Saturday, June 28, 2014

There’s Bird Shit on my Car and My Husband Just Ate a Fly



This is my weekend. There is bird shit on my car that I keep hoping will disappear on its own and while taking a family walk this morning, a bug of some sort flew into my husband’s mouth and he ate it.

This is our typical weekend.

It may sound strange but this is our life. While I pop my pills for my depression and anxiety, we try to lead as normal a life as possible. This is not always easy for any of us but we give it the good old college try. As I struggle with my issues, life does go on, not just for me but for my husband and our four-year-old daughter. We try to keep things simple, yet fun. We had a lovely play date over lunch with wonderful friends and things could not have been more normal. The kids were bouncing off of the walls, literally, and the adults were only slightly paying attention. It kept my mind busy and I could enjoy being with others. It was a win-win-win for our family as each of us enjoyed it. 

This was especially nice since I just started another new medication last night (when will I have the right cocktail already???) and I was feeling a bit odd this morning as a result. I am still hopeful that this medication will add the right mix to my other meds to finally yank me out of this depression. So, after a phone call to check in with my shrink, I went out to get an oil change for my car. Now, you can’t get more normal than that, right? I was happy not to have to wait and was in and out quickly. But then what? What was the next structured plan for the day? 

We did not have one. This is when I become a little jumpy: can’t sit still, need to do something to keep busy. I am very lucky that my daughter can ground me at these times when I feel I don’t have control. Her asking to play a game on my phone was calming to me. Strange, I know! 

As we make our dinner plans, (take-out, of course! We have no food at this point in the week, nor do we have any napkins, so paper towels it is!) my intention is to enjoy the evening. It will be “ordinary” as there will be no bird shit to think of or flies going into anyone’s mouth, but it will be “our” night. I am with the two people whom I love the most.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Onward to the Consultation

It's never a good sign when your psychiatrist/analyst says it's time for a psychopharmacological consult. This wasn't news to me and it had been brought up before, but now I really need it. We have tried several different cocktails and while some symptoms have decreased, some have not. So, I have to call this doctor who my doctor highly recommends and see him for a consultation in order to figure out my meds.

This scares me.

I don't like having to meet new people in the psych world and tell my story, yet again. I am scared he will judge me (no basis for this, just where my mind is at right now). All I know is, I want this depression gone. Goodbye. Won't be sad to see you go. I have been fighting this, essentially, since January but it probably started slowly in the months leading up.

I have the therapy piece down, no problem. My psychiatrist and I work very well together and she knows me, really knows me. It's this pesky medication piece that is the problem. You see, I am tired...tired of needing to shut my office door so I can cry for 15 minutes. I am tired of going to my car to sit and cry for 10 minutes. I am tired of feeling such pain...words cannot describe the depth of the pain and this pain is not physical in any way. I am tired of allowing any slight or mistake someone makes in relation to me become a big deal where I then feel hurt and neglected.

This illness is tiring on its own but add a family to think about, worry about and the level of patience in having this illness goes out the door. I constantly worry about my daughter...my beautiful, sparkly girl, who is my heart and soul. To what extent is my depression impressing upon her? Luckily, I am able to put on a brave face and love her with my very being: through words, hugs, kisses, talks and more love.

So far, the only positive that has occurred in these past months is my strengthened relationship and bond with my husband. I never would have guessed that working through this depression would have such an amazing benefit. We have an amazing relationship and we are in sync in every possible way. I have never felt such love from another human being and my love for him is just growing and growing (I did not even know that was possible...I loved him already!).

I will have my consult in Boston and hope for a good plan, a plan that will finally give me some relief. I don't talk in detail to my friends or family about my struggles, but I will tell you this: depression is a horrible illness where your inner core is twisted and twisted again. Your heart hurts, your brain hurts and your soul hurts.

I think I am ready for this next step. Onward to the consultation.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Reflections of the Past



The first year of your child’s life is filled with love, hope, exhaustion and sheer terror. To tell my story, I need to go back a couple of years before she was born. I had previous abdominal surgery to remove uterine fibroids and then went through 12 horrendous months of fertility treatments. There were a lot of needles, nursing myself, pelvic exams and hope. It was month 13 when we did IVF and received the amazing news: “it worked!!”

My pregnancy was not the most comfortable 9 months. I was sick for about 8 months and developed sciatica since that amazing daughter of mine was living very close to my ribs on my right side. My left side suffered. While I had a scheduled C-Section for a week before my delivery date, she had other plans and I went into labor a week before that. Luckily, I only had to experience labor for about 4 hours before my doctor performed the C-Section (I had to have a C-Section due to my previous surgery). 

When this little being was shown to me, I could not believe it was real. Maybe it was the morphine but it felt surreal. When you wish for something for so long and then it comes true, it is an amazing feeling. 

The first weeks were a blur: little sleep, my husband and I pretending we knew what we were doing and then the fun post-partum hormones. Oh those hormones! I was literally a mess. I was crying constantly and was afraid, not of being alone with my daughter, but of feeling alone. It was a terrible feeling and I felt I was failing as a new mommy. Luckily that only lasted a couple of weeks and I had great support from my family and friends during that time. 

Those first months, my husband and I noticed some rashes which we found out was eczema (her cousin had it, so we weren’t that surprised). I also noticed that while I got my first real smile from her at around 8 weeks, she did not smile very often. I was worried she would be “too serious” or sad. My head really went to a strange place when I worried that she was depressed (I have struggled with depression and it runs in my family). I knew that made no sense, but I was a neurotic new mother!

At five months, I noticed she wasn’t nursing/eating as much and I worried that my supply of breast milk was not enough for her. After days of weigh-ins at the pediatrician’s office, it was decided to hospitalize her. You simply are not quite ready for that phone call: “I think she is losing too much weight and needs hospitalization. Bring her to Children’s” (Boston). While I was tearful and terrified, I got our stuff together as my husband came home from work and we headed to the hospital.

Failure to Thrive. Reflux. Dairy allergy. These were her diagnoses during her 11 day stay in the hospital. I spent every minute with her during those 11 days. I could not leave her side. The diagnoses were the easy part; the hard part was switching her from my breast to a bottle filled with awful smelling hypoallergenic formula. Nurses and doctors soon learned of a personality trait that my husband and I already knew: our daughter is stubborn.

After a few days of assessment and trying to get her to drink from the bottle, we were told that she needed an intervention as she was not gaining any weight. She needed to have a nasogastric tube placed so she would be satiated. This involved a thin tube inserted in her nose which then went to her stomach.

We. Were. Terrified.

I went into the procedure room with her while my husband waited outside. He knew it was better for mommy to be with her at that moment and he was honest in saying that he was not sure he could keep it together. She had the tube in for a few days and she was fed the horrible smelling formula this way. At feeding times, they would give her a pacifier (we never used them before) so she could get used to the feeling of sucking and becoming full. Genius.

My husband and I went a bit overboard when it came to which type of bottle to try. We bought every single brand that existed at that time and tried them all.  Guess which one she liked the most? The cheapest one!
The nurses, who were simply amazing angels, came up with an idea to get her to drink her formula. They added grape Pedialyte to give it a bit of sweetness and flavor. Now, my husband and I would gag when this cocktail was made, but it started to work! She would drink little by little to the point that when she would wake up at night she would be scratching me and kicking me as her hunger was so deep. She wanted her cocktail! We started calling the nurses “bartenders” as part of this process involved weaning her off of the Pedialyte.

The day we took her home was a great day. We were excited, nervous and exhausted. We were proud though when she took her first bottle like a champ at home. We finally started to see her weight increase and after a few months, although she was still not on the growth charts, she was doing well. Unfortunately at that time, she contracted her first stomach bug. Normally, babies can get through a stomach bug because they have “reserves” but she did not have any and started losing weight again. 

Back we went to the hospital. This time we went to our local hospital thinking they would just give her an IV and then send her home. Not quite. They wanted to keep her overnight. This became a horrible experience for us both. While we had our own room, that was interrupted at 4 AM when we were woken to move into another room. A couple of hours later I told the doctor we were leaving. We tried another day at home but knew she needed more. We brought her back to Children’s and she spent 4 days there. Again, amazing treatment and most importantly, she got better.

When I think back to that first year and then the year after which included Early Intervention in MA and Birth to 3 in CT (we moved), it seems like a blur. Yet it was an emotional roller coaster with constant questioning of my skills as a mommy. Her feeding issues were treated and she strengthened her muscles and walked at 20 months.  I can’t even believe we went through so much. Looking at my now 4-year-old daughter, she is healthy, happy and you would never know all she went through those first 2 years.

Life is a gift and my daughter is a gift. After all of the fertility treatments, my husband and I were blessed and the blessings continue, along with the hard stuff. I think we are made to experience difficulties not only to make us stronger, but to then be able to have perspective. I know how lucky I am to have a healthy and happy 4-year-old daughter. I am aware of the horrible illnesses and conditions babies struggle with. I keep that in mind, always.

I have been given a gift and I am in a constant state of acceptance, thankfulness and awe.