Friday, July 13, 2007

Diagnosis: Depression

I was diagnosed with Post-Partum depression in February 2007. It has taken me until now to be able to talk about it. I've been writing (more like crafting) this post since April...carefully choosing my words....trying to properly describe what I've been dealing with. It's been difficult. I would write a couple of paragraphs, and then not touch it for a week. Then I would read what I had wrote, and scrap most of it...this has been going on for almost 4 months. I think this is as good as it's gonna get, folks....

Carlos and I were aware of the symptoms...we knew the signs to look for. We had discussed PPD and "baby blues" in our prenatal classes when we were expecting Zander. We were reminded of what to watch for by our doctor after each of our boys were born. But I was snuck up on me...on us...

I went through my days thinking that everything was okay. Until one day in January. Zander looked at me suddenly with an odd look on his face...and then started to laugh. What was he laughing at? I was sobbing...sobbing without realizing I was did I not know I was sobbing? And Zander, being 18 months old and not understanding what mommy was really doing, thought the whole thing was funny.

It was as if I was being rudely awakened by a splash of ice water. What was going on? What had been going on...for too long. I had a sudden clarity akin to an out-of-body experience. I was floating over my life...looking down on myself for the past few months. I didn't like what I was seeing.

I had been so deeply disappointed by the inability to breastfeed either of my sons. More so than I realized until now. Looking back, I cried. I cried daily. It would take the littlest thing to set me off...sometimes nothing. Feeding Logan a bottle. Zander resting his hand on my breast while I was carrying him upstairs for a nap. Seeing anything to do with babies, mothers, breastfeeding, anything on TV.

Sometimes I would be fine after shedding just a few tears. Sometimes it was almost impossible to stop.

I had so much guilt. Too much guilt. Guilt over everything to do with my sons. If one or both of them got sick, it wouldn't have happened if I had been able to breastfeed...why didn't I try harder? Why did I give up after only six months of torture and agony? A good mom would have kept trying. If Logan had a bad episode with his GERD, it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been premature. I must have done something to make my water break early. I shouldn't have lifted that box. I should have taken it easier. How could I do this to my child? How could I have put this awful disease on him? How could I have caused my son so much pain and agony...what kind of mother does that? If Zander fell while he was running around playing, I should have been there to catch him. I should have stopped him from getting hurt. I should have picked up all of the toys over and over again all day so that there was no chance he would trip on one of them. Sounds ridiculous now, but back then these thoughts seemed completely rational.

I would cry at the drop of a hat. When I saw a silly commercial. Whenever one or both of the boys would do something funny, silly, cute...I would just lose it. While I watched movies, whether they were sad, funny, scary...didn't matter. Whenever I saw a live musical performance of any kind on TV I would was so odd.

Libido? What is that? I won't get into any detail...'cause there aren't any to tell. Suffice it to say, my husband is an amazingly patient man.

My fatigue was almost debilitating at times. I could have sleep all day if I had been given the opportunity. I caught myself falling asleep while watching the boys during the day....I slept while they soon as Carlos got home I would take a nap. It just went on and on.

I started to have anxiety attacks when Logan was only a few months old. Every time Logan had an episode. Every time Zander would gag on the tiniest bit of texture in his food and throw up. Every time we had to leave the house. Every. time. I would transform into Mrs. Hyde. I had no control of what I was doing. It was like I was sitting in the corner of the room watching this crazy lady yelling, screaming, crying, slamming doors, throwing things, hyperventilating. And the worst part of all of this was that my boys were witness to this temporary insanity. That still upsets me.

I was so sensitive about everything that an innocent comment would be perceived as harsh criticism, or even a personal attack.

And even though all of this seemed like completely normal and rational behavior to me at the time, I was hiding it from my husband. It was as if a subconscious part of me new something was wrong but thought I could deal with it on my own. I was fully aware of how hurt and sad I could get when I thought of missing out on the joys of breastfeeding, of how easily I shed my tears...but I'll get over will get better day by day...there's no need to worry Carlos about this. He has enough on his plate already.

It was Zander's laughter at my sobs that woke me up. It was a slap on the face. My little boy thought it was funny that I was sobbing. My little boy had seen me sobbing often enough that it didn't scare was a normal occurrence.

That night I told Carlos all about what I was going through...what I had been going through for months. He was blindsided. I had been hiding it so well that he had no idea what was going on. He's never said as much, but I believe he feels he should have seen the signs...recognized I was in trouble. I don't think he understands how subconsciously determined I was to keep all of this from him...if he found out he will think I am a weak person and a bad mother....I could deal with this on my own.

The next day I called the doctor's office to make an appointment. Carlos took time off work to come with me while my mom watched the boys.

I sat in front of my doctor, as Carlos held my hand, and started to tell her what had been happening...and then the tears came. I couldn't hold them back...they flowed freely and fiercely as I described my worst moments from the last few months.

My doctor, who is so caring and friendly, smiled softly and said something that surprised me. "I've been expecting this. Women with babies who have health problems have a much higher risk of PPD...and you have two very high-needs children".

After much tearful discussion, my doctor prescribed me some medication. Within a few days I felt more like myself than I had in months. That first weekend was the first time I didn't have an anxiety attack while getting myself and the boys ready to have dinner with my in-laws. It was incredible. Carlos actually noticed the change before I did. I have felt so good ever since.

Unfortunately, with everything that's been going on with the sale of our current house and negotiations for the new house, with Zander's eating disorder, with Logan's teething, with my isolation from everyone (due to my allergies to....well....being outside in pretty much any weather, I can't go anywhere with the boys by myself, so I'm stuck here at home alone during the day. Logan's GERD turned us into a family of hermits who were scared to go anywhere, my family is 2.5 hours away and Carlos' family lives on the opposite side of the city.), I have felt myself starting to slip again. The anxiety is creeping back. The over-sensitivity is creeping back. That fatigue is here. This time, though, I realize I can't do this on my own. I have an appointment to talk to my doctor about a medication change.

I have to say, as hard as all of this has been, I can't imagine how much more difficult it could have been...would have been...had I not had my blog to vent all of my thoughts....had I not had so many wonderful many strong fellow-moms...lending their support, as well as sharing their own experiences, no matter how personal. I shudder to think how much more difficult this could have been...and I thank all of the amazing Blogland friends I have made. I can never tell you know much you have helped me during these past few months...

***I just noticed that I am finally publishing this...on Friday the 13th...which coincidentally has always been my lucky day....hopefully that's a good omen...

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

And Now For Some Comic Relief

After all of the doom and gloom posts of late, what with all the shit that's been going on here, I thought it was time for some much needed comic relief...and my son Zander was more than happy to oblige.

Allow me to set the scene. It was bath time last night. Carlos had already run the bath, and everything was ready. As usual, we brought both of the boys upstairs into Zander's room to strip them down for their bath. Zander was stripped down first. Then it was Logan's turn. That's when our noses were hit with something so foul...and that foulness was Logan's diaper.

Carlos: Aw, man! Logan! How can someone so cute smell so bad?

Logan: A ba da....pfpfpfpfpfpfp (I'm not sure how to translate this, but as far as I can tell it means something like "Ha! That's what you get for feeding me turkey stew for dinner, old man!")

Carlos: [cough] [weeze] [cough] Maybe we should put a diaper on Zander until Logan is read for the bath...??? [cough] This might take a while to clean up.....[choke]

Me: He should be you have to go pee?

Zander: No!

Me: Are you sure?

Zander: No pee pee....

Me: Do you want to go on the potty?

Zander: Pott'! No no pee pee poo....

Me: Okay....but tell mommy if you have to pee on the potty.

Carlos: I can hardly breathe...this is so nasty! Yak!

Me: Do you need help?

Carlos: No...I got it...

Me: Good...'cause I didn't really want to help you anyway! [smirk]

Carlos: Ummm.....honey? What's that sound?

Me: (I turn around to find the source of said sound) Why that's your son pissing into the heating vent, dear!

Zander: Pee! Pee! A (meaning "I") pee pee!

Me: Yes, peed...all over the floor and in the vent...

Zander: A wet!

Me: Yes,'re wet...and so is the floor....and the heating ducts....

Carlos: Here's a receiving blanket...use this....(he throws it over to me)

I start wiping it up....

Zander: (he takes a step back to watch me clean up his mess....and starts to pee again) Pee pee!

Me: (laughing hysterically) Yes,'re peeing....

Zander: (nodding in agreement) A PEE!

We all had a good laugh. We needed that...

I am so thankful that there are wood floors in his room, and that a warm bath was waiting for them just a few feet down the hallway!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

At Least My Thumb Is Still Firmly Attached

It seems that a few of my bloggy friends are concerned about the state of my thumb. I am glad to report that it is still firmly attached to my hand, and has returned to it's natural shade of pink. Thank you so much for your concern and well wishes...

I wish I had more good news...unfortunately this is where the story goes know...the direction shit the shit that has been the past few days....the shit that has kept me from posting an update on my thumb so people wouldn't worry needlessly...

Today was not a good one. Zander's mealtime struggles have gotten worse. I guess I jinxed myself by talking about his one good meal. So maybe writing of how bad it has gotten will jinx me in reverse....????

With each meal, Zander's intake has decreased. Today he had 2 ounces of toddler supplemental formula for dinner...that's solids whatsoever. Meanwhile his 13-months-his-junior little brother happily savoured jarred turkey stew, complete with peas and little bits of potato and carrots, jarred bananas and graham crackers dessert and a few mandarin slices cut into little bits.

My heart swells with pride as I praise one son for trying new textures...for thriving in a way we never expected when he was born so prematurely....and that same heart breaks for my other son as he struggles with each meal...unable to find joy in eating...screaming as if we are punishing him by trying to feed him...wasting away before our eyes...

I'm being pulled in two completely opposite emotional directions. I feel like I'm being torn in half...right down the middle.

But least my thumb is still firmly attached....

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Umm...I Don't Think My Thumb Is Supposed To Be Purple...

When I woke up this morning my thumb was a big swollen purple throbbing digit of fiery pain. It's killing me. It's so swollen that I can't bend it, and if I try I feel like my skin is going to split open and spew forth all kinds of thumb-stuffing....pretty picture, ain't it?

We are worried that it's some type of nasty infection, since I have a small cut at the end of my thumb....hopefully I didn't get B.I.N primer in my blood stream....I don't think that would be as fun as my fume-high.

I can't go to the ER because the wait would be at least 12 hours. And Carlos is gone in a rented van to bring boxes to storage....and as much as I love my MIL (who is here right now to help me), she can't deal with the boys on her own for that long.

I can't go to any of the area walk-in clinics because half of them are closed and the other half have stopped taking patients for the day due to long wait times.

So I guess I will just sit here and wait for my thumb to fall off....

Oh...did I mention that it's the thumb on my right hand? And that I'm right handed? So on the last weekend we have before the house is officially on the market, I am completely useless. Isn't that the way it always goes? We actually have actually have a running joke about the bad luck my family has always had...and continues to have. One day I will tell you about the shit my parents have had to wade through over the years.

Well, I guess I should stop typing...especially since I shriek with pain every time I hit the space bar.

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Friday, July 6, 2007

Flying High

That's's after midnight, and I'm flying high....not because the Zander situation has suddenly and miraculously righted itself, although we have made progress.

He didn't have anything but a couple of spoonfuls of pureed fruit and some formula for lunch, but dinner was better. We put nothing pureed in front of him...just whole cooked veggies. There were green beans, peas & carrots, corn, and some steak. We put butter on all of the veggies since he really likes butter on his toast and likes salty things. And if it helps him gain a little weight, all the better. He played in it. He touched his food. He touched his food! This probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but for someone like Zander it's huge. His hands were greasy with melted butter, and he licked some of it off. He's never done this before. By the end of dinner he had eaten 3 pieces of green beans, part of a kernel of corn and fed himself a yogurt cup. Major progress!

But that's not why I'm flying. I'm flying because...well...I believe I'm high. You see, I am currently painting the nasty-ass 80's tile back splash in the kitchen. And of course since it's ceramic tile, it has to be primed before it is painted. Primed with something that will stick to a non-porous surface such as ceramic tile.

I'm using Zinsser B.I.N primer. It sticks to anything. Even glass. And I'm pretty sure it's laced with some sort of airborne LSD or PCP. I'm high as a kite. Perhaps the area I am working in is not ventilated well enough....maybe because my kitchen is so friggin' small and closed in!?!

Anyway, I'm starting to come down now...guess the ride is over. Too bad...I was starting to enjoy it....;-)

*** Stay tuned for before and after pics of my kitchen facelift. ***

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Occupational Therapists & Dietitians & Speech Language Pathologists! Oh my!

Throw a Psychologist and a Consulting Pediatrician into the mix, and that's about right. These are the people helping us with Zander's eating problem, which is now being referred to (by the aforementioned medical professionals) as an eating disorder. Wow...amazing how an 8-letter word can be so fucking scary.

Zander is now 26 months old...and the only fruits and veggies he eats are pureed to a smooth nothingness. He gags at the slightest bit of texture. He's scared to touch his food. He won't eat crackers unless they're wee little goldfish crackers (and he seems to have an interesting relationship with them). He won't eat cookies. He won't eat normal cereals, only infant pasty-nasty infant cereal. This kid is scared of ice cream!

He will eat small bits of pizza (pizza night is always happy and relaxing). He will eat some little bites of chicken if he's in a good mood. We can even get him to eat fish...if he's in a fishy kinda mood. Toast is a staple. French fries...bring 'em. Mind you, this progress was made over months and months of trying, trying and trying again....making sure we eat altogether at the table...letting him feed up his much puke....entirely too much puke...and being as patient as humanly possible. And all while dealing with a preemie with GERD. Overwhelming? You betcha!

Our physician referred us to a Consulting Pediatrician, who referred us to an Occupational Therapist at the Children's Hospital in Ottawa. The OT had us come in for a series of "information sessions" for parents of infants and toddlers with eating disorders. We attended the second session today.

Last weeks' session was an introduction of sorts. Today's session included a Speech Language Pathologist...'cause it's all linked ya know. Eating/chewing and speech use the same muscles in the mouth and tongue. If you aren't eating and strengthening those muscles, in all likelihood your speech development will be delayed. Great...

After the SLP had spoken to the group of parents (there are parents of 6 children in the group), we spoke with her privately about Zander's speech. You see....I had been worried about it. He said his first few words around 10 months....and then nothing. No new words. For months. Then he suddenly picked up where he left off, and his vocabulary began to grow. Slowly. But at around 22 months he gained mega-momentum....we're talking Mach 10 here. There were weeks where he would average 2 to 5 new words a day! He was word-crazy, and we were basking in his new found communication and conversational skills. But there was just one problem....

He only said/says the first syllable of multi-syllabic words. For instance, carpet is "car", pirate is "pi" or "pa", brother is "bruh", diaper is "di" get my drift. He has started to say complete words such as "bubble" and "daddy"....but that took a loooong time.

According to the SLP, this is not a normal pattern of speech development. Most toddlers will repeat a sound ("baba" for bottle), not just chop the end syllable(s) off of the word. She did indicate that he sounded like he was progressing from that stage and starting to catch up to his peers, but she has asked us to get our names on the waiting list for Speech Therapy. Goodie....

Oh...and there's one more thing. During the SLP's talk we learned that most toddlers' first words start with with "b", "p" or "m" and that the hard "c" sound or k sound is not usually developed until well after a year of age...yet Zander's first words were "cup", "cat" and "car". During our one-on-one with the SLP, she speculated that Zander may have suffered from reflux like his younger brother. Oh God....all those nights during his first 8 months when he screamed and screamed...and we, being first-time parents, thought it was teething....he may have been in pain from reflux...if we just had've known....he could have been on medication to spare him the pain....

Great....some more guilt for my big ol' mommy-guilt pile.

Before we left, we were instructed to stop spoon feeding Zander any of his pureed foods....if he doesn't feed himself, he doesn't eat. We are also not supposed to push him...if he doesn't want to eat, he just won't eat. And if he won't eat or throws up from gagging, we are supposed to act like it doesn't bother us and remain calm. And if he doesn't eat anything for dinner, we are supposed to send him to bed hungry because he has to be taught to understand and recognize his hunger. Wow...purposely starving your toddler....isn't that every mom's dream? (note my biting sarcasm...)

This is normally the part where I try to find the silver lining...the "it could be worse" spiel...and it could be worse. We have met the parents of a 2-year old little boy at our information sessions...he's never had solid food, he gags when he sees his parents eat, he gags when they are grocery shopping, he gags when he smells food....he's only on formula...and he has yet to say a word. So I know it could be worse...much worse.

But that doesn't help me tonight. Because tonight my beautiful 26-month old little boy ate a couple of pieces of macaroni and drank some toddler formula for dinner....that's all...nothing more. And I had to act like it didn't bother me, which it did. I had to remain calm...and I am so not calm.

There will be a Registered Dietitian at next weeks' session...and I'm scared. Seriously...I used to think I was a strong woman, but I'm not sure how much more I can take....

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

In My Absence

I have been away from the Blogosphere for a bit. Actually, I pretty much dropped of the bloggy scene all together. In order to get everyone caught up, here is a list of what has transpired during my absence:

My wonderful husband gave me 7 days of every day for a week. Talk about earning points!

Logan popped out a tooth on top, and has three more coming through at the same time. They will probably all be out within a week...poor little guy!

Zander got a haircut...his second one...

My mother came by train to stay with us
again to watch the kids so that we could actually get some work done on the house.

Logan got the mother of all fat lips
(his first one...what a milestone...) when he tried to climb over a jumbo pack of paper towels...instead of making it safely over the plastic-wrapped pack of 6 jumbo rolls of paper towels, he slammed his face into the wood floor...not good...

This is how his lip looked right after it happened.
The next day, it looked like he'd had collagen injections overnight, and was wearing lipstick!

The following day Zander decided he wanted a fat lip like his little brother, so he got himself one to match. Fortunately Zander heals much quicker than Logan, 'cause it was a doozy!

We went to a parent group (the first of 5 sessions) at CHEO, the local children's hospital, for Zander's eating "disorder"...scary, but nice to know we aren't the only ones with a 2 year old who is still on formula and pureed fruits and vegetables...more on that later...

Logan stood without holding onto anything for support for the first time.

My dad came to visit and to pick up my mom.

Zander counted from 1 to 10 for the first time. He counted the bolts that came out of a spare bed that Carlos and my dad took apart.

Logan climbed the stairs all the way to the second floor for the first time...he kept looking back at us with a big grin as if to say "Look mom...I'm doing it!"...too cute!

My mom and dad went home with a shit-load of stuff that we purged and gave to them and/or my brother and his wife....our house seems a little less cluttered now.

My in-laws came over to help us with the jungle backyard...looks fantastic!

My parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on July 1st, which is Canada Day! (Happy anniversary mom and dad!) When I was little, my dad used to tell my brother and I that the fireworks were for their anniversary. And we were so convinced! Man, was I embarrassed when one of my little friends told me the truth...I was teased relentlessly...thanks a lot, dad...ya big joker!

Logan was finally moved from our bedroom to his very own bedroom....and he sleeps better in there than he ever did in our room (except when he slept in bed with us). Woohoo! Mommy and daddy have their room back!

I think that's it. If I think of anything else, I'll let ya know!

It's good to be back! Now that I've caught up on my own blog...I have to catch up on your blogs...hopefully it will only take a couple of weeks to catch up! ;-)

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