Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In Retrospect

Last week someone asked me if I had struggled with Post Partum Depression with Gage. It gave me pause, because at the time, I don't think I knew which way was up. At the time, I just knew I was merely surviving some days, and crying all days. At the time, I knew that I loved Gage and wanted to be the best mommy possible, but when I had a moment to myself, I felt like I might not get through to the next moment when he needed me.

I had read Heather Armstrong's very open blog about her deep struggle with PPD after her first daughter, and I knew I wasn't as bad off as she had been. I knew she had decided to check herself in for a weekend to the psychiatric ward at the hospital because she knew that's what was best for her family at the time. So, to keep it in perspective, I wasn't ready to seek professional help. But, maybe I could have benefitted from that.

I think my dark moments were more often than I wanted to admit. I believe so strongly that God delivers us from all our demons. I also believe that there are people who may need prescriptions to balance chemical deficiencies. For me, I have had about 4 seasons of emotional depression over the last 10 to 15 years. These were times as a teenager, and young adult/college student that I was dealing with things that mentally overwhelmed me for specific periods of time. It may have been a couple of months, it may have lasted longer. Some times it was just a few bad days, and I was fortunate enough to pull out of it.

I attribute these times to being extremely emotionally sensitive. Not that I easily get my feeings hurt, but that I've always been in very close touch with my emotions and have always been able to share them easily and fairly eloquently. I'm an open book most of the time, and I can rarely hold my tongue when it comes to sharing how I feel. (Curtis refers to this as me being opinionated sometimes. :oP)

Anyway, I was just a mess of emotion and hormones, as all women are after giving birth. I think to myself, we go through 9 months of carrying a child, give birth to them in a matter of hours, and then have to take care of that newborn immediately after. There are not a long of things that are as physically demanding as childbirth. Not to mention the hormone levels that slowly built for 9 months all come crashing down in about 3 days. So, you've done something physically exhausting, you're overwhelmed with love for this new child in your arms, and then you get home and all hell breaks lose.

We had a rough first night home because Gage had his circumcision that morning. I technically only stayed one night in Recovery because I had him so late Tuesday night that I was moved to a recovery room around 3am Wednesday morning. I stayed Wednesday night again, and by Thursday, I just wanted to go home! I had been at the hospital since Monday around lunch time. That night, Gage didn't sleep. His little package hurt, and I had no idea what to do. Curtis could only suggest keeping his diaper dry at all times because it probably stings to have a wet diaper on his surgery. I just wanted to get back in the car and go to the hospital and ask for help! Looking back, I should've stayed another night. But, how was I suppose to know? The nights did get better, and thankfully, newborns sleep whenever and where ever. So, I did my best to sleep when he did.

But, it was the times when I left the apartment alone to run to Walmart, or where ever for a few brief moments that the darkness hit me. I would think, "if I drove my car off a bridge right now, everyone would be ok. I have life insurance to pay for Gage's college, and Curtis would have a lot of help from our families to raise Gage." I could make it make sense to give myself a break. Being so exhausted drove me to think crazier things than I would ever dream of in my normal wakefulness. I resented everything for a while.

And, then, one day, it was like the fog left. About 14 weeks after I had Gage, life made sense again. It was almost immediate. I don't know if it was Curtis's prayers for me. I know he didn't know what was wrong, but that I wasn't happy. I know he did what he knew to do: pray for me. I don't know if it was just that my body and mind finally came together back to my normal self. There were a few factors that I've mentioned before that made things worse for me during an already difficult time. People who I've never even met trashing my peace of mind. A lack of preparedness for the emotional roller coaster. A husband who didn't understand what I was going through, because I didn't know what I was going through. That falls under not being prepared. Again, how could I have known?

But, that's how it was before. And, I know that looking back, I could've asked for more help. Shared my struggles with my doctor. I don't know how close to the edge I came, but I am so thankful to be back from it. Hind sight is 20/20, and I don't think that I knew how hard of a time I was having, or that maybe I could've used support in a different way. All I know, is that by the grace of God, and with Curtis doing everything he could during a time that was incredibly hard for him as well, we made it.

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with my sister in law and a friend who is expecting her first child. We were joking about our kids, and my sister who has three teenagers at her house said "kids are great until they're about fifteen". And, I added "and they're great after about the first 15 weeks!"

Bottom line, in retrospect, yes, I think I did struggle with some Post Partum Depression. And, going forward, I will make some different choices and plans for the next time I have a baby.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

3 Days

We have been at home for 3 days. I mean relatively at home. But, 3 days in a row is unusual, and has thrown off the schedule and routine. More, it's thrown me off my routine with just me and Gage. But, it's been SO NICE to share Gage's needs with Curtis all day. So, I don't have to rush in the shower, I can cook a more elaborate dinner, I can go grocery shopping ALONE. I might be getting spoiled. But, also keep in mind, I missed Gage so much on Monday, and we haven't really had any Mommy & Me time alone this week. That kid is awesome. He's such a blessing and a joy. He loves to roll around the floor and giggle at the dogs.

Truck update: they called us at 7:45 this morning when the owner got there and saw Curtis's truck in the parking lot. Yeah, BECAUSE WE HAD TO HAVE IT TOWED, YOU JERKS. Surprise! You didn't fix it. Cool. We are already regretting that we took it to them, because we could have paid $400 more locally, and had it done in ONE DAY. 3 missed days of work, and probably tomorrow as well. Nothing like an unpaid vacation to annoy you. Thank the Lord that He always provides for our needs. One way or another. And, I won't go off about the truck thing until it's complete. THEN, I will smear their good name in this blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Contains Explicit Lyrics

Oh good Lord! Where to start? Um, how about with a weekend worrying about Curtis's transmission needing replaced. And, so on Monday we were calling around to find a place to take it to have it fixed. And by fixed, I mean a completely new transmission, or at least the rebuilding of one. So, he takes it to Greenville to have it worked on. They quoted us about $400 less than local places, so it was worth the drive. Plus, it's right around the corner from my in-laws.

Anyway, he drops it off Monday afternoon, and they say they hope to have it done by Wednesday morning. So, at least one full day and probably half a day of missed work. And, then we call this morning and are told "call us after 1 and we will see where we are at. hopefully it will be done by the end of the day). So, around noon we head out to my in-laws to hang out and hope it's done soon.

At 1:30 they say they're putting it back in, and will call us when they're done. We call back at 4. It's not ready. "Call back around 5:15" they say. We call, and they finally say it's ready. That makes two full days of missed work. So, we pack up, get in the car, and go pay for the repairs. Curtis stops to get gas, and then we get on the highway at nearly 6 o'clock.

Let me remind you that we are toting our five month old son along. He slept on the way there, and he tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but it just didn't happen. And, he cried the entire drive home. In Rowlett, I had to stop and get out with Gage at CVS to walk around and get a break from the crying. He was just sooo tired, and I know he missed being home. He's been away from home a lot lately. We walked around, and I had called Curtis and told him to go ahead and go home because it's been such a long day. Curtis had pulled over to wait for us, and when he tried to put his truck in gear, it wouldn't switch into any gear except for Reverse. Bastards!

So, then its already AFTER 7, and we have to call a tow truck to tow from Firewheel back to Greenville. The transmission place will be getting THAT bill. They're also not ansering any calls. Not even a place to leave a message. Which is probably good because Gage did not need to hear the things I wanted to say to them. ALSO: we were suppose to be going to dinner for our good friend Jason's birthday around the corner at 7, and we totally had to miss it. And, we felt like shitheads. And, I have no intention of cooking dinner, so beers it is! Add a lime for a fruit serving!

Gage went to bed at 8. Poor kid. He was just happy to be home with his Exersaucer and some cartoons while he had his bottle. Too bad I finished that bottle of wine on Monday. Note, tomorrow is another day of missed work, and Curtis and I haven't spent time much time together in a while. Please bring me a beer. Ok, I haven't even had one beer. Blogging is my cheap relaxation. Which shows how horrible Monday was that I had TWO glases of wine and half a beer before 9pm.

My eye is starting to twitch. I think I am going to eat some cereal or maybe some ramen noodles and stare into space while I try and forget today.

Tomorrow, we go back to Greenville to get the damn truck. And the $150 we paid for towing. Mother Truckers!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

First Day Back as a Working Girl

First of all, yes, I know that sounds like I am working on a street corner. Second of all, if I was boring, even LESS than the 3 people who read this would take the time to read it.

I am sitting here, anxiously waiting for Miranda to bring Gage to me. She offered to bring him home from her house, since I worked AN HOUR AND A HALF after I planned.
Thank the Lord Gage was with her, instead of some uncaring, unfeeling daycare who would charge me for picking him up past the scheduled time. Curtis was busy getting his truck to Greenville to have the transmission replaced. Yes, the transmission. Let me remind you, he had the rear end axle replaced last month. Well, the end of March.

(fast forward 3 hours later)
My mom just called to see how my first day at work went. My response: "Let me preface this conversation by saying that I've already had two glasses of wine." She said "That bad, huh?"
(and I am working on my first Corona now that Gage is asleep)
Hell yes, it was not great. I got up at 6am, Gage slept til 7am. So, I had time to get ready and all that. Then I put him in his Exersaucer with cartoons on Nick Jr. for 30 minutes until he was ready for a bottle, and we left at 7:45 to head to Miranda's to drop off my precious baby. I love that she is watching him. I don't love that it takes me an hour to get him to Miranda's and then to work.

Today, I get to work on time. I know that I am going to ride with one of the drivers today so that I can get a feel for what they really need to know when I take a call from a customer. It wasn't bad, riding with Driver. He was my dad's age, a Christian. Very helpful with teaching me. I learned the Nextel, and I even picked up and delivered some packages. So, I was a true life Courier today. I remember around 1:50, when we had just dropped a package in Grand Prairie, that my work day wouldn't end at 2pm today. And, by 2:15 I want to cry because it's not going how I expected, and I miss Gage like crazy.

I get off work at 3:30pm, see Gage around 4:30pm, and then immediately go to get Curtis's birthday cake (a few days late b/c it requires some handiwork). We fight traffic from Addison to Plano while Gage complains from his car seat. And, then we get home, get a bottle, and head back out to Walmart to get diapers and formula.

(Two Days Later...)
The wine slowed me down too much to finish writing Monday night, and then Tuesday evening our internet was being crazy. So, I am FINALLY BLOGGING about it.

Well, it's 9:20 in the morning on Wednesday, and I am NOT at work. Monday evening, I was doing a lot of wine induced thinking, and I decided that the sacrifice of not seeing Gage all day, even though it's a part time job was too much. An hour in the car each day with him is wasted. He LOVES his aunt Miranda. That boy is such a traitor. :) He was completely happy with being with her, and I loved that he was with someone that I love too. I can't explain the feeling of knowing you left your child with someone who will take better care of him than you do. I always feel that way when we drop him off with family members. But, I missed that baby.

Work went like this: I get there, they give me a uniform polo shirt to wear while I ride along with Driver. He has an old white van - it helps him make better money because he can carry heavier, bigger cargo. We go to Addison, Dallas, Arlington, Grand Prairie, and then he drops me off at the office on his way to McKinney. That job sucks!

Now, I am suppose to be learning this stuff so I can work in the office. But, I can't get past the lack of communication about how long my day might be that first day, and the fact that I miss Gage like CRAZY!!! So, I decide after one day, that I can't and won't do this.

I thought I needed a break from the baby, but it made me realize that I don't. Not like that. Miranda is going to watch him now and then to give me a break. Just like any awesome sister in law would do - (my other local sister in law takes her turns happily!) and I am blessed. If I had gone back to work around the 3 month mark, when I was so emotionally drained and starting to feel resentful about being home, then I bet I would never have known what it's like to miss Gage like I did. And, his adorable giggles and squeals of delight would have gone mostly unseen by me. I would have unknowingly robbed myself of what I have discovered to be one of the biggest blessings in life. Now, if you're not able to stay home with your babies, I am not saying you're a bad mother. I realize each day how truly blessed I am to be at home.

I also have to share this story. Yesterday, I took Gage to Miranda's house while we steam cleaned our carpets. He's been all over the place lately, and we want to make sure when rolls off the play mat and he puts his face on the carpet, it's as clean as it can be. Well, when I went to pick him up, there was a rogue chicken running around in their front yard (they don't live in the city limits). Her daughter threw out some corn chips and it came over. I crouched down with Gage so he could watch the chicken, and after a couple of minutes, I started making chicken sounds in his ear. He LAUGHED HYSTERICALLY. The hardest I have ever seen or heard. I called Curtis so he could hear over the phone. I love that kid.

Working for just one day made me appreciate what I have. And, I am secretly glad I christened the ladies room before I left for the day. (sorry to those of you who like to pretend not everyone poops!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gage: Five Months Old

Dear Monkey Toes,
I cannot even believe that I am already writing your five month letter. You are totally a little person now. There are so many things you have done this month. Your capacity for development grows each month as you grow. You are ALL OVER THE PLACE now. I have started putting you down on the floor on a large blanket and let you roll around and kick and giggle. Oh, and you love it. You laugh so hard. You are so happy, and you're so independent too! You've found your voice in the past week of this month. You scream for the heck of it now. Today, in fact, I was rocking you to sleep for your early morning nap, and you squealed a terrible, ear piercing high pitched squeal and surprised yourself and me! It makes me laugh when you get crazy. And, you laugh at everything. You roll all over the floor, you giggle at the dogs, you chuckle at your dad, you appreciate my completely insane dancing and singing. You've tasted a few new things this month. You've tasted BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes, cinnamon roll icing, a chip, a pickle, a frency fry, a slurpee from QT, water, lime juice, and one bbq baked bean.
You have started blowing bubbles and making "zerberts" on my arm or face if you get your mouth closed around something. You grab our faces and give us slimey, open- mouthed kissies.
You have been going to Mother's Day Out since February. This past week was your last week there. Mommy is going back to work part time, and Aunt Miranda is going to watch you for a few hours each day. And, yes, we are paying her. No one should have to watch a kid not their own for free. Even if they're as awesome as you are. :) I don't know how it will all work out, but it's a trial run. I am planning on pushing back your bedtime a little bit (right now you've been going to bed at 7pm) to see if you will sleep in a bit in the morning so we can get out the door before you get tired and grumpy again. I am hoping to do this for a few months, and then maybe when they want to hire someone full time, I will leave there and go back to teaching classes at the gym. Your teachers were sad you were leaving school.
Tomorrow is my first real mother's day. You were in my tummy, still walnut sized, last mother's day. I did celebrate last year. Your dad got me some perfume and good stuff like that. But, this is the real deal. I will always be reminded that you've made me something I could never have been without you...a Mom. I am spending the day with you, and I can't believe how blessed I am to have you. You've changed my life and turned my world upside down. I see so many other women who want to be mommies, and they can't. How did I get so lucky? Because I know I will always fail you on occasion. I want to do what's best for you each and every day. I base my decisions on your meal and naptimes. I would rather go shopping for clothes and toys to make you smile than buy new shoes for myself. You've challenged my selfish nature and made me realize what's important in life. You filled up all the empty places I had left with your smile. I didn't think I could be happier and so much in love after I met your dad and got married to him. I didn't think any man would ever steal my heart again. But, you have increased my ability to love, to serve, and to give. I felt like my life was complete when I married your daddy. And, then you came along and showed us what we were missing. Now that you're here, we could never be the same. You made us parents, and you made us a family.
You've accomplished so much this month. You've accomplished more in 5 months than most people have in their whole lives. Because God took these two imperfect people and made them parents. A mommy and daddy for YOU.
I am so filled with delight to watch you learn and grow. You get really focused on something, and I can just see the wheels turning in your head as you figure out the world around you. You will furrow your little brow and concentrate hard at something new, and then smile. When you're laying on your tummy and you start to get mad because you're tired of it, you will pull your knees up under you, straighten one arm, and then topple over to your back. I think you're going to be crawling in the next couple of months. You're strong. And plenty of people have commented on it. It's not just my biased opinion. You were lifting your head as soon as you came out of my belly, so I think you were a step or two ahead on the physical development!
Gage, you're the best kid we could have ever hoped for. We love you so much. Happy Five Months of life!
Love, Mommy

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What You Don't Understand 'Til You Have Kids

OH, today was crazy. We had, I am not kidding, back to back phone calls for our business, when it's hardly been busy lately. I wonder if it's the new ad that hit Superpages.com this month, coupled with everyone getting their tax return. But, it was busy, busy. Hugely awesome too. I've been arranging things all day.

Anyway, add to this the fact that Gage missed his morning nap, and then a second run for an afternoon nap that was interrupted by a MORON who cannot follow directions, and knocked on the front door, when he was told not to knock, "the baby is sleeping". (run on sentence, yes? judge me not) So, Moron knocks, and dogs bark and baby wakes up. Thank you, Moron. No afternoon nap.

So, now Gage is taking a nap, yes a NAP AT 5:30PM because what else should I do? He's out of control tired. This kid who's been sleeping 3 extra hours in the day for naps lately, got NO NAP. I'd be pissed too. I reckon he sleeps until 6:30 or 7 and then I wrestle him down at 9pm for bed. Thrown off schedule, but sleep prevails. I would rather have a crazy schedule tonight than a cranky baby. Because Gage is the product of Curtis and myself. We are not nice when we're tired, we are hateful when we haven't eaten. Combo = insanely moody baby when he's tired AND hungry.

What I never realized is how sacred the naptime quietness is. No, I don't think you should keep complete silence when your kids are napping, but it's nice to not have the trash man picking up garbage from the curb, or the UPS man delivering packages to your front door during this time. And, guess what? YOU WILL NEVER BE QUIET ENOUGH FOR ME! I am the naptime Nazi. If you're loud, I will melt you with my laser stare. Or say unkind things in a loud whisper. And, I might forget the baby monitor is on, and say things I wouldn't say to your face when I go get the crying baby from his crib after you wake him up. And, I won't feel too bad about it.

A few other things:
-If I haven't had a chance to shower, but my kid is dressed and clean and fed and happy and ready to go to the store, I will be there shopping, with my unshaven legs and ponytail and an extra application of deoderant.
-If I have beer and diapers in my cart, don't assume a 12 pack of MGD is for me. At least I am not taking my Prozac with it. Besides, I only drink Corona with a lime, and my husband usually picks it up on a Friday night. :) (and, I don't really take Prozac, not to judge anyone who does take it, either!)
-I may need parenting advice, but I will be damn sure to ASK SOMEONE WHO'S OPINION I WANT when I do. Keep it to yourself. You aren't my kids mom, and everyone raises their kids differently.
-I am fiercely protective. I use to think moms who were crazy about their kids all the time were just that; Crazy. But, it's the Mama Bear in us. If I think anything or anyone is threatening my family in any way, I WILL go psycho on you.
-If I can't find my keys, and forget to pay the cell phone bill on its due date, then that's a good week for me. I've never been so "abentminded". It's really that when you become a parent, your mind is filled with your kids and their needs, and you may forget to shave your arm pits or brush your teeth every once in a while.
-Breakfast can be whatever it needs to be. For yourself, and for your kids. And, I will drink only coffee until dinner if I am too busy for lunch as well!
-My house will rarely be spotless if you "Drop by" (just don't knock on my door if the "baby is sleeping" sign is on it!). I care more about germs than clutter anyway.
-Don't judge a mom with happy children. My goal at the end of each day is simply that Gage is well taken care of, and my husband is happy. The end justifies the means.
-Don't forget the moms in your life. It's a hard job; it's the best job I've ever had. (Except for when 24 Hour Fitness PAID ME $23/hr to teach TurboKick. That job rocked too!)