (I’m trying to say at least one thing positive when I get on a negative rant), my lady is awesome and I’m super, super optimistic about our work together.  I’m hopeful that I can regain my sense of calm and control and put some sense to the tangled mess my insides feel like right now.

Madness

I picked up the book Madness by Marya Hornbacher recently.  I’ve been feeling horrible and isolated and was looking for something when a patron returned it and said it was one of the best books they’ve read in a long time.  It’s a memoir of a bipolar life, and I took it home to see if it did the subject of mental illness justice.

I’ve read depression memoirs before, notably William Styron’s Darkness Visible, and was disappointed.  I always searched for the words I couldn’t put to my own feelings.  I guess I thought professional authors or at least someone who wrote well enough to get published could articulate the struggle better than myself.  I was wrong.  It’s never the right words unless they’re yours.  Anyway, I was willing to give Madness a try.

I’ve only just started, but I’m impressed and honestly a little scared by the book.  The book is good.  Really good.  So good that the feelings Hornbacher describes feel a bit too real.  I feel like my current lowness is feeding off the emotions in the book, and I’m not sure that’s so good right now.  There’s a few songs that I used the last time through this, and I still can’t listen to them without being sent back to the bottom of the pit.  This book might hit too close to home like that.

I don’t know if people who haven’t been through this fully grasp that we don’t know.  We don’t always know why we’re feeling this way or what will make us feel worse.  We don’t always understand what we need from others.  We’re hurting and we just want to feel better.  I get that from Madness, and I’m already getting the sense that she doesn’t have answers either.  I need to quit looking for them, I know, but I’m always surprised at how little I find comfort in knowing that others feel just as isolated inside themselves as I do.

I know I’m not giving a very good image of the book right now, but I really am enjoying it.  My mood just isn’t cooperating right now.

Hot And Colds

The in-laws just left this morning, and the hubs and I are glued to the couch sick.  It’s been a busy week.

There’s been no air conditioning at work for over a week and a half, and the summer reading program for kids just started.  It’s like a race between me and three hundred kids to see who can get the crankiest the fastest.

I’ve been wrestling with TriCare on getting a referral for a therapist.  As always, the referral process is cumbersome and slow, but you know, I will be going to a person eventually.  A friend of mine pays out of pocket for her therapist, and I hate hearing her struggle with her mental health versus the cost of care.  It shouldn’t be a factor, and it makes me so thankful for my frustrating, stupid TriCare referral system.  I originally wanted to talk more about that now, but this cold is taking over.

DH surprised me by coming home a couple days early, which was lovely and unexpected.  I don’t know about you, but after a long absence when the phone calls start to drop off, I sometimes daydream that he can’t answer his phone because he’s on a plane coming to see me.  Now that he’s actually delivered once, my daydreams are going to go wild.  Speaking of absences, we got notice for the next deployment.  Boo.

Now back to my kleenex box.  At least there’s AC at home.

Potpourri Episode 1

I read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants recently, and I had to share.  I usually stay away from all celebrity books.  Just because they are famous for something doesn’t mean they can write or even have something interesting to say.  I don’t find how to deal with my “momager” or how to make my skin look great by eating only sprouts and cottage cheese useful information anyway.  Tina Fey’s book is none of those things.  It’s hilarious, and her writing experience really shines through.  I would put it on your summer reading list if you have time.

DH is gone on TDY (army lingo-temporary duty-away on business…catch up civies!).  It’s sleep diagonally and holding the remote time!

Oh, and with my newly acquired free time I’ve drug out an old project that I had barely gotten started on.  I’m making the picnic blouse from Sew Liberated.  I’ve put away the yarn and hook for awhile.  I’ve made three baby hats and a blanket and have two more hats to go for my coworker, but I wanted to capitalize on the empty dining room table while DH was gone.  I’m seriously thinking about getting some super nice (expensive) bamboo yarn and working on a big blanket.  I really enjoy keeping my hands busy while I watch tv in the evenings.  Maybe after I get done with the blouse.

I met an old friend from school for supper.  She’s down here for school before she gets stationed overseas.  We did our bachelor’s and master’s together, and she’s really cool.  She did her law degree and her master’s at the same time. I know…wha?!?

My annual vacation with Red got canceled this year due to a sudden babysitter cancellation.  We’re so bummed.  We currently have no plans to reschedule, but I’m looking at my summer plans to see if I can go visit her anyway.  It all depends on DH’s training schedule, which has yet to be nailed down more firmly than just “in and out all fall.”  Thanks.  In other Red news, she’s having baby #2!!

I found this super sweet  framed art of three lighthouse prints at the local thrift mall.  $15 and it’s already framed and matted to match my living room!  I looked up the artist (Doug Brega), and he’s very well known for doing coastline prints of New England.  I got these prints for a steal compared to what galleries were selling them for.  He has one in fog that looked great too and is going on the wish list.

So that’s what’ I’ve been up to.  I’ve had a hiccup the last week or two and have been feeling really low.  I’m not exactly sure what triggered it, but it’s been really significant and worrying.  We’re trying to keep tabs on it, but we’re also considering therapy again.  If I have time while DH is gone, maybe I can delve into that further.  We’ll see.

When Good Friends Go Bad

I have a handful of super close friends who are like family to me.  I’ll drop anything to help them when they need something.  I feel like everyone deserves at least one person like that, and I know of no better way to show people I really care about how I feel about them.  My problem is that I have friends with extremely dramatic lives.  They are always having emergencies.  They are always in the middle of a crisis.

I love my friends dearly, but I’m getting tired of jumping to the rescue all the time because that’s exactly what it’s getting to.  As soon as one gets things straight, another’s life falls to pieces.  I don’t doubt that they would do the same for me, but I just don’t have emergencies quite like they do.

I worked very hard in therapy to gain ownership of my own self, which sounds weird, I know.  Long story short, I did everything with everyone in mind but me to the point that I couldn’t determine what I really liked, wanted, or needed.  I had to relearn to how to say no, how to listen to my own likes, and to assert myself so I could voice opinions and enjoy myself around other people.  I had to take myself back from being at the whim of everyone else but me.  It was an agonizing process.  I’m worried that being so available for other people is getting back into that pattern.  Can I say no when things come up?  But who am I to choose which crises are most important to someone else?

I feel like I’m getting stretched past my comfort zone.  I want to pull back and spend my free time with my hubs, gardening, and crafting not rearranging my work schedule to spend my off time on the phone putting out fires.  I don’t know how to do that though.  Anyone know a nice way to say “I care but am not the help you’re looking for” while doing the force fingers besides inventing my own problems to occupy myself?

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