Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Doctor's Appointment

After a ton of bloodwork, I was diagnosed with low thyroid and low vitamin D. I'm on medication now for both. I go back in a month for more testing to see how the thyroid meds are working, so here's hoping things will straighten out. I'm a little perturbed because I asked about thyroid several years ago (reading one of those posters in the doctor's office with symptoms), and was told not to worry about it. I don't have arthritis, so that's good (he was suspecting that as a possible cause for the joint pain and asleep feeling in my hands and feet at times). I'm not sure if the thyroid could be causing all the soreness and stiffness as well, but we'll see. Part of it could be that the sudden drop in activity is doing it, since I haven't had the energy to exercise much lately. Hopefully I'll get back to running again soon, or at least walking longer distances, and see if that helps.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Growing Up Fast

That pic looks about like our room at around 7am this morning - baby wide awake and ready to play and be up for the day, and mommy and daddy wanting to get some more sleep. Of course, we all got up then, and he feel back asleep about the time we were both up, showered, dressed, and wide awake.

Robbie (the baby) is growing up so fast! He got his first tooth about a week ago, and has 3 teeth showing already, and a few more just under the gums (the first tooth was the bottom front, and the next two were his upper canine teeth, so he looks like a little vampire baby). He's been handling it really well.

We also went to Once Upon a Child (it's a thrift store for babies - they have lots name brand clothes in good shape, really cheap), and got some winter clothes for Robbie - a bunch of pants & long sleeve shirts, some jackets, a couple sweaters and 3 pairs of shoes, all for around $100. He needed more cold weather clothes, and some nicer outfits for church, so I'm happy. We also bought him a little toy telephone, since he wants to play with ours (and shorted out my Blackberry by drooling on it), and a toy for Christmas. He looks so grown up in his shoes and khakis and all. :)

We also took Robbie trick or treating for the first time (pics to come, I need to upload them). We dressed him us as a jack-o-lantern, in a little sweatsuit with a face on it and a pumpkin leaf on the hood. We didn't want to have him out in too much in the cold, or drag him around while he was tired a& cranky, so we just went to two of the churches that were doing trunk or treat near the house. He seemed to enjoy it, and would smile and laugh every time someone put candy in his pumpkin, because he liked the noise it made dropping in there. We also took him to his grandparents' (my husband's mom & dad), so they could see him in his costume. I think my husband enjoyed it as much as the baby, because he loves Halloween.




Note:  I may not be posting or checking in a whole lot in the next month, because November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, and I am shooting for 2,000 words per day, just to leave myself a good margin of error. Between the writing and the baby, I don't know that I'll have much time left to blog.

I'm happy to have the chance to do this. I've been wanting to since I first heard of it, but it always seemed like I didn't have the time, between work and school. Now I have plenty of spare time, and the biggest challenge will be remember to write each time the baby takes a nap.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

And We Wonder Why So Many Children Suffer From Eating Disorders

I took my son with me to a family reunion this weekend. He's 6 months old, a very active, happy, an healthy baby, at 29 inches long and 20 lbs, 3 oz. His doctors say he's doing great, and he's growing just fine on mostly breastmilk, some formula, and a few ounces of pureed fruits & veggies, with a little bit of grains, most day.

Still, one of his great aunts thought it was totally appropriate to lecture us because we were feeding him avocado and bananas.  See, she had heard that they were "full of fat", and we shouldn't feed baby anything fattening because then he would grow up to be fat (like mom & [paternal] grandma were only implied). I told her that they were one of the healthiest foods for a child, that babies needed fat to grow, and milk and formula were both high in fat as well, and that it was really none of her business what I fed my son. I bit my tongue on most of the things that came to mind, but I wonder if she would have brought it up if I was thinner, or if my husband's family was all thin (this same woman has an 3 adult daughters - one who has been in an out of treatment for anorexia and related health problems, one who is "average size", and one who is a large woman herself, so I would think she'd know better either way - I assume they all were given approximately the same foods growing up).

I know some people think I may be overreacting, but this whole obsession with children, eating habits, and thinness has gotten beyond dangerous. 4 month olds are being denied health insurance because they are obese (even though BMI was not intended for children, or even as an individual measurement). We have parents abusing and starving their children, often to death, and at least two of these parents have come right out and said it was because they thought they were getting fat. Studies are showing that daycares and schools are also malnourishing children by providing meals with too little fat an calories to meet nutritional guidelines, in an effort to appear more healthy and reduce rates of obesity and overweight. The irony here is that kids who are put on diets or fail to receive adequate nourishment early in life never learn to feel and regulate their own hunger and fullness, and have trouble managing their weight and developing healthy eating habits as adults (the same thing happens to adult "yo-yo" dieters who learn to ignore their body's signals in order to stick to a specific eating plan or diet). Still, our society would rather follow Michelle Obama's plan to cut food stamps and promote fat-shaming among children, and dress our babies in clothing with the same messages that promote eating disorders in older children (see below), than to focus on real science and nutritional first and stop projecting our weighjt and body image issues onto young children.





Infant bodysuits from CafePress:

 Shirt on the right reads:

Club Anorexic
Where all the top models hang out
Rock till You Faint
Fully staffed medical facilities and restrooms




Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Random Moods, Even More Random Life

Just checking in. Things are pretty good right now, but way weird. I'm not having many symptoms of depression lately, or stereotypical anxiety, but things are definitely "off". I have been having really bad insomnia again, which sucks with a baby, because sleeping when I feel like crashing isn't really an option anymore, and certain anxiety symptoms like getting pissed off at the drop of a hate and not being able to deal with driving or concentrate on things for very long. Still, I am feeling decent overall - not sure if I'm getting used to being all out of sorts, or if it's just such an improvement over being all weird and mixed up, and depressed on top of it.

I've missed a few psych appointments, but will be making one in a week or two, when I can afford it, just to see what's going on and keep things in check (even semi-anxious on a regular basis is not really good, because I tend to start there, get worse, then crash and burn into a whole depressive phase again). I still think a lot of what's going on now has to do with issues with my husband (he's got some serious internet/porn addiction going on that he's really defensive over & is still emotionally abusive in some ways but not as bad as when I was pregnant), but I'm sort of stuck with him, so none of that is going to change any time soon. We really need couple's counseling or something, but he will not listen to anyone who says all of our and his problems are not my fault, and definitely won't help pay for it, so I don't see that working out.

Life otherwise is ok. We have a huge hole in our floor because our heatpump leaked, but at least that means we can put down some new flooring, which is badly needed. the hubby says he's going to fix it himself - we've waited 3 weeks on estimates and repairs and people are dragging their feet. I was going to do some "6 month out" pictures after the whole Discovery Channel show, but I'll wait until the floor is fixed. Right now, things looks cluttered again, because all of our bedroom and nursery furniture has been moved into the living rooms (we'll be reflooring a hallway, part of the bathroom, the nursery, and the spare bedroom). I'm still looking for some regular work to do from home or in the evenings, so I don't have to put the baby in daycare, but there's not much out there.

The baby is doing great. At 6 1/2 months old, he's crawling all over the place, pulling himself up and "cruising" along the edges of the couch, table and whatever else he can reach, and babbling up a storm. He's also eating solids now - mostly steamed and pureed fruits & veggies, but also some food off our plates mashed or chopped into tiny pieces. He's 20 pounds, so I'm really using the baby slings a lot now to help carry him. We're still co-sleeping, so he goes to sleep pretty well, but wakes up too early for my tastes (because I have to get up when he does, and there's no getting him back to sleep once he's up and ready to play in the morning). He's already got a stubborn streak when he wants to do or get something, but that's not surprising either, looking at who his parents are.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Similac Formula Recall

For those who haven't already heard, Similac is recalling about 5 million cans of powdered infant formula, due to contamination by beetles and beetle larvae.

They are saying there is no health risk, but also that babies drinking this formula may experience gastrointestinal upset and/or refusal to eat due to irritation from small insect parts in their digestive system, and that parents should call their pediatrician if these symptoms persist for more than a few days.

For now, the recall is confined to powdered formula only, and does not effect the liquid concentrates or liquid ready to drink formulas. (Odd how you have to shift to the more expensive products for a replacement, isn't it?). If you have Similac powder, you can go to http://similac.com/recall/lookup.aspx to see if it is included in the recall.


More information on specific details and return or reimbursement procedures is available from Abbott Labs (the manufacturer of Similac) at http://similac.com/recall/Default.aspx

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Checking In

I've been doing pretty well this month. I'm not blogging as much because I'm trying to limit my screen time, and spend more time playing with the baby now that he's getting more active, and still working on things around the house. The depression has backed way off for the most part, which is good. I'm still having some anxiety, but I can avoid many of the things that trigger it most of the time.

Physically, I'm still lacking energy a lot and waking up or staying sore most of the day about 3-4 days a week. I'm waiting until I catch up on bills and have the money to go back to the doctor for more tests to see what's going on, but I haven't been running or biking for a while. I walk some on the treadmill when I'm having a good day (that way I'm at home if I need to stop), but I'm still only doing 1/4-1/2 mile before I'm exhausted anymore. It's really frustrating. The weather's cooling off now, and I love this time of year, but it sucks not being able to take off and walk or hike now.

The baby's doing well. He's so close to crawling now. He'll scoot or crawl a few steps at a time, but he pushes up on his toes instead of his knees and it makes him fall down. We're getting ready to start him on solids, which should be interesting. I have a baby food mill and a steamer for steaming veggies, and just brought some produce. I'll be making brown rice and barley cereals, and possibly oats (all powdered in the extra coffee grinder), and pureeing avocado, banana, pear, apple, peas, squash, and sweet potato. I figure on making a couple weeks worth and freezing in ice cube trays, then it'll be ready when we need it. We got him a better sippy cup, too (handles and softer spout). He has one he's been playing with and drinking a little water, but I'm gonna start trying it with a little milk along with his food.

Around the house, I've got a big project to work on. Our heat pump was leaking water, and it's rotted the floor in the main hallway. I had the repair guy come and fix it, so that's done. I also ripped up all of the carpet in that area, to help the floor dry, Since this is a doublewide, there was linoleum underneath that, but we're leaving it down until my husband can replace the boards. The subfloor is rotten, so he'll be cutting that out and replacing it with new plywood. The good thing in all this is I have tiles we can put down, because the area leads to the bathroom I painted 6+ months ago and have been waiting for him to tile, and that floor may need a partial replacement as well. Since the carpet is out now, I'm going to spackle, prime, and paint the walls in the hallway, before he puts the floor down this weekend. (We're going room by room as we can and taking down the paneling strips then painting the walls, trying to make it look less like a trailer and more like a house inside. Once it's sanded and primed and everything the first time, it's easier repaint and change the colors later).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Stressed

Today is one of "those" days. I didn't get much sleep last night, and I woke up sore and edgy/shaky. My stress level started out high and got worse. Looking over my budget for the month did not help, because I'm behind and not sure when/how to catch back up. Of course, being tense means my back hurts now too, and I'm edging on getting a headache. I'm hoping that I'll be able to take a nap when my husband gets home, and see if that will help. I've been doing better, and am trying not to let this throw me off track.

In good news, I got my domperidone, so I'll be back to working on upping my milk supply. Since Robbie will be starting solids soon, I'm hoping to be able to wean him off formula and onto just solids and breastmilk. I'll have to get a new piece for my breastpump though, because the cat knocked a bunch of stuff off the table and my husband threw it all in the trash, apparently including one of the connectors that screws onto the bottle and connects to the pump tubing. (At least I'm guessing that's it, because it's gone, and he says he threw away some plastic things because he didn't know what they were).

I'm still working on stuff around the house. Same routine. I clean up my stuff, he replaces it with his stuff. I box up things to go to Goodwill, he goes through them and takes half of it back out. Wait I minute, I thought I'm the one  who's supposed to be a hoarder? At least he's talking about getting a storage building, so we can get some of the extra furniture out of the house. He will not let go of anything that ever belonged to a family member, and his family is the same, so they have multiple storage sheds on their property of old belongings, many of which have been ruined or crushed by being piled on top of eachother. This includes cars also - every car he's ever owned is rusting out in a field behind his parent's house.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just Checking In

I haven't had a whole lot to blog about lately, and have been trying to limit my computer time, so it's been a while. Overall, I'm feeling much better than a few weeks ago. I'm still dragging a lot physically, just tired and sore a lot, but I feel better mentally and am not as depressed. My doctor is thinking there's a possibility of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, since I've gotten like this for weeks and months at a time in the past, but there are more tests and things they are doing to see if it could be related to my thyroid or something else instead. I still thing a big part of it is just that I'm not getting enough rest.

I am still trying to find a balance between taking it easy and getting things done, but I'm getting frustrated a lot. I'll ask my husband to help by watching the baby for a few hours or taking boxes to Goodwill, and he either says he's too busy (busy often means watching television or looking at porn on the internet) or does it in a way that doesn't really give me a break (calling me to help every time the baby needs a diaper change or is hungry, even though he has bottles ready for that, or falling asleep while "watching him", which has already caused the baby to fall off the couch and hit his head once). There are things I can't do while holding the baby, so I am having to stay up most nights past midnight to clean, go through boxes, etc. We have several boxes waiting now that he told me he'd take to Goodwill a month ago - he went through them, took a bunch of stuff out that we had to keep (he yelled at me over a plastic coffee cup that hadn't been used in the 8+ years we've lived here, because a friend bought it for him at a truck stop), and then left them where he found them. I'll take them off next week, but it's a pain to load up the car with the baby, because I have to leave him alone in the house while I'm loading the car (I'm not leaving him in a hot car, or a still one with the engine running), and I don't like having him out of my sight and hearing. I'm trying to follow the FlyLady routines & do 15 minutes here or there, and catch up when the baby's asleep, but it can be hard, especially since 2/3 of the time baby falls asleep with me holding him and wakes up if ai move or put him down.

The baby is doing good though. He's teething, so he's more fussy than normal and wants to be held most of the time, but he's growing good. At his 4 month appointment, he was 18 pounds 2 oz, and 28 inches long. He's been rolling over for a while, and uses that to scoot all over the floor now. He loves being on his tummy, and is pushing up on hands and knees and hands and feet, but hasn't figured out how to move forward other than to scoot an inch or two sometimes. He smiles and laughs a lot, especially if you make faces or do something silly, and is babbling a whole lot too. We haven't started him on meals of solids yet, but are giving him tastes and he's doing good with that. He likes holding his spoon, and will put it in his mouth (then chew on and play with it), so I am letting him. He also kept trying to grab hold of our cups and glasses when we had drinks, and will sip from one if you just give him a little bit, so I'm letting him play with a sippy cup. We're going to get him a beginner sippy cup to try in the next week or two but, for now, I'm just giving him the chance to hold and explore new things.

My show was on Discovery Health a week or two ago, but I still haven't seen it (we don't have regular television, just Netflix & a DVD/video player). I'm waiting to get a DVD copy in the mail from the producers, and then I'll blog about that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Taking it Slow

The last couple weeks, I feel like I've been really laid back and not gotten much accomplished, but I think that's what I need. I was getting short on sleep again, and getting kinda loopy and irritable. I also ended up making myself sick, and have had little energy and been having headaches and low fever on and off for the last couple week (I had a minor sinus infection, but I think a lot of it was just being worn out on top of that).

So, I've pared things down to the bare minimum around here. I haven't been running, because I haven't had the energy at all and got sick to my stomach last time I tried. I have been walking some, mostly on the treadmill in case I need to lay down, but that's usually less than a mile before I start feeling like crud anymore. I'm also easing up on the house and decluttering/sorting things for now. I'm trying to get/keep a routine going for dishes, laundry, dusting vacuuming, and other things that have to be done, and then I'll work more sorting and tossing back into it. I have been planning out meals out and cooking at home more, so that means more cleaning, but less having to round up all the baby's stuff and go out when I haven't been up to it.

I'm feeling pretty good right now with the whole laid back thing. I'm getting the basics done, and just putting the rest on the back burner, because I think I was trying too much at once. The great thing is it's giving me much more time to play with the baby, so I can sit awhile and read to him more, or just lay on the floor with him for an hour or two while he scoots and rolls, and play with him or rearrange his toys within reach to keep him interested. If I'm tired, instead of staying up, I'll sometimes join him for an afternoon nap. I'm going to start adding things back in once I get over this creeping crud, but I think I'll do it one activity at a time, and try to make sure to leave time to relax each day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back

I ended up spending an extra week at my mom's with the baby, and have taken some time here at home to just chill and an not worry about blogging or anything else, but I'll try to get back into the swing of things this week.

I am doing a lot better with the depression, and feeling better overall. I have had some trouble with anxiety, but it's better than it was for the most part. I'm having problems with panic attacks and major anxiety with driving now (since I was in a bad wreck a while back, I've had this off and on), but most days I don't really have to drive anywhere, so it's manageable. Id would be nice to get out of the house more, but I'll work on that as it comes - besides, I'd probably go shopping anyway and that's the last thing I need to be doing.

I followed up with my doctor, and he did recommend going back on meds, but said that he thought I'd be ok without them if I felt like I would. The main issue is breastfeeding - my supply dropped some while I was away from home, because he was getting more bottles and nursing less than normal, but I'm still working on getting it back up, and don't want to cut it short because of medications. For now, I have a prescription for something I can take as needed, and then wait for it to get out of my system before I nurse (it's a low enough dose he said there shouldn't be any transfer to my milk, but I'd rather be extra safe).

I slacked off on the running and exercise for a while, so I probably won't do the tri I wanted to, but I'll do one in either winter or spring instead. It's been really hot and I haven't been sleeping much at night, so it's got my whole schedule mixed up and was making me feel like crud (blackouts again & dizziness, but was skimping on sleep and skipping meals, so no big surprise). I'm trying to get more rest now, and working on eating more normal again, so I'll work in more running & biking once I feel a little better. I also need to join a pool or fitness center to work on my swimming, but the only one with childcare around here is $50 a month (over twice per year what the rec center charges), and I hate to spend that if I end up not going because of the whole driving thing.

I'm still working on the house. For a while, I just didn't feel like I could handle anything, so nothing really got done. I went through the cabinets and got rid of a bunch of old extra dishes and coffee cups and got my dish cabinets organized. I probably need to go through the tupperware and stuff again and match everything up, but other than that and sorting the pantry (moving older stuff to the front & checking the dates), the kitchen is good to go. I have two more boxes of clothes to go to Goodwill, as well. I've been putting off going through the clothes I'd set aside to keep, but there's really too much of it, so I'll probably try to cut back to about half of it as well. Since I'm not working, I don't need all the business clothes I had, and I'm sure there are others who could use that kind of thing cheap. Besides, if I keep up the running and all, I'll probably be a few sizes smaller when I go back to work, and need new clothes anyway.

The baby's doing great. He's growing like a weed, sleeping through the night and into the morning, but staying awake most of the day. He's scooting around and rolling, so we really have to watch him now, and we took the mattress off the bed frame, because I was afraid he'd roll off in the morning (he'd already pushed the "bumper" pillow off once after my husband got up for work, so now that side's against the wall and there's no edge to roll off). He's teething, so he's been a little fussy at times, but the chamomile drops & amber teething necklace are working great. He's also learned to stick out his tongue, which is just funny.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Quick Note

After last week, I didn't want to disappear without letting people know I'm ok.

I will be gone from Wednesday through Sunday, so I probably won't be posting or checking my email until Monday (I may be on Twitter, because I'll have my phone with me).

I talked to my doctor. He recommended meds, but said it was up to me, so I decided to hold off for now.  I think I'll be alright as long as I prioritize getting enough sleep and taking care of myself. I see him again in a few weeks and, if things get bad again before then, I'll probably go on something. I'm still hesitant because I did pretty good on Prozac before, but Zoloft really messed me up when I tried it. We'd go with Prozac this time around, but I'm still skittish about taking anything.

I think just working on staying active and getting rest will help a lot, because the bad days seem to be when I'm going on 2-3 days with little or no sleep. It's just hard to get it, because it feels like night time is the only time I really have to myself anymore, and I don't want to "waste" it by sleeping.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Leveling Out

I don't know that I can say I'm "feeling better", but I'm way ahead of where I was most of this week. Wednesday was one of the worst days I've ever had, and it was pretty much all emotional and in my head type stuff. Nothing happened to cause or trigger anything that I'm aware of, I was just freaking out and not able to get back in control. Billy yelling at me when I was needing his help did sort of push me past my tipping point, but I was already pretty bad off that day so it's not like that was the only problem.

I've felt more level the past day or two. The first few hours on Wednesday night, I felt really numb. It's kind of surreal now, because I remember holding the gun and smelling powder and being pissed off that I missed, but not actually trying to shoot myself, or even how I got into that sort of space where I would so quickly. There's still a hole in the wall over the headboard, which Billy covered with duct tape for now, because it went through to the outside of the house. That's how I knew it wasn't just a really bad dream when I woke up on Thursday - it seemed so normal - the baby was crying to be changed and fed, and I was there alone. The only things that really seemed different were that my hearing is really bad in my left ear now and my right shoulder was really sore from the way I was holding the gun. I was a little pissed that he just went in to work without even checking on me, but the day went ok. Billy had called my psychiatrist the night before, and he had called back first thing in the morning, but on my house phone, which I hardly ever answer. I wasn't up for returning the message, and was feeling more stable once I checked the answering machine, so I didn't return the call. I'm still afraid of ending up back in the hospital with nobody to watch the baby. Billy offered/threatened to call my parents to come up and help, or to drive me to the hospital, but I didn't want either. I want him to show me he actually cares and will try to help, instead of just calling around to find the first person to pawn me off on.

I spent most of the day just taking it easy, because I felt like I couldn't push myself too hard or really do anything other than just make it through the day until I knew I could keep things under control. It actually turned out to be what I needed - I caught up on sleep, drank a bunch of water and tried to eat decent, and spent most of the day chilling in bed with the baby, letting him nap so I could do the same and playing with him or reading books while he was awake. I also finally made time for a run. I really wanted to get out of the house, but didn't want to handle all of the logistics of packing up the baby and stroller and driving to a trail, and driving in general seemed like a really bad idea at the time (I've been in 4 car wrecks while I was under major stress & having episodes like this, one where I totaled a car and was injured pretty seriously, so I try not to drive when I'm feeling extremely anxious or have been zoning out a lot) . Instead, I queued up some music I like and got on the treadmill. I ended up doing 4.5 miles, alternating walking with (very slow) running. It was further than I meant to go, or thought I could go, but it felt pretty good.

I continued taking it easy today, but did get a little bit of housework done and ran some errands with the hubby. I didn't run or anything, but I did some yoga and a short step aerobics tape with light hand weights. I am hoping if I can keep myself in shape that I can keep my mood up, and burn off some of the negative energy at the same time. I'll probably call my doctor back on Monday as well. I am NOT wanting to go back on meds, but have a feeling I may need to with all this going on. It just scares the crap out of me that I may have another really bad episode, and I feel like I can't rely on my husband to help out, at least as far as I'm concerned. I need to get it together fast, and I guess if it takes medication then it's better than the alternative.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

not a good week

i thought i was getting better last week, turns out not. got lost in a town i drive in all the time monday, about got in a wreck - ended up 2 cars wide on one-way street going the wrong way. not cool. driving phobia thing from wreck last year coming back w. major vengeance - supposed to go home visit parents next week, don't even want to be in car.

sorry typing is weird, thoughts are going way too fast to keep up with. trying to use paragraphs and spellcheck, at least. will probably end up editing or deleting this anyway.

called hubby to come home from work yesterday, he was pissed. was hearing/seeing stuff and scared to be alone with the baby. he was pissed, decided it'd be nice weather to mow instead of stay with us. after 5-6 hours, stuff started again. i was alone, got scared, really tense and afraid of hurting someone. i got hubby, told him to come in now, went to bedroom. he fed the baby, then came in and started cussing at me for it, walked out. i got his gun, tried to shoot myself, was shaking so bad i missed. now i can't hear out of my left ear & there's a hole in the wall and he's even more mad about that. i'm afraid to call anyone because there is nowhere to go. can't go in hospital because there's nobody to watch the baby. i'm alone again with him, just feel helpless. i want out, but he'll use this against me to take the baby even though he'd stick him in daycare or with a racist pothead friend all day. i have nowhere to go. no money or job, can't stay with family, too far to drive even if i could. can't handle driving right now

will update/fix when i can, just needed to vent. feel sick to my stomach. too much stress

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So Now I Have a "Prescription" to Run

I finally made it in to see my psychiatrist yesterday evening. No big surprise - I am having serious bouts of anxiety, as well as depression. We're not really using the postpartum label yet, because I dealt with both before getting pregnant, and it seems like it could just be one hell of a recurrence, coupled with baby and life-change stress.

We talked about meds, and I told him I really don't want to be on anything right now. Several of the ones he looked up were contraindicated for breastfeeding anyway, and I still worry about the "safe "ones because there are no real studies on how it will effect your kid's mental health later on (they know only "trace amounts" of some things come through the milk, but can't tell me if those are enough to make him more likely to have a mood disorder or need medication himself once he's older). He did try to tell me it'd be ok to stop breastfeeding now, and that most of the immune benefits were passed on by 3 months, but I told him I planned to continue until my son decided to wean. For now, we're holding off on meds, but he told me to call him if I have another really bad day or two, and he may call something in that I probably won't take anyway because I'll be too freaked out.

The  one thing he did tell me is that he wants me to be sure to exercise daily, especially while I'm off meds. He suggested walking, but I told him I found running more relaxing and it helps me deal with stress better. He said he's still emphasize walking but, if I was going to run anyway, to be careful not to push myself too hard or get too frustrated with setting/reaching goals right now (yes, this guy knows me). It is motivation to get my butt in gear, because I have been slacking off in the exercise department, because of the heat and the general lack of motivation and feeling like crap that goes along with the depression.  At least I feel a little better about asking the hubby to watch Robbie some now, so I can get a run in. I doubt it'll happen as much as it should, but I can tell him the doctor said to instead of trying to explain that I need to do it for me. It sucks that it takes invoking "medical authority" instead of just listening to what I say, but at least it may let me get out more.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 3 Months

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Post-Partum Depression Is More than A Bad F**king Day

Apparently there's this big conversation going on in the blogosphere about postpartum depression. A couple bloggers have taken it upon themselves to tell everyone else what PPD is, how we must feel, and why we should just man up and forget about it. Oh, and we should not post about any bad days because we might offend some special snowflake who thinks all women experience motherhood as sunshine and roses by implying that her "bad days" may not be quite as bad as those times you're thankful you can't drag your ass out of bed because you're debating harming yourself or your child if you had the energy too.

Of course, that's the problem with the internet. Too many people think they're experts on things they know nothing about, and love to tell those who are experiencing or living something that they don't really know what they're going through. I really feel sorry for the mothers who may read some of this debate, decide they should just "man up and deal with it", and fail. There are times that mind over matter doesn't work too well, and when your mind is what's broken, it's pretty hard for it to fix itself. It'd be one thing it this was some little petty issue, but ignoring PPD or failing to fix it in your own can just make you feel even more inadequate and even further depressed, and could feed the voices that say the best way out is to remove yourself or the baby from the picture. It's just another thing to add to the list of failures and "not good enoughs" that constantly run through your head.

Oh, we also don't need people with no fracking clue telling us how we must feel, or what must be wrong with us. I don't know what particular blend of ignorance and asshatery it took to come up with the theory that we feel like this because we don't have a bond with our babies, but the opposite is true for many of us. There are a lot of moments I'm reminded how much I love my son, and how sweet & wonderful & perfect he is, and then I feel sorry because he has such a screw-up for a mother. We're not sitting around saying "OMG, I hate my baby,". Yes, many of us our honest about frustration and needing a break at times, but even the worst of the scary thought are often because we are so attached and love them so damn much. It's not "oh, life would be so convenient if I drowned my kid, shot myself in the head, or ran away from everything". It's more like "I'm a horrible mother, and he deserves so much better, so maybe I should find a way to stop it all before I totally screw him up" - not all that hard to imagine when you're feeling both incompetent as a parent and human being and totally batshit insane at the same time.

It's also a whole lot more than just frustration and being overwhelmed with parenthood; it's pretty much everything in  life. For me, it's being sad and crying over nothing, constantly being edgy and pissed off over nothing, and having very few emotions in between. It's also about staying up unable to sleep even when there's a chance to, then fighting to stay awake even though you're nodding in and out because it's the middle of the day, you're home alone with the baby, and you're scared to death something bad will happen to him if you go to sleep (but also scared you'll be the "something bad" if you don't get some rest). It's about feeling guilty about everything, and totally inept, crying so hard you get dizzy because you're stuck in the bathroom and he's crying and you can't get to him. It's going days without a shower because you can't leave him long enough to take one and you don't have the energy or motivation to once your husband gets home, or passing out during the day because you're not eating at all. Not being able to concentrate or hold a conversation. Having problems breastfeeding because your body is not making enough milk while stressed out, sleep deprived, and underfed, yet resisting going on medications because you don't want to taint the small amount of milk you are able to feed your baby.

It's also about the "rest" of your life. Losing your job because you can't concentrate and cry all day long worrying about your child being out of your sight. Killing your relationship with your husband because you have no sex drive, are emotional and irritable all the time, and you feel like it's pissing him off when you need a break and ask him to hold the baby for more than an hour, but you can't tell him why because he'd have you committed himself if he knew half the shit that was going through your head. And that's the worst part - you keep it to yourself. You don't tell people because you're afraid of what they'll think, afraid you'll end up in a mental hospital, afraid you'll lose your kids. You can't even talk about it with other moms, because you're all trying to wear the perfectly happy mommy face and you don't want to be the one to break the facade. Apparently, you have to even watch where you blog about it. And all this time, it just keeps getting worse, you keep trying to pull yourself together and get over it on your own, and you find yourself slipping further into the darkness and hope you're not dragging the rest of your family with you

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Hair

I'm trying to grow my hair out long. These are the longest & shortest cuts I have pics of from the past couple years, and the top middle is the length now. I'll be so glad once I pass the weird in between stage.

Ups & Downs, Mostly Down

My emotions and energy levels are still really up and down. I had a couple days last week where I felt OK, and a few that were really bad. There was one day where the baby was crying and for over an hour it was like I couldn't move; I was sitting there crying because I felt so bad about it, but I couldn't get up and move about 10 feet to tend to him. Yesterday was also rough, but not quite as bad. I was tempted to ask my husband to come home early but I didn't and he ended up working 3 hours overtime instead. I had one really good day where I got up, did some stuff around the house, and even got out and ran, then everything crashed again and I just can't get my energy back.

I did finally call and make an appointment with my psychiatrist, but he's on vacation so it won't be until next week. I'm just trying to make it through until then, but I don't really have a support network at all. Getting out of the house would help some, but it's hard to do with the baby, and I'm having lots of anxiety about driving, so a lot of days it's not even possible. I feel like I'm failing at everything right now, because I'm getting nothing done, and having so much trouble concentrating or even keeping the energy to stay awake all day, much less work or get anything done around here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finding My Groove Again

I'm feeling much better today than I was last week, or even yesterday. It seems strange, because the only thing I've done different is to wake up early (and eat breakfast before noon, which may have helped, too). It's odd because I didn't get to bed until 2am, and woke up around 5 with the baby, but I decided to go ahead and get up once he fell asleep. If/when he takes an afternoon nap, I may lay down and snooze with him, but so far the early rising has helped me get a jump on things and seems to have helped my mood.

I'm up, dressed and showered, which is a rarity in itself anymore (I've been waiting until the evening when my husband got home on most days, and more than once either skipped it altogether or showered at bedtime). I almost stayed up all night again, but am kind of glad I made myself lay down around 2 when baby got settled, because I fell asleep pretty fast, and I've been needing some real rest. I just feel more hopeful today than I have in a long time, like maybe I can deal with things ("things" right now mostly being life in general).

I haven't seen my psychiatrist yet, but I will be seeing him next week. I would have done so this week, but I spent more than I planned at the grocery store, and won't have the money to cover my appointment until after Tuesday. That said, I know I need to go, but don't feel like it's as urgent now. If I can get decent rest and nutrition the rest of the week, I think it will help a lot with keeping me feeling better. I'm going to also try to get back on track with exercising and following my daily routines, because they both help a lot. I did a short run this morning, but didn't want to overdo it because I've been sore a lot lately. I may walk on the treadmill later too, because I have a book I want to read more of, and I can read and walk at the same time. I'm also going to hold off on going back to work until at least next week. I feel like I'm adding too much stress by pushing myself, and I need to get things under control here before I could work effectively. It'll also help to get back to a routine, because that will mean I can predict when Robbie will be more sleepy, hungry, etc and schedule my work day around that.

So far, I've swept the kitchen, done a quick clean in the bathrooms, washed pillows (linens are next), had breakfast & washed dishes, and ran. If I can keep up with this routine again, I'll feel better and not be as stressed about the house, and I can get back to decluttering and putting away some of the pre-pregnancy clothes I'd packed away. It should also help mentally, because one of the biggest problems is that I just get overwhelmed, even with everyday things, and having a daily plan and more order at home helps make everything more manageable. I feel like if I can get going with a routine again and stick to it for a while, then maybe I will be ready to go to work as well. Either way, it should just make life easier all around, and help me get back to enjoying it instead of just trudging through feeling like I'm 5 steps behind.

Wordle Wednesday

Wordle: MamaRants.com

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blog Against Bullying

This post is part of the "Blog Against Bullying" Blog Party, hosted by A Yummy Mummy on a Pink Park Bench.

My son is still a baby, so I haven't had to deal with bullying in his life yet, although that is one of the things that makes me glad we're planning to homeschool, and really hesitant to even put him in daycare or enrichment type classes.  I know that sooner or later, he'll probably run into bullying or teasing, and that I won't be able to keep it from happening, and that bothers me already.

I have been bullied at a few different times in my life. It wasn't very surprising as a kid, because I was always "different", and that tends to draw that type of thing. In preschool and the first few years of school, I was taller than most of the other kids, and my family didn't have much money, so I didn't have the "right" clothes or other things to help me fit in. As I got older, the clothes and money were still an issues, and I sucked at sports but excelled in academics, so I had the "nerd" label to go along with it. By high school, I was still sort of an outsider, but was involved with the sort of subcultures and things that caused people to avoid me more than to tease or bully, and had a good group of friends, so it was easier to ignore the jerks.

The thing that really caught me off guard was running into the same type of behavior among adults. I thought most people grew out of teasing and bullying behaviors after high school, but apparently they don't, and adulthood just raises the stakes. The "adult" I ran into started out by using the internet, so I figured he was just a typical "troll" picking fights online, but it quickly escalated when he began posting my personal information and calling my home phone number, and eventually calling my employer and spreading rumors about me to try to make me lose my job. This started several years ago, and I have still been "cyberstalked" by this individual every time I post on certain forums. I do know his real name, employer, etc, but haven't played the same cards on him, because I just think that's wrong, and am afraid he would do even more to target me if he realized I know who he is. I'm sure there are some ways to handle things like this, but I ended up just avoiding places, both online and in real life (some of our friends overlap & we have been invited to the same parties and events at times), because I have enough going on in my own life and don't want to deal with the added drama.

I guess I'm lucky in some ways, because I have seen adult bullying in person, in many ways that are more direct and even worse. The top one of these is the workplace bully, because the person can sabotage or even destroy your career, and you cannot avoid them. Another problem is that many bullies are almost sociopathic, and are great at lying and turning things around, so the victim who complains is sometimes labeled as a troublemaker or bully themselves when they report the problems. The same goes for family bullies - some adults are still bullied by spouses, parents, siblings, in-laws, or even adult children, but are afraid to stand up to the bully because they are afraid of other family members taking sides or blaming them for creating problems, or because they have been socialized to believe that they don't have a right to take up for themselves when mistreatment comes from "family".

I don't really have the answers to bullying, whether it comes from children or adults, but I think one of the biggest helps will be teaching victims that they don't have to put up with it, and that they always have the right to take up for themselves and confront or distance themselves from any bully. Just as most parents would know better than to force a child to keep making playdates with a bully who is mistreating their child, adults need to stop forcing themselves and others to tolerate abusive behavior (which is what "bullying" is) in the name or workplace or family harmony. By allowing ourselves as adults to be pushed around and ridiculed, we are teaching our children to expect that same behavior, making them easy targets for bullying because they will not stand up for themselves. In the worse cases, it can destroy a person's self esteem, leading to either suicide or a person with such low self-esteem that they find themself drawn to further bullying in the shape of an abusive spouse or partner and/or a workplace where bullying, threats, and coercion are the norm.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Struggling

I haven't been posting much because I just can't seem to get my body and mind in gear lately. I'm thinking a lot of it may be depression related, but my psychiatrist appointment is another one of those things I keep putting off, forgetting, or thinking I won't both with because nothing matters or will change things (and while I know that's not really true, it's how I keep thinking about things, and making it so easy to procrastinate and go back to trying to sleep through life).

I could sleep all day if it wasn't for having to feed and change the baby, and I've spent a couple days pretty much just chilling in bed with him, only waking up enough to do that. which is not fair to him because he's not getting played with and talked to like he needs when I'm like that. I still haven't gone back to work yet, and part of me is scared to - I'm worried how people will react since I've been go so long and now I'll be working with baby in tow, but I'm also afraid I'm not together enough to do my job and I really don't want to screw up where someone's house is concerned. I haven't done much decluttering either, so there's still a lot of housework I should be doing, but I'm finding myself getting sidetracked or giving up because even the little steps are seeming like too much.  I've slacked off on running and exercising too, because I just feel drained and am waking up with sore muscles and joints even when I've done nothing. In other things, I am/was close to giving up on both my marriage and life in general. I've thought so many times about leaving my husband, and sometimes walking away and leaving the baby too, because I'm afraid of hurting or neglecting him. I'm not sure if this is PPD or regular depression coming back, or if there's even a difference between the two, but I know I need to get up before 4 or 5, make a phone call, and get my butt to the shrink's office.

I'm sort of in limbo because I'm not having actual suicidal thoughts (ie, wanting or planning to do it), but I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I've had a lot of that over the past several months, even before the baby was born, and one of the biggest things that's kept me from dwelling on it is knowing that he needs me around, and that if  I wasn't in the picture he'd be in daycare all day or left with people I don't really want raising him, because my husband has to work. It is also one of the reasons I've been so stubborn about breastfeeding - that's something else I have to stick around to provide for him. On the other hand, I am so afraid of hurting him or passing some of my mental issues on, and sometimes I think he'd be better off without me.


I tried to talk to my husband about things some last week, but he just doesn't get it. The first time, I was having a real bad time with depressive feelings and had two panic attacks that day, and was just not functioning very well. I had to drive the baby to a doctor's appointment and was crying most've the drive, because I was so freaked out by having to drive (I was in a very bad car wreck last year that required surgery, and in a minor one right before I had the baby). I was tense because of all that, and told him I was going to wait before I drove home because there was a thunderstorm and I needed to calm down instead of trying to drive through it. He gets mad when I don't explain everything, or go along with what he wants when he wants, so he asked me why I was being "such a bitch" the last few days. I told him it was because I kept thinking about either killing myself or leaving, and he asked me if I had made up my mind yet, so he knew which sort of lawyer to call. I was already crying and shaking, and it took me about an hour before I could calm down enough to drive.

We avoided eachother most of that evening, which was probably for the best, then my sister called and we spent the weekend with her, so we had to act like things were OK and didn't really talk about much then. We did finally talk a little about our relationship and all of the things that were going on, but we have a lot more work to do if things are going to work out (some of the "issues" go back years). He came up with the idea to try to spend at least 30 minutes a day talking to eachother, away from the TV, computer, etc, and I think that will help if we stick to it. Now I just have to work on the other things in life too - work, the house, and the baby, but I feel like if he'll be more supportive instead of dragging me down and making me feel bad that it'll help a lot with the depression and anxiety in general, because 2/3 of my "triggers" anymore are from things he says or does.

I know I'm probably in not the best relationship right now, but things are good most of the time, so I want to make it work. We love eachother, and he's good with the baby. He wouldn't hurt me intentionally, and I think he's just now realizing that he has, and at first it made him angry with me for reacting that way, but now he's seeing that it's not my fault that I get upset or feel put down or threatened by certain things. He never really learned what a loving or respectful relationship is (his father is an alcoholic, a womanizer and was verbally/emotionally and physically abusive to him and his mother both), and I have some issues from my own past, so we're trying to recognize and work through them so we can have a decent relationship, and so we don't repeat the same mistakes with our son.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Like Father, Like Son

Hey, at least somebody's getting some sleep around here...

Photobucket

National Running Day

Thanks to Tricia at Endurance Isn't Only Physical for pointing out that today, June 2nd, is National Running Day. To find out more, or to find an event in your area, you can check out the website at runningday.org

If you've never run before, here are some Beginner's Tips for non-runners from the runningday.org site:

It’s easy to get started running. Here are some simple guidelines everyone can follow to safely and pleasurably develop their ability to run.

 

Relax. Running is a natural act, like breathing or walking. Just about anyone can do it. It is, however, recommended that you consult a health professional before undertaking a serious training program. You may wish to start by walking first, and then gradually incorporating running into your training program.

Think positively. Don’t be discouraged. If you can get through the first several weeks of training, you will find that what seems like a big effort at the start will soon feel natural and easy to you. Within a few weeks, you will experience the pure joy of running down the street or along a park path.

Buy quality gear. The only equipment you will need is comfortable exercise clothes and good running shoes. Go to a running specialty store and get advice about the right shoes for you. You can get good running shoes for $80-120.

Train with a plan. Choose a running/walking course that is readily accessible to you. During your first two training weeks, try to run two or three times per week, on alternate days. When you feel ready, increase to four days a week, then five days. The idea is to build up gradually. Even top competitive runners take days off regularly to rest and avoid injury. Stretch your muscles on both your running and non-running days.

It’s okay to walk. Begin your first workouts with 15 minutes of alternating walking and jogging: Walk for five minutes, then run easily for two or three minutes; repeat. If you are comfortable jogging from the start, that’s fine, but do not run the entire time even if you think you can. Don’t worry about the distance you cover. On your third or fourth workout, try increasing your time to 20 minutes. After three or four more workouts, move to 25 minutes, then after another three or four workouts, try a 30-minute continuous run. Don’t force yourself to go farther or faster than what feels comfortable to you. The idea is to keep running regularly, and you’re more likely to do that if you’re enjoying yourself and looking forward to your next run.

Run at “conversation” pace. If you can’t chat with your running companions, you are going too fast. If you are running alone, try singing to yourself, out loud, to make sure your effort and breathing are under control. If you can’t sing, slow down.

If your schedule allows, include cross training. Biking, elliptical training, and lifting light weights can help strengthen non-running muscles and prevent injury. Swimming and deep water running can also be helpful in balancing your training and avoiding injuries.

Aim for a race. Pick an event that’s at least six weeks in the future. An ideal distance for your first race would be 5K (3.1 miles) or four miles. This is short enough so that you can truly be ready for your first effort, and long enough to give you the sense of accomplishment that will fuel your future running. Your goal should be to finish, enjoy the event, and look ahead. Start at the back of the pack, hold yourself back at the start, and run within your comfort range. If your time was slow, that’s good—now you have a base from which to improve.

For your next race, try a few short speed workouts. After a mile warm-up, run a series of faster intervals with jogging in between. A good “starter” workout is a sequence of about 400 meters at a quicker pace, followed by a slow 400-meter jog, repeated six times. This will loosen up your legs, lengthen your stride, and give you the confidence you will need to race.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just Checking In

Sorry I've been so slack the last week y'all, it's been busy and my motivation to do anything was just gone.

I had two weekends in a row of real estate classes, but those are finally done and I'll never have to take any post-licensing again {still have the yearly updates, but those are just one day things). I was already not too happy about those, because they tend to be long and boring, and it was the first time I'd left the baby at all. My husband was home to watch him, and they did good, but I still missed him because I was gone about 10 hours at a time. DH also thought he had to work last Friday and wanted to leave the baby at a friend's house, but that was just not happening (I still think he's a little young to be left with someone else, but either way I don't think it's a good idea for his first time away from mom & dad to be all day, when we're both at least an hour away).

On top of it all, I was sick most of last week, which brought it's own issues. I mostly just wanted to stay in bed and sleep when I wasn't in the bathroom, but I seriously had no energy. The hubby stayed home with me on Wednesday cause I'd been up most of the night, and wasn't in very good shape to be looking after the baby. Of course, I ended up taking care of them both, because that's just how things work out. Between being gone most of the weekend, then being sick, my milk supply was also way down, which was worrying me and pissing me off, because I'd thought it was finally back up to where I didn't have to worry.


Now, I'm planning the whole return to work for next week. I had planned to go back after 6 weeks maximum, but I got lazy, and I think I'm nervous about what other people will think when I walk into the office and go out on appointments with the baby. Still, the whole reason I got into real estate is because it's flexible, so I guess I get to see how flexible it can be. Day care is not an option, and we're broke, so I need to get back to work, but I feel pretty intimidated. I guess most of it is because I've pretty much had the last 6 months off, between some of the health issues with the pregnancy (hyperemesis, was told not to drive for almost 4 months because of blackouts), then recovering from a c-section and trying to get settled in with the baby (he was permanently attached to my boob for most of the first month, so I couldn't really work like that.

This week, I'm still working in decluttering and cleaning the house (got rid of 72 pairs of shoes, which I'm heartbroken about, but I went up a whole size while pregnant and it looks like my feet are staying that way). I'm also going back over real estate forms and rules, to make sure I'm on top of my game when I get back to work, and doing a new marketing plan for this year - deciding which areas I'm, going to focus on for new business, and creating some flyers and postcards to send out. I also totally re-did my Lenoir, NC real estate website overnight, because I screwed up and messed up the WordPress version by trying to change the template.

Friday, May 21, 2010

D-List Blog Party

Thanks for visiting my blog, and hello to those stopping by from the D-Listed Blog Party. If I set this right, this post should stay up top until the 21st, but I'll still be blogging, so check below for the new posts (or subscribe through blogger or my RSS feed). This should be a great way for us to "meet" and check out eachother's blogs, so leave me a comment and a link to yours if you stop by.

Since this may bring some new people by, I'll start with an introduction.

My name's Raine, I'm a 28 years old, & I started this blog while pregnant with my first child.  My son, Robbie, is now 7 weeks old and I live with him, my husband Billy, 3 dogs, and a cat in North Carolina. I've blogged for years on livejournal, but wanted a separate space for my pregnancy and family life, so I started this. At the time, I was learning a lot about the commercialization of birth and how so many places denied women choices and options that should be their right, and was fired up (and rant-y) about a lot of things, so I figured "Mama Rants" would be the perfect name for my blog.

I spent 7 years as a prison guard, then lost my job while pregnant, so I'm a sort-of SAHM right now. I've worked part time in real estate for 3 years, and need some sort of income, so I'll be going back into that here in a couple weeks. I'll be working partly from home and partly from the office, but bringing the baby with me to both because I do not want to put him in daycare leave him with anyone else during the day. If nothing else, that should prove interesting and give me a few stories for blog fodder. :)

In other things, I am a runner (a slow, fat runner, but a runner nonetheless) and am training for my first triathlon. I'll be posting some updates and maybe pics from training and races, but not a lot of numbers and info relating to weight loss. This is because I'm in recovery after years if disordered eating and, while I'm now obese, the diet and weight talk to more harm for me than good. I do believe in "fat acceptance" and health at every size, so I will focus on progress as far as speed, endurance, and energy, and consider weight gained or lost as a side issue.

I also mention mental health issues occasionally. In addition to the eating disorders, I have had depression since my teenage years, and developed PTSD and anxiety/panic attacks after an incident in college. This contributed to pretty severe antepartum depression and one helluva case of the "baby blues" which I'm hoping doesn't turn into something more, but I seem to be doing well with both of those right now. I do try to provide "trigger warnings" on any posts that might bring up things for people with similar problems though.

Here are some of my favorite posts:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Tri?

I was a little hesitant at first to even tell people I know that I was planning on doing a triathlon, but I figured that it would provide some motivation. I'm glad I did because I've gotten lots of encouragement, and knowing people are expecting me to finish is helping me get off my butt and keep training, but it's a little annoying because most people seem to think I'm just doing it to "lose the baby weight".

Just for the record - my main goal with triathlon, running, and fitness in general is not weight loss, although  I assume that I will probably end up losing plenty of weight, or at least reducing my overall body fat. I am eating better, but eating more, rather than dieting, and trying to build muscle as well, neither of which are great for dropping pounds quickly, but both of which make me feel much better than restrictive dieting or focusing on the number on the scale.

So, why do a triathlon? I think the main thing is just because it's there, and it's something nobody, including myself, would have expected me to be able to do. I've never really been a runner, but was just getting into it a year or so ago when I got side-lined by injury then pregnancy-related illness. I'd always told myself I hated it, but found that I really enjoyed the time alone and the feeling in my body after a good trail run or fast walk. The only concern I really had was that I was doing too much for my knees and joints to handle, because I was well over 300 pounds when I started. I'm down to 278 now, but still twice the size of your average female runner, so cycling and swimming seem to be the perfect crosstraining to build up my endurance while giving my knees and ankles a bit of a rest. Also, I loved swimming when I was younger, and used to ride my bike all over, so I am looking forward to enjoying those again.

Right now seems a great time to start, because I actually have the time. I will be probably going back to work part-time in a few more weeks, but this will give me enough time to make a habit of working out before I add more to my schedule. Things are busy and stressful with a new baby at home, but this is making me realize how important it is for me to have some alone time, and running, biking, or swimming gives me this while also burning off tension and relieving stress, and giving me more energy to take care of my family, our home, and work when I go back to that. It also helps me keep "the crazies" at bay by boosting endorphins that help my fight depression and reducing tension and anxiety.

There are also practical reasons for me to get in shape, and choose running and biking as the primary means (swimming is great, and relaxing, but it just sort of came with the territory  - it's kind of a pain if you don't have a pool or live close to a place you can swim). I figure running is pretty practical in a lot of situations - it can get you away from danger quickly or to a place you want to be quickly as well, and cycling is great for going slightly longer distances and not using a car, as well as a great way to hit the National Forest trails around here. They are also both relatively cheap and flexible - good shoes, a secondhand bike, and basic clothes, and you're set for a while - no classes or gym memberships to keep up with, and you can go out and run or ride whenever and almost wherever you feel like it (really good because I'm fitting it around my husband's schedule right now, so he can watch the baby).

While all of those are good things on their own, I chose to train for a specific triathlon instead of just working out when and how I take a notion is because it gives me something concrete to be working towards . The upcoming race gives me a goal and a deadline to have achieved a certain level of fitness, and it seems like more to be able to complete a set goal than to just keep on keeping on. Of course, once I finish one, I will probably keep on trying to beat my previous time and/or go for longer distances, but that's even better because it means there will always be another goal to reach for.

Anyone have advice on triathlon or any of the 3 sports involved (running, biking, &swimming)?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day to all the moms & moms-to-be out there!

This is my first Mother's Day as a mother, so that's pretty cool, although we haven't really done anything special other than just taken some "family" time for me, baby Robbie, and my husband (which is rare, and what I usually want more of anyway).  I'm sure there will be plenty of homemade cards, homemade crafts, etc (and hopefully some non-tacky jewelry, lol) in years to come, but hopefully we'll still make time to just be and do something as a family as well.

As cheesy as it sounds, I do feel like I'm closer with my mom snow than before I had a child of my own, and I feel like part of this is because we did have a while to spend time together around the time Robbie was born. I have always had trouble sharing with and getting close to people because I worry what they think, and I guess that goes double for family, but I feel like the older I get the more of my mother I do see in my myself, and that makes it easier for me to open up to her because I feel like she may understand where I'm coming from.

Still, it's wierd. I was gonna do one of those "tribute to my mom" type posts, but couldn't really find the words, and I can't do one of those "what motherhood means to me" posts either, because it's also hard to find the words for that, and I haven't been a mom long enough to have much to say. I just wanted to say thank you to all of the moms that have gone before, in my family and in the world, for making me what i am, and for shaping our society itself. I really do feel like motherhood is a force that connects me with all of the other mothers worldwide, and I hope the way i raise my son lifts us up instead of holding us back.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

International No-Diet Day Pledge, Goals, & Round-Up

Today is International No Diet Day. I'd never heard of it before, but I like the idea. It was started by a British Feminist named Mary Evans Young in 1992, to fight the diet industry and its negative effects on women, and to raise awareness of the dangers of eating disorders.
In a society where over 2/3 of American women are dissatisfied with their bodies, and over 50% of us are on a diet at any given time, the ever-growing diet industry takes in over $40 billion a year, despite the fact that between 90-99% of diets fail to produce permanent weight loss, 2/3 of dieters regain the weight within one year, and virtually all regain it within 5 years (and the long-term results are not much better even for those who undergo weight loss surgeries). Instead of punishing yourself and your body by buying into the diet industries negative messages towards women of all sizes, why not take a day off to:

  • Take a day off from whatever crazy diet plan you are following and instead listening to, respect, and respond to your body's unique hunger and satiety needs.
  • Celebrate the beauty and diversity of ALL our natural sizes and shapes
  • Affirm everyBODY's right to health, fitness, and emotional well-being
  • Declare a free day from diets and obsessions with body weight
  • Learn the facts about weight-loss dieting, health, and body size
  • Present the facts about the diet industry emphasizing the inefficacy of commercial diets.
  • Recognize how dieting perpetuates violence against women
  • Honor the victims of eating disorders and weight-loss surgery
  • Help end weight discrimination, sizism and fatphobia

In honor of the day, you can wear a light blue ribbon & take the No Diet Day Pledge (from largesse.net):

Take the Pledge!

I Pledge:

  • That I will not diet for one day, on May 6, International No Diet Day.
  • Instead of trying to change my body to fit someone else's standards, I will accept myself just as I am.
  • I will feed myself if I'm hungry.
  • I will feel no shame or guilt about my size or about eating.
  • I will think about whether dieting has improved my health and well-being or not.
  • And I will try to do at least one thing I have been putting off "until I lose weight."

Signed,

____________________________________________________
(Print out this pledge form, sign it, and post it in a place where you will see it often between now and May 6.)








Click here to download a sheet of printer-ready INDD pledge cards
in MS Word document format.
Click
here to download a sheet of printer-ready INDD ribbon stickers
in MS Word document format.





This information is a public service of Largesse, the Network for Size Esteem [http://www.largesse.net/] and may be freely copied and distributed in its entirety for non-commercial use in promoting size diversity empowerment, provided this statement is included. 




For more on International No-Diet Day, check out the following posts and blogs:
(If you posted about it today, let me know, and I'll add your link.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baby's First Straightjacket?

I saw an ad on baby center that asked "Has your baby ever peed all over his clothes?", and caught the words diaper & wrap, so I figured I'd click on over and see what I thought would be a diaper cover type thing.
Instead, I saw this:
 
It's called the Baby Bubadoo, and is described as a 'changing wrap". Evidently, the idea is to wrap up baby's arms and hands to keep him or her from moving and touching during a diaper change, and to provide a waterproof cover for baby's clothing during the change.
 
Sounds like a good idea, but I can't get over the fact that it looks like a straight jacket, and my son would probably scream and cry if I put this on him, being that he hates diaper changes already (but hates being wet even more - the fussing or crying starts as soon as he pees and doesn't stop until the new, clean, diaper is on). It also doesn't address my main diaper problem - not his hands, but the way he keeps kicking his feet and manages to rub poop on his ankles if I'm not really careful when he has a messy diaper.

Has anyone actually seen one of these wraps? Does it look as "off" in reality as it does in the pic? Would you consider using it on your child?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Robbie's Birth Story (LONG, with pics)

After having no Braxton-Hicks contractions or “false labor” the entire pregnancy, I wasn’t really sure what to expect labor to feel like. On March 23, I was nervous because I was 10 days past my “due date” and had a midwife appointment the next day. My mom was staying with us and getting worried about me being “past due”, and the last ultrasound had predicted a 10 pound 12 ounce baby, so I was feeling like I needed to hurry up and go into labor or there was going to be even more pressure on me to ask for an induction at the appointment or early the next week, just to hurry up and have the baby. I didn’t want to take any herbs, castor oil, etc, and really didn’t want to use medications for induction either, but I sort of relented and figured I’d try fooling around some with my husband, because I heard it could induce labor, and the natural prostaglandins would help soften my cervix as well. Apparently, it worked, but now I wonder if we didn’t try to rush things too much.

Afterwards, I couldn’t sleep because my lower back was hurting like crazy and I was nauseous and having cramps below my belly button. I ended up Googling early labor signs and started timing the contractions around 3 or 4am, when I was sure they really were contractions, as well as breaking out the Blackberry and “tweeting” a few updates on what was happening. When my husband’s alarm went off around 4am, I told him he might as well call out of work, because I was in labor and we were going to have a baby today instead. I was planning on waiting until my midwife’s office opened and going there first to see if I was in labor, but the contractions were pretty steady and 3-4 minutes apart, so Billy (my husband) woke up my mom while I took a shower, and we started loading up the car to go to the hospital. Over an hour passed and they were still coming about 3 minutes apart, so we figured we’d better go ahead to the hospital (everything I’d read or been told said to do so when contractions were 5 minutes apart for over an hour, and my mom and sister both had quick labors, so we were worried about waiting too late). I was a little confused because the pain wasn’t really bad, but the timing was so close I agreed it was better to be safe, and we left for the hospital a little after 6am.



I was still feeling pretty normal when I got to the hospital, and declined a wheelchair so I could walk to my own room. They checked me and I was only dilated 1cm and 70% effaced but, because I was having regular contractions they decided to monitor me to see what was going on and decide whether to admit me or send me back home. The monitor showed regular contractions about 3½ minutes apart, so they said I should stay a while and see what happened. Part of me wishes I had went home or went out and walked, but I stayed in the hospital instead, because I worried my mom would think I was sort of nuts for wanting to leave the hospital while in labor and go hit the track instead (my original plan had been to labor at home as long as possible, walk as much as I could, and try to wait until I was at least 6-7cm before going to the hospital, but I had no real way of judging that other than relying on timing the contractions). Around 7:50am, they told me to plan on staying, so I had my husband call my doula and tell her I was in labor. He also called the film crew (we were in one of the Discovery Health shows) to let them know to be ready, which turned out the be a pain in the butt because they kept calling back all day wanting to know how far along I was, when he was going to be born, etc, so they could make it there in time but not show up too early – if that was predictable, it would’ve saved everyone involved a lot of waiting and decision making.

I was trying to walk around and move as much as possible, to dilate more, and to get the contractions to pick up – they were still pretty regular, but not very strong feeling (then again, I have a high pain tolerance, and was afraid at first I might me underestimating them, because they were close together and looked strong on the monitor). A little past 10am, my midwife showed up and checked me. I was dilated to 3cm, 75% effaced, and the contractions were coming about 2-4 minutes apart, so they decided to officially admit me to the hospital. My doula had just arrived, and I was snacking on cheese, fruit, crackers, and Propel water to give me some energy, and using the hourly “breaks” when I was stuck in bed on the fetal monitor to update my status on Twitter.

I continued trying to walk the halls as much as I could, change positions, and sit/bounce on my birthing ball, but it seemed like every time I really got into a good rhythm or pattern my “hour” was up and I had to get back in bed for the fetal monitor. After 2pm, I was still only at 3cm. Baby & I were doing well, but I was getting impatient with my lack of progress, and feeling like all the laying in bed was slowing things down and I needed to be moving more. I kept thinking I would love to be able to go for a walk at one of the nearby parks – it was the first nice Spring day, 74 degrees outside, and sunny with a slight breeze. One of the nurses was really getting on my nerves, because she kept “forgetting” about me, and trying to keep me on the monitor 30-45 minutes out of the hour, then kept mentioning how I was headed for a c-section if I didn’t progress more, which was the last thing I wanted to hear at that time (she also got pretty bossy about some other things, which led to my midwife taking her aside and talking to her – things got better after that, whatever was said). I remember being so ticked off at one point that I told my doula if I heard the word c-section one more time I was going to go home and have the baby in my living room – at the time, I was half serious.

By 5pm the contractions were getting more intense, around 3 minutes apart, and I figured I had to be dilating more, so my husband started blowing up the birth pool and filling it with warm water. Around 6pm, my midwife came back in to check me and talk with me some. I was 80% effaced, but still only dilated 3cm and -2 station. My midwife said that we could break my water to see if the additional pressure from the baby without the cushion of fluid would allow me to dilate more, but that it would make the contractions more painful. There was also a good chance that there would be meconium in the fluid, since I had gone past 41 weeks, and that would mean I would have to stay hooked up to the monitors. It would also mean we were looking at a possible c-section if labor didn’t pick back up and start progressing within a few hours after my water was broken. We decided the best thing to do would be wait until the next day, so I could rest and see if things would pick up on their own. If I was looking at the chance of a surgical delivery, it made more since not to risk having it in the middle of the night when everyone would be tired and probably not at their best, and I was wanting to hold off as long as possible to avoid that outcome anyway. The best thing is that she changed the orders so I only had to be on the monitor 15 minutes every 4 hours, and told the nurse not to wake me in the night to check me, so I could get some rest, and have time out of bed to try to get the contractions going more.

After the midwife left, my doula massaged my ankles, feet, and hands. It felt great and helped me to relax some, and she was also stimulating some acupressure points to make the contractions get stronger and closer together. Around 7pm, I decided to get in the birthing pool for a while, to help me relax. The water felt great, but I worried about relaxing too much and stopping any progress I was making, so I got out of the tub around 8 and went walking some more in the halls. The contractions would get stronger for a while then fade back out. For a while, my mom and doula both left, and my husband and I tried some nipple stimulation and time together just cuddling to try to relax me and get the contractions to pick back up. It worked some, but I was getting tense because I felt like people were giving up on me and assuming I was heading for a c-section, and it was making me tense because I was aggravated with them and starting to lose faith in myself and my body.

Around 9pm, the Discovery camera crew showed up to film part of my labor for the documentary. I was back in the birth pool at this point, so I just did the interview from their (in a swimsuit top and lycra skirt, so I was covered up). I don’t really remember much of the interview, just that I was glad it was done because Billy was getting ill that they kept calling, and it made me feel like he was mad at me because I was the one who’d agreed to the whole television thing.

Around 10:30, my midwife came and checked me again, and I was still at 3cm with no real progress. She recommended trying to rest and starting over again tomorrow. I think she know how frustrated I was getting, and she even offered to stay the night at the hospital, but I thought it was best for everyone to get what sleep they could in case tomorrow was another long day. At midnight, my husband took my mom back to our house so she could sleep, then came back to the hospital because I wanted him there with me overnight. My doula stayed with me until he got back because I was still having contractions every 3 minutes, just strong enough to keep me awake. When Billy got back, we decided it was best for her to go home and get some rest as well, and we’d see everyone in the morning and hope for some progress.
  
I didn’t get much sleep, but I tried to relax and put myself in a more positive frame of mind. About the time I was dosing off, around 3:30am, the nurse came in to put me on the monitor – I remembered my midwife saying not to wake me up, but she’d already woken me, so I figured it was easier to let them do it than to try to argue and end up waking my husband as well (he was sleeping like a baby the whole time). My midwife came in at 7:30 and checked me again. No change, but she said that not unusual since I had been relaxing in bed all night. She said she’d be back around noon to check me again. My doula had arrived a little beforehand, and she walked with me out in the hallway some more while my husband warmed up the birth pool again. I had planned not to get in the pool until I was past 5cm originally, but at this point labor wasn’t really going to slow down much more, and the warm water was helping me relax, which I needed badly. I was having regular contractions again from the walking, but was getting so tense and sore in my lower back – I wonder if all the tension wasn’t keeping my body from relaxing enough to open up. One crazy thing that started the night before and continued all day – I kept having to pee like crazy, but never felt like my bladder was emptying – it’s like everything in my body was just claming down and refusing to let go. My doula reminded me to keep drinking water to stay hydrated, and I ate a little more fruit, cheese, and crackers for energy, because I figured I’d be put on NOP (no food/drink) soon if I hadn’t made any progress. My husband talked to me some about the baby, name choices, etc, to try to distract me, but I felt like everyone had pretty much given up on any hope of a natural birth, and it was wearing me down and keeping me from getting into my “zone”.

My midwife came around 12:15pm, and I was still only at 3cm. I was 100% effaced and baby was still at -1 station, so she asked if she could break my waters as a last attempt to get things moving (we had agreed no pitocin, cytotec, etc ahead of time – I did not want any of these medications because of risks, and she did not like using pit for large babies or “failure to progress” because she said usually there was a reason if they were taking a while to come, and the meds just ended up causing distress and more problems in those cases). Because there was meconium in the fluid, I had to be kept on the monitor until the birth. I knew that if I hadn’t made any more progress or dilated further within 2 hours, then she’d call the doctor and plan for a c-section that afternoon. My husband and doula began emptying the birth pool and putting it away to make more space in the room, and I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to have my baby in the water, but hopeful that my labor would pick up and I’d still be able to have him vaginally, because the contractions certainly hurt much worse while stuck in bed (I had no pain medications during labor, didn’t really need/want them even at this point, but it was lot more uncomfortable not having the water or as much movement to help deal with things).

At 2:15pm, my midwife checked me again, and there was still no change. She told me she was so sorry that things weren’t working, but we’d tried everything we could, and I would probably have to have the baby by cesarean. She asked me if this was OK, and I agreed to it, because I didn’t see any change happening either, especially now that I was stuck in bed, and didn’t want to wait too long and risk having problems. She told me she would check one more time just before the surgery, but that we would go through with it if there was no change then. I cried for a while after she left the room, because I didn’t know what else to do. I’d tried so hard to plan and do everything to have the best birth I could, and things were just not turning out that way. Everyone was supportive and tried to comfort me, but I don’t think anyone really knew how much it would’ve meant to me to be able to have the kind of birth I had planned, because I really wanted the first few moments of my baby’s life to be calm, peaceful, and bonding with me, not sudden, sterile, and surrounded by strangers. My midwife told me the surgery was scheduled for 5:30pm, and they’d come get me around 5 to put in the spinal for anesthesia. Waiting until then was the hardest part of the whole labor – I was still having contractions, and now they really hurt since I was laying on the bed and just physically and emotionally drained, plus it seemed so pointless to me to be having these contractions now without an epidural or pain medication since I was having a c-section anyway.

While I spoke with the anesthesiologist and signed the consent forms, my husband dressed in scrubs so he could go to the OR with me, and my doula explained to him what was going to happen, and tried to prepare him as best she could. They stayed outside the doors while I got the spinal, then my husband came in to be with me, and my doula went and got my mom so she could wait with her to see the baby.

The surgery itself wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, but it was still pretty freaky just knowing what they were doing and not feeling or seeing anything. My midwife had asked my husband if she should come, and he told her I’d feel better with her there, which I did, and my pediatrician had just gotten off call, so she also came to the ER, so she was able to check my son immediately after birth. They kept me informed about what was happening, sent in a nurse with a digital camera to take photos for us, and followed as much of my birth plan as they could, which I really appreciate, and the doctor and anesthesiologist were both talking to me to help keep me calm. Two things I appreciate, that I didn’t realize are not the norm, is that they did not restrain my arms – just told me to keep them flat and behind the drape, and they did not do a regular catheter, just an “in and out” under anesthesia to drain my bladder because I told them I’d been having trouble peeing all day. I knew when they got my baby out, because I heard one of the nurses say “Oh, my God”, and the doctor quickly assured me that he was OK and looked healthy, and I heard him come out screaming (so loud they said you could hear it at the end of the hall, past 2 sets of doors, where my mom & doula were waiting).  I remember asking If he was OK, and then saying “It’s not twins, is it?” when I heard that – it turns out the cord was around his neck twice, and his head was turned partially facing my hip, which was keeping him wedged up high and not giving him enough slack in the cord to descend, which is why I didn’t dilate more – his head wasn’t pressing on my cervix enough for it to open and, if it had, there could’ve been complications that would’ve made the birth much more risky. It took what seemed like forever, but was probably a few minutes, for them to check his first Apgar score, then they brought him over for me to see and touch him before taking him to the nursery. My husband and mom went to the nursery with the baby, and my doula stayed to wait for me and accompany me back to the room (they have the surgery suites on the L&D floor, so I was able to recover in my room, which also meant they could get the baby to me much sooner). I asked my doctor about a possible VBAC while he was sewing me up, and he said that he thought I’d be a good candidate for one, and would talk to me at my next midwife appointment about the possibility (he’s very open to them, just wants me to wait at least 18 months between births to give everything plenty of time to heal, but said that he’d be fine with it even with another baby post-dates or expected to be big). He did use the double layer sutures on my uterus, which are supposed to be stronger and safer for births after cesarean.

While I was being cleaned up and changing clothes after the surgery, they filled me in on the details – Robbie was born at 5:43pm, weighed 10 lbs. 3oz., and was 22 inches long. His Apgars were 8 & 9, which are very good (and explain the loud crying at birth - good, strong lungs).

My pediatrician came in and double checked with me about what procedures we did and did not want done in the nursery, so I am very glad she stayed. I had already discussed with her, and had in my birth plan, that we were not circumcising him or getting the Hepatitis B vaccination at birth, and that we were also declining the Vitamin K shot to give oral drops instead and wanting to delay the Erythromycin (eye drops) until after he’d breastfed (I didn’t want them at all, but was under the impression that they’re required by law because of one of NC’s administrative health codes). The nursery nurse had an issue with this and, when Billy told her we were declining all of the above and he wanted the baby to see more before getting the eye drops, threatened to call social services over it. The pediatrician told me I could decline it all and, if an issue was made of it, she’d speak up on our behalf, so she went back and told the nurse we were waiving everything but the PKU (heel stick) and blood sugar check (because of his size), and that he was to be brought to my room immediately. I am so glad she was there to help stick up for us, and that my husband never let the baby out of his sight.

By 7pm, Robbie was brought in to the room with me, along with my husband, my mom, and my doula (yes, I’m vain, but I didn’t want anyone in there until I had been cleaned up some and changed gowns). Robbie breastfed immediately and the nurses said his latch was great. From that point on, he did not leave my bed or the bassinet right beside of it – there was no way I was going to send him to the nursery without me, so all tests, including the hearing test, were done right there in the room. They were going to bring in a warmer at first because he was a little cold, but I got the nurse to bring us a bunch of warm blankets for the bed, and managed to keep is temperature up with him laying on my chest under the blankets instead. It was so great finally getting to hold him and bond with him.

I was kept in the hospital the next day for recovery from the birth and surgery, and was up walking around by that morning (no catheter, so after using a bedpan once because I couldn’t get up, I made my mind up to walk to the bathroom a couple hours later). Most of that day was spent bonding with my baby and nursing him every couple hours, trying to get some rest in between. The doctor came by to check on me, the pediatrician checked the bay, and my midwife came by (on her day off) to see how we were both doing. The next morning, I was walking around and sitting up a fair amount, baby and I were both doing well, so we were released to go home. My mom stayed for a few more days, and my husband had 2 days before he had to go back to work, then I was pretty much on my own during the day time. It was overwhelming at first, because it took a lot of time and energy trying to take care of a baby and recover from surgery, but in a way I was glad to have some alone time with the baby and a chance to get some rest.

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