Gone Coastal

Monday, January 26, 2009

around the next bend

I should really learn to keep my mouth shut sometimes. In a previous post, I took you all on a ride with a roller coaster metaphor. I talked about what might come next, around that next bend. I left the door wide open with "something crazy and unexpected."
I definitely didn't expect what came Saturday morning. The Bear was working for the morning, and I was wandering through a typical morning with the kids, with wake ups, changes and food. Weighing out the options for what to do with the day, store run, library or pool. At some point, I recognized a slight feeling of uneasiness, not entirely unfamiliar on days when I know I've got the kids for the full day. Generally, this feeling translates to a little less patience with any testing by the kids, but the kids were pretty content.
But, that morning, the uneasiness took on a life of its own. I felt it building up, and I decided it would be a good time to take the kids and dogs for a walk. But long before it got there, it escalated to something I've never experienced. An anxiety attack. Crazy and unexpected. I didn't know what was happening or how far this might go. I was terrified that I couldn't do anything for the kids if they needed me. It was everything I could do to keep breathing. I called my two childcare options, but nobody answered. I called the Bear to let him know. And with much struggle, I got the kids haphazardly bundled into the stroller and we were out of the house.
The attack, which lasted probably 45 minutes, had started to subside a bit by the time I got out the door, and tapered off as I pushed around the block a few times, checking known neighbours' windows for signs of someone who'd be up and able to help. When I got back, I tried my daycare backup again, and she was home, so I went there with the kids, stayed for awhile until the Bear was home, and then left the kids with her for most of the day.
In talking with a few people, I've learned that mine was probably only a moderate attack, but it was quite terrifying enough. Seriously, it ranked up there with being screamed at by the angry schizophrenic with a roofing hatchet in hand.

When I came home Saturday, one of my urges was to blog it all, raw and real, as soon as possible, as it was such a strange, but internal, experience that I was afraid that if I didn't put it out there it would fade and I would be questioning if it really happened. I wasn't too far off, as within a few hours, my recollection was vague and fuzzy. But it did happen. And I'm looking into what I can do to reduce the odds of it happening again, as well as preparing myself to better deal with it if and when it does.
The kids are sick, and home with me again today, but I know if anything should come up today, daycare is just down the street. Writing about this has made me a little jumpy, but I needed to do it. I'm going to sign off now, and have some juice and a few deep breaths before I check on the kids again.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Trin has started a bandaid collection. It began earlier in the week. She came home from daycare with a scrape on the inside of her finger. Nothing too nasty, but just because of where it was, and some missing skin, it needed covering. So a little bandaid, a little ointment. She did make it a bit of a conversation piece, but she didn't pull it off.
Today, we were walking home from daycare. We were a little late heading out, as Eli had skipped his morning nap and was still sleeping when I came. Trin, too, had resisted a nap, so she was tired, though surprisingly not taking on the usual sleepless toddler demeanour. One thing is always consistent, though, when Trin is tired. She gets clumsy. (Or clumsier - she's got a ways to go before they invite her to the national ballet.) Sure enough, about halfway home, she tripped on the sidewalk and took a tumble. She's a tough girl, but I knew she was tired and likely to trip again, so I picked her up and carried her the last bit.
Back at home, we carried on. A little later, she tried to tell me something. I didn't quite understand, but I knew it was about something upstairs. She often goes upstairs to get one of her dolls, or put them to bed, or..., so I figured it would be something related. I let her start on her way up and followed a few minutes later to see what was up.
At the top of the steps, Trin was fishing through the boxes of bandaids. As I came up the steps, I figured out the word I couldn't place before. Bandaid sounds a lot like baby (doll) and a few other common phrases in Trinese. I helped her get her tights off, and she showed me a good little scrape on her left knee. We picked out a suitable bandaid and sealed her up. Then she pointed to the smaller scrape on her right knee. "Ouch!" Another bandaid. She fished a bit for a final strip to cover the little scratch under the main scrape, but I persuaded her she could handle that one without. I realized our stash of bandaids - at least the kinds that actually stick on toddlers - is getting low, and I'll have to stock up. Hopefully she doesn't become a major addict :)

One of my favourite shirts on Eli is a button up plaid shirt, lined with a light cotton knit. It's a handsome little big boy shirt, size 18 months. It's from the Gap, which is pretty generous in their sizes. It just fits him now, though you probably couldn't do up the top button easily, if at all. I picked up a few shirts at my favourite consignment store earlier this month, all size 24 months. They fit him pretty well. He's not even eight months old! I had to abandon a number of his non-buttoned shirts recently because I couldn't get his arms into the holes without dislocating his shoulders. Apparently they don't design baby clothes for linebackers.

For those of you who follow my erratic facebook statuses, my prediction came true. Eli crawled for the first time last night. Not far - inches really - but with bum up, arms and legs going and resulting in forward motion. Apparently today he spent much of his day working on pulling up. That seems to be why he was too busy for a morning nap. Important work to do. "I crawled six inches yesterday, now it's time to walk."

Trin is apparently taking the two-year-old thing to the next level, and the sassy sparkle that's lit her eyes when she's given me the gears in the past has begun to twinkle for Shannon, too. I'm told the other day she had a time out at daycare, and when Shannon was having a talk with her, Trin rolled her tongue around in her cheek and did her best to obviously ignore her. Getting saucy that one, I'll have to keep my eye on her.

Eli can get himself down on his belly and back up to sitting. He still enjoys trying to launch himself into orbit in the exersaucer, if only for much shorter periods. I'm told he learned to clap today, too. Music was on, all the little ones were singing and clapping, Eli was enjoying the scene, and doing the usual baby misfires to participate. Until his two hands made contact the first time, and apparently that was all he needed and he clapped away for a bit.
Sometimes he kinda scares me with how fast he grows.

Trin seems very much into her ABCs these days, rounding up the little foam letters that have been dispersed from the bathtub collection. I think she's kind of intrigued with the concept of these symbols, and wants to remember which ones are which. She's got two versions of Dr. Seuss's ABCs, but that's fodder for a whole different post.

Lately Eli quite loves jerking his head forward like an eighties punker. He's only beaned himself once, so far, on a smooth flat floor. I'm hoping it will be a short lived habit, and that it won't take a trip to emerg to cure him of it.
He'll feed himself cheerios and raisins, and munches them up quite well with all those front teeth.

And what post of random wee one snippets would be complete without a few current pics. Made a point of snapping off a few earlier tonight to have something for you. I hope to be together enough one of these mornings to bring the camera along to Shanni's and have her take some shots for me. You know, so I'm not the one always behind the camera. Evidence that I actually do spend time with my own kids. If it happens, I'll be sure to post some of the favourites. In the meantime here's some quick shots.

Trin after bumping her knees yet again. See my owies?
Trin a little later, having bounced back like a good little viking
Check out the teeth
and the shoulders
With a month or so's less hair, Eli in one of my favourite vests, posing in his chair

Monday, January 19, 2009


I had a couple of posts rattling around in my head that had absolutely nothing to do with postpartum disorders. A change of pace. Probably much needed, as I read through my last two posts earlier today, and they were basically both rambling on over the same stuff. Good evidence that I have indeed been kinda hazy.
But here I am again, my thoughts dominated by how PPD has affected me, and where I'm at in this journey. Those other posts will wait (how many months have they been on the far back burner already?)
The weekend was interesting. Not theoretical lecture on social engineering interesting, or what so-and-so said to such-and-such interesting. I mean roller coaster interesting.
It seems the fog lifted a little this weekend. I found myself feeling things much more than I have in a long while. Laughing at my seven-month-old son giggling at discovering his sense of balance on his feet. Catching little games my two-year-old plays. I even felt more for my dogs.
My dogs. My poor dogs. Before kids, I was the dog lady. In K-town we had a big fenced yard. They got walked at least once a day, played with, run on the bike, taken to work, taken 4X4ing up to the hills. They went where we went. My mom even affectionately called them her four-legged grandchildren. The last few months, they've been lucky to get a decent walk a week. And with the issues we have with one neighbour, we can't even leave them in our much smaller yard for any length of time to play. I did my best to look after them, but it was rather mechanical. I see that pretty clearly now. But Friday night, it wasn't Eli that got me up, it was Diesel. His ear was infected and driving him nuts, and his headshaking, with corresponding collar jingling and ear flapping, was driving us nuts. I dug around the basement for the ear cleansing solution and did what I could to clean him up. Oh, he was so happy. And even at four in the morning, it felt kinda good to make him happy, and not feel like I was doing everything I could to give them a totally inadequate life. They've had a few more spontaneous head rubs since, too.
It was a similar sort of awakening with the kids. A subtle shift, or maybe not so subtle, from doing what I thought I was supposed to do, or what I should enjoy, to what felt right. Not a complete turnaround, but I was definitely more alive.
The slightly frightening other side to this bed I woke up in held the feelings of fear, of hurt, despair and, most frightening to me, anger. They, too, had been muffled, distant and a bit detached, like a dream. They, too, were a little more real now. Hence the roller coaster, and the certainty that I'm not coming off the meds anytime soon, nor would I be remotely ready to be with the kids full time.
I don't know what lies around the bend. If there's another climb to the next big drop, or loops or spins or something crazy and unexpected. I'm hardly a coaster aficionado, but in the classic coasters of my youth, the biggest falls were at the start, and after doing their best to scare the pants off you, they slowly back off the throttle to smaller hills and bumps. A few surprises late in the ride to keep you guessing 'til you're back in the gate. Maybe I'm past the biggest drops. Maybe there's lots to come. Maybe it's just the three or four days of solid sunshine that's behind this little lift - the lull between turns where you get a look at some scenery.
Whatever it is, I'll take it. I've had a taste of the joy of motherhood again. I've started to enjoy music again. (I realized at some point that I had hardly sung at all for Eli, whereas after Trin's birth I'd sung more than I had in years, even some days through tears. I remember wanting to sing for Eli, but I couldn't find my voice - I couldn't think of anything, even silly songs, that would come out. This really hit home at a church Christmas dinner. It was a good night, and when someone led in some carols, I was singing along with Eli on my arm, and looked down to see wonder in his little eyes. He'd never in six months heard me really sing.)
And if it's God's grace in timing, giving me a little clarity in my head when I'll need it for work, I'll definitely take it. I know that He's there, too, when reality is frightening. And that His amazing grace knows no end.

Maybe, just maybe, by the next post I'll have gotten the camera out and taken some fresh pics for you all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good night

Well, once again, I really ought to be heading to bed. I've got meetings tomorrow, including an intro to a new project I'll be joining. I should be heading for bed as early as I can.
But I'm feeling pretty good tonight, and that's a good reason to share.

The last week or so has been kinda hazy. I'm not much liking being back at work. I've only had about a half load of project work, and I still struggle to put in a full day's work. A couple of days have been near total write-offs: I just couldn't get my head into the game, let alone keep it focused there. Fortunately, with the new year I have some vacation time again that I can throw to those days.
The Bear is full swing into his new job, working lots of overtime, evenings and weekends, so we're both pretty tired.
Last week when I took Eli in for his shots, the nurse gave me the postpartum screening questionnaire again, and I got a score of 14 - high enough to get her attention. I wasn't exactly surprised, but it was still a bit of a wake up call. I expect within a week, I'll have full time demands at work with the new project. I needed to be realistic about where I was at. I've been feeling the tension building, and I've definitely been more down. And more sensitive to little things.
Little things like a growing sense that my toddler doesn't always like me so much. Honestly, at a bad moment, the words in my head are a little stronger than that, but it's a good moment. That whole mother daughter dynamic is heating up so early. I see it when her whole demeanor shifts from testing and defying me at home, to smiling and charming everyone at daycare. And back again at day's end.
Today didn't start off any different. But somewhere over the course of the evening, the surface grit began to soften. She didn't argue when i asked if she needed to go pee, and came and got me when she eventually needed the bathroom. (A little late, but she's been doing awesome at daycare, so it felt good just to rate the effort.) But I think it was really a little string of precious mama moments, just for me, that warmed me up. Going up the stairs to help her retrieve her baby (doll) from the new doll bed she got and finding her baby 'tucked in' under the mattress. Helping her wrap the baby up when it was time for bed. Being able to offer her a bowl of fruit for dessert after putting Eli to bed, no strings or agenda, because she quite happily ate a very good portion of her supper. Catching one of her little sentences and watching the look of relief and excitement when she hears that I understood what she said.
So, I've got a smile on my face. And with a lot of stuff on my mind, and some pretty scary trials in the lives of some close friends this week, that's refreshing. I know that with the increasing workload coming down the pipeline, and what I've seen and felt in myself lately, I'm vulnerable. This week I decided to try and work my schedule to leave time to make it to a postpartum support group. I called up the health unit to get the details and register. I've put it in my work calendar for the next five weeks, and we'll see how it goes.
Meanwhile, I should sleep well tonight, so long as Eli doesn't start working on tooth number seven tonight. Sweet dreams.

Friday, January 09, 2009

needing to write

I'm almost overwhelmed with the need to write tonight. Oh, I often want to write, long to even. Mostly I take moments to wish I had more time to sit down and enjoy the process of writing. Right now, I should probably be curled up in bed, asleep. In fact, I am in bed. I'd already shut down my laptop downstairs, dutifully checking to see what needs - really needs - doing tonight. Thinking I should take advantage of the Friday night status that means I don't need to have things lined up for the kids in the morning. Thinking I should get to bed early.

But it's been so long since I talked to you all. The kids are growing and changing so fast. Life's progressing, up and down and in and out. And some things go on day after day.
I think, no, I know, that there's one thing that's fired up the need to write in me tonight. I stumbled across a blog the other day while looking up postpartum screening to try and find out what my 'score' meant. Postpartum Progress is written by a woman who suffered from postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder, and who has since become a major advocate around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. I went back there tonight for a closer look. I am so glad I did, and I'll be visiting again. I read only a few brief posts, but I felt tears welling up, and just beginning to spill over. That in itself was actually a good thing. If I'm honest with myself, so much of my energy some days goes into just getting on with what needs doing, and the emotions get kinda buried. Sometimes I've taken the moment and needed to cry, but just couldn't.
I would highly recommend this site to anyone who is dealing with similar struggles, or knows someone who is, or just wants to understand it more. For that matter, even if you just want an example of a brilliant resource blog, check it out.

So, now that I'm writing anyways, here are a few random updates before I call it a night.
Eli is healthy. And growing in so many ways. I took him for his six month shots (yes, he's now seven months, but it's been a little crazy, eh?) on Tuesday. That was also the first time he was weighed since Hallowe'en. He's just shy of a very solid 10 kilos or 22 pounds. That's a gain of 1.6 kg or over three and a half pounds. And at that, he's not super round. He's just big. He's got broad shoulders, if you can believe that in a baby. He's outgrowing things because I can't get both arms in without contorting him horribly. At this point anything I buy is 18 month or more. He's starting to take over Trin's shirts (nothing too girly, guys) almost as fast as she outgrows them. She's 4 times his age, and she's not exactly tiny either! I expect it won't be more than a year or so before he's giving her his hand me downs ;)
Trin's becoming more outgoing these days. As Shannon put it, seeing her this week after two weeks off, her personality is flowering. And I think she's finally over being ticked off at me for having another baby. She never took it out on her little bro, thankfully, but she was definitely unhappy with me about it. I suspect she's still a little unhappy, but now it's more because I don't have the time and energy to be much fun most of the time. Which makes me a little sad of course. But the kids get along. Sometimes, I'm quite sure they're conspiring, or at least sharing some great inside jokes. I'll be halfway down the stairs with one on each hip and they'll start giggling hysterically at each other. Eli's got such an adorable giggle, too.
I've been back at work for a couple of months now. Thankfully, I haven't had a full assignment load, and working from home, it's allowed me to keep a bit more balance. I'm wary, though, as that period of grace may well be coming to an end next week. There's a full time position on another project that I'm being lined up for, with some preliminary work starting right away. It'll be lots of God's grace that'll get me through, then. And I'll need to be pretty assertive at setting expectations up front as far as how much (or little) I can work and when.
Vince has been at his new job for a little over a month now, and is racking up the overtime, which will definitely be helpful in starting to fill in the financial hole we dug ourselves into over the last year or so.
More stats and tidbits. Trin's well on the road to ditching the diaper habit. She's been telling Shannon when she needs to poop (another sort of flowering) at daycare, and I'll be dressing her in her much loved big girl underpants when she's home with me. Eli's got five teeth now, and I'm pretty sure he's working on more again. He can stand holding on to furniture. He can also pull furniture down, like the kitchen chairs and the jolly jumper stand. He's gone from being a 'hold me all day' mama's boy to a 'put me down already' adventurer in the last few weeks. And like his big sister, he's a sweetheart almost all the time, always at daycare, and saves his best tantrums for mama at the end of the day.
I bought a bunch of material at a holiday sale at Fabricland, all cotton stuff for my sensitive skinned boy. Even bought a pattern. With luck I'll get to sewing it for my grand kids. Hmm... maybe I can wrangle Mor-mor into sewing for me....

I know there's more in the corners of my mind, but what's left is wedged in tight for the moment, and I'm all out of ramble. So, for all you hangers on that still check in (or have me on your feeds) thanks for sticking with me, hope this was worth the wait and will satisfy you for what may be another long while.
Good night.