Wednesday, June 17, 2009

back on the happy pills

It has become more and more apparent with each passing day--first to my family and now to me--that I am in need of something more than a helping hand and a good night's sleep.

This really sucks. I hate feeling like I am weak and can't pull through on my own. But it is back to an antidepressant. It's been a year and a half since I went off of the cymbalta and I've done really well. I feel like my anxiety level during the pregnancy was pretty reasonable, especially considering it being a subsequent pregnancy after a loss and a high-risk one at that. The way I've been feeling lately, though, is not reasonable.

I have no appetite and have a hard time choking down food when I do eat. I have insomnia and my mind just won't quiet. Usually I am one of the most patient and low-key people you'll ever know, lately I am irritated and pissed off by the littlest annoyance. And I am weepy and crying a lot. My thoughts go rapidly into a catastrophic range. I often have this overwhelming feeling like I want to run away--yet I love my life, my family, Mr. C and little Vincent, my home, etc.--so I wish that I could split myself into two people, which makes no sense. Fleeting feelings and thoughts of this nature could be explained by sleep deprivation, but this is something more.

So it's back to the little green pills. I may have mentioned before that there are a couple of people in my family (not to mention close friends) who rely on medications to live a happy life. Somehow, though, while I see the benefit of medications for others and hold absolutely no negative judgement, when it comes to me using them I feel like a failure. Maybe it's because I got through my last episode of anxiety and depression through not only the use of antidepressants (6 months) but also through meditation, energy work, healthy eating/exercise/sleep, and a spiritual path. Through these methods I have felt good for well over a year--so why don't I feel good now? I think I also feel like a failure because so many (most) women have babies and don't fall apart like this. I did take to heart the kind words in the comments a couple of posts ago, and I get it, I really do. I also get that while all of the "complementary" methods I use to manage my tendency toward anxiety and depression are effective, that the way I am feeling now (as Mr. C has pointed out to me) is neurological and biochemical. He says that all of the talk therapy, meditation, fish oil, etc. in the world won't do the trick when your brain and body chemistry are out of balance. Maybe in a couple of weeks (when the drugs have kicked in) I'll feel better about things. But right now I am sad and angry that I am back here again, I really hoped that I never would be.

Vincent is doing well. Thank you Hennifer, the prune juice works like a charm. We are still experimenting with just how much is neither too much nor too little, but all in all he is much more regular and happy for it. I made a chart to keep track of his natural rhythms (sleeping and eating) so I can see if there are any patterns and also so I can make adaptations to my expectations and whatnot. He was 10 weeks old last Saturday but from everything I read he is more in line with a six week old, which pretty much holds with his adjusted age. Until he is at least three months adjusted, or he shows me otherwise that he is ready, I will continue to follow his lead when it comes to sleeping and eating and not push too hard to impose a schedule. That being said, I am doing what I can to reinforce what I feel works best (for both of us). He is no longer constantly fussing and needing to be held or walked around. Now when he fusses or cries I can figure out what he needs without too much confusion and he is back to being a happy baby again before too long. He is smiling, cooing and sometimes attaching vowels and consonants. My mom got him an activity gym and he kicks and hits it and gets really excited. He also loves to lay in his changing pad and have me kiss his face and tummy. We go for walks almost every day in the sling with his head out so he can see everything that is going on. He prefers this to the stroller because he loves to watch the world around him and listen to all of the sounds.

And here is the part of the post where I am tempted to try and wrap this all up with a neat little bow somehow. A look on the bright side, a silver lining, something positive among all of the muck. I don't have it in me. I'm pissed off that I have all of the things in life that I ever prayed for, yet I am miserable.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I heart my mom

I just put the boy in his crib and I'll go to bed soon, too.

It has been wonderful having my mom here. Mr. C keeps teasing her that we aren't going to let her go home. She is in heaven, though, and is in no hurry to leave.

Thanks so much to those of you who have commented. Your support means so much to me and it really helps to read about what others have been through, your ideas and advice, and just to know that you care.

I'm tired, so I won't write more right now. But here are some pictures...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

what a difference a day makes

It occurred to me yesterday that sometimes my blog (and, I suspect I am not alone in this) resembles those beautifully crafted scrapbooks that some women are so passionate about. I heard a piece on NPR a long time ago that very cleverly and a bit cynically described one mom's foray into scrapbooking. She essentially said that the history she'd recorded was the glossed over version of the truth--that sometimes the story told on the pages could better be described as fiction.

Mostly I've held back this time because it has been pretty much impossible to write. But it is also hard to share my difficulties because I don't want to be insensitive. Who am I to share my woes when just a few short months ago I wondered if I'd ever parent a living child? And I also have to admit that I am embarrassed that it is this hard for me. That is not to say that I thought it would be easy, but I am just feeling so inadequate.

I am once again typing with one hand because he won't let me put him down. Things were good for a couple of days. But on Thursday we visited the doctor and the little guy had to have shots. He ended up with a fever and was fussy for the next two days. The doctor also recommended changing formula again (Vincent was getting a bit constipated on the formula that has rice starch in it). At first I thought he wasn't eating because he wasn't feeling well due to the shots. Mr C sent me over to Mothership's house to sleep in peace Saturday and by Sunday (after a good night's sleep for me) I thought things were really looking up. I thought my baby was no longer fussy, and was sleeping again, and not only was I going to get some sleep as well but my house was going to be clean once more, too. Then Sunday night I slept a mere 4 hours total. Yesterday he was crying and fussy and spitting up/throwing up and I could no longer blame the shots for his not feeling well. He still was only eating an ounce or two at a time, and fussing through feedings. So I went out and got the rice starch formula that had been working (despite the constipation) and I also picked up a can of the formula that is supposed to be gentle on the tummy, in case that was the problem. I tried the gentle formula first and he hated it. He devoured the rice starch formula--ate more than 6 ounces, and once I was able to get him to go to sleep he slept for 5 1/2 hours (which is a long time for him).

So last night I slept for only 4 hours (all in one stretch, which I guess was an improvement over the night before). Sleep deprivation has a way of casting a dark shadow over everything. Life looks bleak, and the anxiety is creeping in. To add insult to injury, this morning I could have pieced together a few more hours of sleep if it weren't for my racing mind and tense body (insomnia, I guess). He has been kind of fussy today, but it feels 10 times worse than it probably is.

Mr C is stressed out--Mothership is away and he is running the business alone and (among other things) the state licensor showed up last week for an inspection that wasn't due for another year. So he isn't as supportive, emotionally or otherwise, as I would hope. In the state I'm in right now this all just feels overwhelming to me and I find myself worrying about him intensely.

My mom is on her way over to stay a few days so I can get some sleep. I wish my dad could come, too, but he can't get away right now. I'm hoping Vincent will start doing better and that some good sleep will help me to get into the swing of this mommy thing. If not, then it may be that I might be experiencing some PPD. I really don't want to go down the medication road if I can help it.

Ugh. I really needed to get that all out. Thank goodness Vincent finally let me put him in the pocket sling. I discovered that he apparently will go in it if I keep his head and outside shoulder out. This means that only one hand is free, since I still have to support his head, but he has slept most of the time while I've typed this.

edited to add:
Damn it! It took me an hour and a half to type this--I could have been sleeping!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

some random thoughts...

It is amazing how slowly eight weeks can pass when you are pregnant and how quickly it can pass when you are not.

Before I drifted off to sleep last night it occurred to me that June 7th was William's due date.

While driving in the car the other day my sister accidentally called Vincent William. She asked me if I had done the same. I haven't. She said when they visited last that Mr. C did once or twice, but she didn't call attention to it.

Many other DeadBaby Mommas have said that their subsequent child(ren) look "just like" the one they lost (a couple have even used the term "carbon copy"). Vincent doesn't look at all like William. It wasn't until after he was born that I realized that I had expected him to. One of the first questions I asked (after it was clear that he was healthy and well) while they cleaned him up and took measurements and whatnot was if he had a dimple in his chin. I have a dimple in my chin and so does my father. William had a dimple in his chin. Vincent does not. He has a beautiful, tiny chin that is entirely his own.

On Thursday Vincent was two months old and my sister and her husband and I took him to see his doctor. Mr. C wasn't able to make it because work was too busy. The doctor couldn't get over how big he is getting (10 1/2 pounds and 23 inches!) and how much he looks like Mr. C. He said that all Vincent needs is a little beard and he would look exactly like his daddy. So now Mr. C wants to find a little fake beard for the next doctor appointment.

Putting away clothes that he has grown out of makes me sad somehow.

He prefers to be cradled in my arms, rather than held up with his head on my shoulder. He is getting so big, though, that he is starting to spill out of my arms. I'm not sure how long we can keep it up.

I tasted formula and it is terrible. How can it taste so bad? I tasted my breast milk and it was sweet. Just one more reason to be sad that breast feeding didn't work out.

Does anyone know an effective way to get rid of ear worms? I keep getting annoying songs--or, rather, parts of songs--stuck in my head. I think it is due to the sleep deprivation. I should start keeping track of what gets lodged there because I'm sure some day I will find it to be funny.

Speaking of funny, today Mr. C and I watched "Tropic Thunder." Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic.

Monday, June 1, 2009

all is well

After so long without posting I feel like that title is a must.

I've tried to write, and even now it is one-handed, but have been glued to this boy.

So many things might have been written/shared/saved for posterity. But, alas, all thoughts, feelings, etc. over the last few weeks are now lost or a blur.

For the first 4 weeks or so this was due to the round-the-clock feedings every two hours.

Then, he stopped sleeping during most of the day. He went from hardly crying at all, to needing to be held and rocked while awake. He started spitting up and throwing up a lot. After a visit to his doctor to make sure it wasn't something serious I started adding rice cereal to his bottles*. Since this requires a faster flow nipple he started taking in too much air, which lead to a lot of gas. And the rice cereal also caused constipation. Heck, I would be fussy, too. So I decided that the doctor wasn't right. I switched him to a different formula. Now, a week or so later, it seems like he is deciding to sleep more during the day and fuss less. At least that is what he has done for the last two days, which is why I am able to write. I am praying that we have turned a corner.

Since I have never taken care of an infant this is all new to me and I've had no idea what to expect or what is "normal." I realize that there is a wide range of behaviors that are still considered normal, but really I have no clue. He is putting on the weight, though, so I know I am doing something right. He was 5 lbs at one week old and now, at eight weeks he is over ten pounds! And then there is the whole preemie thing. Even though he wasn't super early, a month still throws off all of the developmental expectations. The doctor told me that we do need to adjust for the time until he is two years old. At some point it won't be significant, but at 8 weeks that is half of his age.

Ugh. This is all sounding pretty negative. He is beautiful and I am still in awe of him. I am just very sleep deprived. I've called in reinforcements, though. My sister and her husband will come and stay for a few days so I can get some sleep. Next week my parents are planning to come. After that Mothership will be back from France. And maybe, just maybe, over the course of the next few weeks he may start sleeping for longer stretches at night and be a little less needy during the day time.

*I didn't give up on breast feeding easily. I kept at it for a long time and even saw the lactation consultant again after my six week check up. And while I was able to get my supply going OK and he was able to get over his difficulties pretty much, too--it just wasn't enough. He was needing more than my body could give him. I kept pumping, though. until just a couple of days ago. This was a very difficult process for me emotionally. I had a vision of what it would be like with him, and breast feeding was very much a part of that vision. I shed a lot of tears about it. But I have to keep things in perspective.