Sunday, October 15, 2017

Long Overdue

My long over-due update:

  • I have ADHD. Or, at least, it appears I have ADHD. I also have an incredibly long wait ahead of me to get in to see a psychiatrist, to be officially diagnosed.
  • I've been going to therapy roughly biweekly and it is helping immensely. Everything is still nowhere near where I'd like it to be and my therapist seems pretty convinced that the aforementioned psychiatrist is going to put me on medication, which is fine, but I won't be doing that until the Hobgoblin is weaned.
  • The Hobgoblin is the happiest baby in the world. He's seriously always so happy.
  • Hobgoblin might also have some sort of food sensitivity which causes him to projectile vomit after eating solids. He's been to a clinic doctor and will see the paediatrician on Tuesday and then the eye doctor later in the week. It also looks like he has intermittent facial palsy and is behind on crawling on all 4s and sitting up straight, so we'll be looking into all of that.
  • The Little Monster is 3. He is wonderful and by now it's quite obvious that he's gifted. Yesterday, I caught him standing on the desk, pointing to DH's home town on the map and mumbling to himself. He can read, but doesn't know he can read. He just looks at words and knows what they say, but gets flustered if you ask him to sound things out (this is in addition to about 30 sight words). He can recognize German and Spanish as well as his two native languages.  He is slowly figuring out fractions. We got him a wooden puzzle with the continents and he'd learned all their names and where they go on the map within about 30 minutes.
  • Monster also might have ASD. He has something. Hand flapping, toe walking, sensory issues, extreme adherence to certain routines. I'm not really worried, but I would like to find out exactly what's up with him. Waiting on the paediatrician to get back to us with a date for the initial assessment.
I think that's everything. I'm finishing up a project that I've been working on for a while, which hopefully will bring me a modest amount of money, so that's fun. 

Until next time...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Part Two

This is what it's like to have... whatever I have.

  • Doing anything sucks. It's physically difficult for me to do simple everyday things, like:
    • Put the brown sugar away. I thought to myself: Wouldn't it be easier just to take two seconds and put it in the cupboard now? That way it won't contribute to a bigger mess. You have do do it sooner or later anyway. Put the damn sugar away. Put it away. Don't leave it there. Don't walk away. You can do this. Your husband shouldn't have to deal with the pointless messes you make. It's easy. Put. It. Away.  It's still on the counter.
    • Call the clinic and set up an appointment for the hobgoblin. He needs an appointment. Nothing bad is going to happen to you if you call. He's overdue for a checkup. You don't have to go out right now. You don't have to wrangle your children. You just have to pick up the phone. Just pick up the phone. I haven't called.
    • Wash the dishes. It's not that hard. I don't get grossed out by the dirt in the sink, at least not enough for it to be a big deal. I'm just lazy. Lazy to the point that I'm fighting off tears because I want to be able to do this stuff without it turning into a big deal. I want to be like a normal person, who doesn't start shaking at the idea of doing a boring chore that I don't care for. The dishes aren't done.
    • Call my Dad for father's day. Like, why? Why is that hard? Yes, conversations with my Dad can be awkward, but I don't dread them. I'll see him. Say, Happy father's day. How's it going? Show him the boys. No big deal. I didn't call.
    • Downloading the software I need. I need it. I literally cannot work on anything to even attempt to have a work-at-home job without this software. It's not that expensive, not really. I tell myself, just boot up Windows and download the software. But I'm lazy. I'm so fucking lazy that the 30 seconds it's going to take to reboot the computer doesn't seem worth it. Nothing seems worth it. Because I also tell myself, You're going to fail at this, the way you've failed at everything. You can't focus, you can't complete anything. You've given up on school, not only when you dropped out, but a second time, before you even got close to going back. You are going to work menial crap jobs the rest of your life. Just download the software and try. But I don't. I still don't have the software.
  • Doing things that are actually difficult is impossible. Things like:
    • Editing my book. Yeah, I wrote a book. I've written several, actually, published two. I try to be proud of that, but it feels like I'm faking. And this particular one I finished in... I'm going to say 2011? Maybe 2012. And it's been sitting, unedited, on various hard drives for over half a decade.
    • Work on my other books. Intellectually I know what I have to do: decide which one to focus on; commit to putting the others on the back burner; plot; write; plan artwork; make artwork; edit. Instead what I do is: nothing. After all, I don't even have the software necessary for the artwork. 
    • Cleaning my closet. Yeah, no. I can't. I can't even contemplate that mess without shutting down. I'm kind of regretting thinking about it at all, actually, because I may have just ruined my whole day.
    • Going to the store. You maybe think that going to the store belongs in the category above, of simple, everyday things. If that's the case, I assume you don't have a baby and a toddler. Because it's not just going to the store, it's a hurricane of chasing said toddler, changing said baby, putting on clothes, feeding, burping, getting spit up on, taking off clothes and putting on new ones, changing the baby again. Negotiating toddler clothing choices, pee breaks, finding keys, stocking the diaper bag, weather-appropriate considerations, where are the damn keys? Put your socks on. Put your socks on. You have to wear socks. Stand still, I'll do it. Forgetting my own socks. Where are the keys now? Forgetting the shopping list and deciding to wing it. Forgetting the baby blanket and giving up my jacket. Forgetting my sunglasses and feeling overwhelmed by my purse and the sun and the diaper bag and the jackets and hats and sweaters and everything else in the world and HOLY FUCK, THE REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS GOT LEFT AT HOME AGAIN. Still, I know it's doable. I know lots of people do it. No. It's better just to stay home.
  • I'm not sleeping right.
    • I'm always tired, but sleep is elusive. Sometimes I just have to stay awake until my physical exhaustion overpowers the noise in my brain.
    • Once I'm asleep, it's deep. I feel physically heavy when I wake up. Like something is dragging me into the bed and pulling my eyelids closed.  Like I'm struggling to climb out of a hole with barbells tied around my ankles. 
  • I can't finish anything I start. Not even this list.
There's so much to do and I just can't. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Conversations with my Monster, part 18: Manners

Me: *Opens bathroom door, accidentally hitting the monster lightly in the head*

Me: Sorry!

LM: Oh, you cannot bash me in the head! You can just gently say excuse me!

Friday, June 2, 2017

"Kiss the Baby"

Dear Random Lady,
My three month old neither wants nor needs kisses from your toddler. I'm sure in your eyes, your child is the shit, but that doesn't mean I want his germy mouth on my baby.
Since we've never been introduced or had even a cursory conversation (and you didn't bother to ask my or my baby's name before instructing your son to kiss him), let me tell you something about our family: we believe in bodily autonomy. We don't believe in forcing kisses and we sure as shit don't believe in kissing strangers to appease their parents' sense of what would be really cute to see.
As mothers of boys, I think it's especially important that we teach them about consent from the get-go. That doesn't mean we have to discuss sex with toddlers, but it does mean that we probably shouldn't be instructing them to show physical affection to strangers with no regard for the strangers themselves.
Luckily for you, your son showed better judgement than you did and was about as interested in giving kisses as mine was in getting them. That saved us both from making an awkward scene at another kid's birthday party. Bully for us.
Neither of our children are dolls. They're not there for you to play pretend with. If you want to make things kiss for your own amusement, go buy some Barbies and leave my baby out of it.
My three month old can't speak for himself. It's my job to be his voice until he has one of his own. So on his behalf, let me just say:
Kindly back the fuck up.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Part One.

The truth is, I'm depressed.

When I was younger, I didn't really believe in depression. I knew it existed, but shamefully, I was usually of the just power through ilk. You know, the people that think that just going for a walk and putting on a happy face will cure what is mainly an excuse to abstain from your own life. Mostly I blame this on my own ignorance and stupidity, but I'll lay a small - nay, tiny - part of it at the feet of experience; the only two people I knew with depression were also entitled, incredibly self-centered and in one case, incredibly selfish. So, while they happily lived off their parents well into adulthood and expected everyone around them to like the same things, to take their cues when planning social activities, to pay them for jobs half-done (and so on), it was easy to dismiss other aspects of their behaviour - being withdrawn, not being able to hold down a normal job, staying in bed all day - as laziness and selfishness.

After reading and researching, I started to come around to the idea that this was a real thing and not an excuse to avoid living a normal, productive life.

And then I got PPD. Looking back, I can pinpoint the moment it hit.  My parents were visiting. It was a horrible visit, though I doubt they'd see it that way. They spent the entire time baby hogging (including walking away with the monster in Walmart at 2-3 weeks), comparing the monster to my older brother (he was a clone, they were the same, my brother did the same things at that age, the monster was my brother - ad nauseam), making inappropriate jokes and comments about breastfeeding, suggesting that the monster only wanted me for sustenance, essentially ignoring me to focus on the baby and just basically taking up my space and destroying my fourth trimester. My mom had been visiting my sister and her new little one, the monster had been crying crazily for ages due to gas. My Dad had finally backed off, given back the monster and gone to look at something on the computer (the one my mom set up when they came to stay and paid every scrap of attention not taken up by the monster to). I was sitting on the couch, holding the monster, finally able to breathe, holding back tears from utter exhaustion (the monster never slept longer than 2 hours at this point). My mom came home, sat down on the couch and held out her arms, asking if she could hold him because she hadn't talked to him all day. I couldn't answer. I couldn't say a word. Logically, I should have known that she would never try to take him from me if I said no, but I just had this overwhelming sense of panic that she would, so I just clutched him tight to my chest and fought back the tears and wished everyone would just leave me the hell alone to hold my baby in peace.*

Then it came in waves. I was glued to the couch with a cluster-feeder because I'd realized that I couldn't safely feed him in bed, so even at night, all the feeds happened on the couch. I felt completely trapped, like I didn't have ownership of my body, like I would do nothing but breastfeed for the rest of my life, like eventually, in indent in the couch from my ass would be deep enough to swallow me whole.  I would, on good days, take him out to the park, keep him in his stroller or lie him on a blanket and read to him. On bad days, I would just hold him while both of us cried. But there were a lot of good days.

Until he was around a year old, we got by. I thought my unending fatigue was from a lack of sleep. I thought my propensity to burst into tears for no reason was a result of normal postpartum hormones. I thought I was doing ok. I never said anything to Mr. Wolfman about it, or if I did, I downplayed what was going on. I remember one day I just started sobbing and couldn't stop. I called my sister and she came and we went for a walk, and the next day I felt better and it was easier to pretend that it was a one-off and sweep it under the rug. Then I started to get angry. Not like normal FTP frustrations, but fits of absolute, whole-body-shaking rage. For the first time, I worried I would inadvertently hurt the monster, being too rough getting him dressed when he struggled, or pulling too hard on his arm when he tried to dart into traffic. That's when I finally (on the advice of my birth board) contacted the mental health unit at the hospital and set up an appointment with a therapist.

I saw her exactly twice before Mr. Wolfman decided to take a second job without consulting me. I knew he'd applied, but the deal was that it was only an application and we would discuss it if he was offered the job. So he was working 16 hour days and there was no longer a time when I could go to therapy. It did get bad enough that I tried once more on his day off, but my therapist was going to be away for a few months and the substitute was AWFUL. He didn't listen, cut me off, blamed everything on his own weird fantasy of us living in our town because Mr. Wolfman made me (Mr. Wolfman doesn't like it here. I don't either, but it was my idea to come) and didn't do his fair share of work with the baby.  He tried to convince me that I wasn't depressed, just tired (my previous therapist said nothing of the kind and didn't act stoned like this fool, so I'm inclined to follow her opinion over his). So that was the end of therapy. And then I did nothing. I just sucked it up until it went away.

I could go on at length about what's going on now, but I honestly don't have the time or the energy. So I'm leaving this here as part one, and I'll add parts two and three, about my current suspected ppd/ppa and my life-long anxiety issues, when I have some energy and drive.

*I know it seems like it, but I don't blame my parents for my PPD, I think they just pushed it to the surface. All of their crap was well-intentioned crap, but hopefully it isn't too big of a mystery to them why they're no longer invited to stay the night in my home.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's Been a Thousand Years

... or at least it feels like it. In any case, it's time for an update.

The monster is 2 years, 8 months today, the hobgoblin just passed 12 weeks. They both continue to be wonderful.

Monster, despite his total refusal to eat just about everything, keeps on growing and seems pretty healthy. He continues to amaze us with things like being able to name all 50+ of his toy cars, using words like similar correctly and trying to learn everything about everything (most recently, studying world maps and asking where places are). His newest obsession is knowing why printed words say what they do, which makes every bedtime book take about 1000x longer, because knowing what it says isn't enough, he has to see where and how each word is spelled. The result of this is that he decoded his first word. He has quite a few sight words, but this was the first one he actually sounded out. He also taught himself to count to 10 in French, because why not?
He's really taken to his new role as a big brother, and is really protective of the hobgoblin. If we call the goblin any disparaging or silly nicknames (ie: Stink-butt) we are emphatically told "He is NOT an Stink-Butt; he is an hobgoblin"). The monster is slowly allowing some leeway, but mostly we're expected to refer to the goblin by his full name or one approved (and common, not at all silly) nickname. As is proper for a big brother, he doesn't feel these rules apply to him, so he is allowed to call his brother "Poop."

The Hobgoblin's personality has really come out to shine. He's pretty laid back and easy going, and really only cries if he's wet, dirty, hungry or gassy. He likes to be held and snuggled, but he doesn't mind being put down for long chunks of time, which is a lifesaver with two. He's very vocal and loves to laugh and smile, and getting a smile and a coo out of him is as easy as offering him one first. He's also a giant (but no longer in the 95th percentile), now wearing mostly 6 month clothes and the stuff that's on the bigger side of 3-6. If he keeps up like this, I think he'll end up taller than the monster, when all is said and done.

Me, I'm not doing great.

After 3 trips to the ER, I ended up having emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed. That was a few weeks ago and I'm pretty much physically recovered. The process dicked up breastfeeding for a bit and I hated being away from my kids, pumping and dumping because of painkillers and everything else that went along with it. Mr. Wolfman was a rockstar and carried everyone through (though I'm pretty sure neither boy got a bath the entire time I was in the hospital).

At the hobgoblin's 2 month well-check, I did the questionnaire for PPD screening and scored pretty high. I need to pull myself together and go through the mental health intake process today, because I don't want it to get out of hand like last time. I just feel run down and panicky all the time. Basically anything beyond sitting still and doing nothing is immensely stressful for me. Basic things, like the boys' baths, are starting to slide. I have to fight back tears over minor, ridiculous things. Yesterday, Mr. Wolfman made a special trip to the store to get me something I wanted. He also got cookies for himself, and I started to get upset because I couldn't eat the cookies (due to an allergy, Mr. Wolfman wasn't being greedy). I felt actually betrayed that he'd get cookies I couldn't eat. And then, of course, I felt like a ungrateful child, getting whiney and upset because him taking the time to go out and get me exactly what I asked for was somehow negated by him not also getting me something that I hadn't asked for. And then the supreme guilt started to creep in, which I think is the backbone of PPD and PPA. I just constantly feel like I'm not doing enough, or like what I do is wrong, like my kids are suffering, my marriage is suffering, my mental health is suffering, my future is non-existant, I'm going nowhere and it's all my fault. Guilt, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, of not being able to cope, of not being good enough.

Mr. Wolfman seems to have a better understanding of what's going on this time. If I'm honest, I think me being stuck in the hospital and our first attempt at an extended family outing opened his eyes to a lot of what I do day-to-day and how incredibly stressful it can be, even without ppd/ppa hanging over my head.

The hobgoblin needs something. A mummy's work is never done.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

He's Here!

Actually, he's been here for nearly 2 weeks, but this is the first chance I've had to sit down and write about it (well, not much of a chance; it's time for him to wake up and eat soon).

*possible trigger for a scary situation, which turned out ok*

I went to see my sister last Saturday and she told me she hoped I would go into labour that night. I didn't hope so; I was determined to have a March baby. But I guess the Hobgoblin listened to his auntie, because sometime after midnight, I started getting woken up by what I thought was an extreme need to pee.

At about 3, it occurred to me that I was likely experiencing contractions and downloaded a contraction tracking app to see how long they were and how frequent. At that point, they were about 8 minutes apart and one minute long. The app grew more and more aggressive as I progressed, first telling me I should get my hospital bag ready in the car (6 minutes apart) and eventually giving me the all-caps message "GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW" (4 minutes apart). Since said hospital was 45+ minutes away, it really was time to go.

Mr. Wolfman was very good about not telling me that he couldn't see a damn thing on the drive there. It was (of course) very dark; the road is not lit at all - and it was snowing very hard and it was also extremely windy. The contractions were at yelling on the pain scale, so I wasn't really paying attention. I did take a picture when he asked me to, because he said it was like Star Wars with the snow, but I still didn't realize we were driving blind.

Despite the crazy snow and my ever-more-frequent shouts of pain, Mr. Wolfman got us to the hospital in one piece in just over 55 minutes. The contractions were so close together by that point that I didn't even make it across the parking lot before another one hit.

The admissions nurse took one look at me, asked my last name and called an L&D nurse.

I progressed for a bit without pain meds, and it was awful and I wanted to die*. Eventually, I gave in and asked for fentanyl, which worked extremely well for a while, and then stopped working and I gave in again and asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist had to come from home and (it seemed to me) took his sweet time getting there. By the time he arrived, I was getting an extremely strong urge to push with every contraction. When I mentioned this to the nurse, the anesthesiologist got wide eyes and wordlessly left the room. Apparently he was afraid he would have to deliver me if he stuck around.

OB showed up, anesthesiologist came back and after they determined I was at 7cm, I spent about 15/20 minutes getting an epidural. Sitting still through contractions was not easy, especially since I couldn't even scream at that point, because I had to keep my back really, really still. But I managed that, and after 5 attempts, they got the epi set and put the drugs in and then I was a happy camper. I think the nurses mentioned to the anesthesiologist that I'd been complaining about him yelling at me when I had the monster, because he was overly nice. He told me before he left that I have scoliosis, so that's fun.

I'd been really worried about the epidural because of the thing where the monster's heart rate had dropped off when I got the epi with him. But they were really good about monitoring the hobgoblin and his heart rate stayed totally fine throughout.

Everything after the epidural was super smooth and really relaxed. I only used the button once for some extra meds, so I could feel all my contractions still. They hurt, but I could breathe through them, and talk if I really needed to. When it came time to push, I had enough energy and my OB (the one I had never met until that point) talked me through everything. If we planned on having more kids, I would definitely request her again.

At the last minute, the hobgoblin decided to pull a Superman and his head and one arm came out first, the other shoulder got stuck. It went from "you're doing great" to "Get help in here now!" and I couldn't see anything, so of course I was freaking out. I kept asking what I should be doing, should I be pushing, should I wait, etc. Dr? stayed really calm and answered me when she could and between her and I, we got him out.

Before pushing, they'd told me how they delayed cord clamping, how they'd take him out and put him on my chest (or belly, depending on the length of the cord) and we'd do an hour of skin-to-skin. That didn't exactly work out. They pulled him out and put him on me, but he wasn't breathing. DH and the nurses kept trying to tell me he was ok, but I was screaming that he wasn't breathing and they cut the cord and took him away to a table to work on him.

Brilliantly, he started breathing and crying on his own. I've never been so relieved in my entire life. They gave him back to me and he was and is just perfect.

I think because I waited so long for the epi and didn't press the button for extra, I didn't end up needing a catheter and they discharged me just over 24 hours after the hobgoblin made his appearance. He's a giant, over a pound heavier at birth than his big brother.

We're at home, getting into the swing of things. It's not exactly easy with 2, but we're slowly figuring it out.

*I have a very ranty rant about one of the nurses, but I'll save it for another day.