Friday, October 28, 2011


I don't want to jinx it but we've had a good couple of days.  And I only mean "a couple" in the truest sense of the word: at most, 2 days.  But...I feel like I'm getting to know Owen better and learning what makes him tick and learning his cries, his needs, his sounds and well as learning my own ways and how they help and hinder me when he's having a tough time.  I also am amazed at what a little sleep can do - even if it's only in 2 1/2 hour spurts, but if I chain three or four of those spurts together it makes me a whole lot saner.  Owen seems to be settling into a bit of a night time pattern too, (well, do two or three nights make a pattern?) so that's been helpful for me since I'm so neurotic about predictability and patterns and routines.

I cut cow's milk dairy out of my diet and he's been so much less gassy/burpy/farty/agonizing/screaming that I really do think it makes a difference.  I *hope* it makes a difference - it would be really nice to have a concrete idea of "this helps" rather than just trying everything at random.  His rash/acne/eczema has also started to clear since I cut the dairy out as well, so I think he really may be sensitive to it.

Yesterday I went for my 6 week postpartum visit (still a bit early, I'm only 5 1/2 weeks pp) and the doctor gave me a clean bill of health - my incision has healed well, yadda yadda.  When we were leaving the building, there was a truck parked outside the office that said OTIS along the side of it and I swear their logo looked SO MUCH like a dandelion.  It made me smile, big.

In other news, my bff (or one of them) told me yesterday that her husband has a tumor in his jaw.  He had testicular cancer about 8 years ago so we are all really hoping and praying that this is not a recurrence.  He goes for a biopsy next week, please keep your fingers crossed.  It also helps to explain why she's been pretty absent from helping with Owen this month, as they've been caught in CT scans and MRIs and a whole lot of scariness. I'm really ready to have a few months in a row where I stop shaking my fists at the heavens and shouting about how crappy life can be sometimes, by the way.

I have to start making plans to go back to work.  I can't believe it.  I so wish we could swing it otherwise but it's just not in our cards.  It looks like the week before Thanksgiving will be my first week back (very part time) and we'll take it from there (the kids all have the week of Thanksgiving off, so that week I will be home as well).  I don't know how it's going to work but I have to have some faith that it will somehow.

OK, baby is calling.  Thanks for all the love and support.  I really am around and reading your blogs and I apologize for not commenting, it's just hard to type a comment on my phone with one hand.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Briefly 10.22.11

I went to a support group on Tuesday for postpartum anxiety and depression.  The woman sitting next to me was there because she was breastfeeding her daughter two weeks ago and when she stopped nursing, she looked down and her baby was blue.  Her husband did CPR and brought the baby back and she lived, but the mama is having horrible anxiety (obviously.)  They are saying it was a "pre-SIDS event" and that it was a result of "silent reflux" - ummm....not the best fodder for my own anxiety, eh?   I didn't exactly leave the group feeling supported...just more anxious.

Owen is a fussy baby.  Colicky, perhaps, the doctors tell us.  Though what is colic, other than the medical definition of "3 hours of crying 3 days a week for over 3 weeks"?  Sounds just like parameters, not a diagnosis that is treatable.  Yes, we are doing all the 5 S's, yes we are trying to eliminate foods from my diet, yes, yes, and yes - we are trying almost everything that has been suggested.  With limited success.  Some days are great, some are impossibly challenging. And, yeah, silent reflux is a possibility.  Everyone keeps telling me "this baby is here to stay" and I try to believe them but sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me.

In spite of all this, I'm doing okay, believe it or not, still sleeping in two to three hour spurts but it is beginning to be more manageable.  I am not quite as paralyzed or crippled as I was a week ago, but I still feel like I'm *still* climbing a mountain that puts Kilimanjaro stacked on top of Everest look like a molehill.

We've had four earthquakes in the last two days here, and our house is no more than 4 miles from the epicenter.  They've scared the crap out of me.  One of them, in the midst of Owen's 8 hour crying jag on Thursday, caused a bonafide panic attack that made E call in reinforcements (my brother came over, bounced O on the bouncy ball while I spoke to the advice nurse about colic...)  I've been through two really nasty earthquakes in my life (89 SF, 94 LA) and I totally have residual trauma memories from them.  I hate the way they come out of nowhere and make you literally question the ground you stand upon.  Kind of like babyloss.  Totally unpredictable, knocks you on your ass and sends you reeling in a way you never thought was possible.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Monsoon 10.16.11

--A bit scared to hit "publish" on this post, but figured I need to come clean with the nitty gritty and down and dirty of my parenting after loss experience.--

I am totally and completely overwhelmed.

With love for this little peanut that entered our life four weeks ago today.

And with sadness for my little big man who left our world one year and five weeks ago today.

And with fatigue, with confusion, with feeling like a total and complete and utter failure - I was talking with a friend today and agreed with her when she said she feels like every mother deserves a HUGE FUCKING MEDAL for making it through the first weeks (months? years?) with a newborn.  I don't know how so many of you have done it/are doing it - competently even - I am barely keeping my head above water.

(This is not an exaggeration.  The extent of my "successes" for the day were:  calling my therapist and getting an appointment to see her on Wednesday (haven't seen her since two weeks before Owen was born); calling my doctor and getting in to go to a peripartum depression group and a consult appointment for possible meds evaluation; calling our health insurance and trying to deal with adding Owen to our coverage (why is that not automatic, seriously, paperwork with my level of brain fog is excruciating); getting my tortoise to finally eat (he's been on a hunger strike for like a week or two?), feeding myself a burrito at 4:30 pm (my first meal of the day), changing a zillion diapers and nursing a very fussy baby a zillion and two times.  I am still in yesterday's yoga pants, I can't tell you when I last showered (Saturday?), my neighbors can probably smell me at this point.  I haven't slept more than an hour or two in our bed in days (Owen seems to only sleep if he's held, so it's the big easy chair in our bedroom for the two of us every night lately.))

Anyhow, lest any of this be seen as complaining, it's not.  I know how lucky I am to have this little beautiful being here at home and in my arms.  I stare at him and marvel at how amazing he is.  And yet, I can't seem to pull it together to leave the house, to get dressed, to find a way to sleep, to take care of basic self-care right now.  I cry a lot.  A LOT.  I become anxious about doing anything new with the baby - I worry he's going to suffocate in his moby wrap.  I worry he's dressed too warmly, too coldly.  I worry that he's got a fever.  I worry that he's eating too much, or not enough.  Same with sleep.  He's got a bad case of baby acne, but I keep worrying "what if it's not baby acne but actually some rare disease that's going to kill him?"  I see how exasperated everyone is with me and my anxiety - I see how paralyzed I am - but I'm not sure how to break myself of it.  (That's why I enlisted help today, calling the doctors and my therapist, btw.  Pay someone who is makes a profession out of helping women in my shoes to help me.) I know what a treasure I have here with me right now - I just can't quite access the joy that I think I'm supposed to be feeling about all of it.

I feel so overwhelmed, like such a phony, like an impostor who doesn't really deserve to have a living baby here at home with her, and who is failing miserably at this parenting after loss gig.  At it's worst, which it was the other night, I sobbed to E, "I feel like maybe Otis knew what he was doing, deciding to leave us..."

(Note to those of you panicking about me: I know Otis didn't "choose" to leave us.  I also am safe, I am not interested in harming myself or the baby (yes, I was asked this question a few times today by a few different professionals) and I know I will survive this.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Time flies.

Babyboy is growing fast, and the days and nights blur past us.  This is HARD work, much harder than I ever anticipated.  Both the grieving for what we lost with Otis, and the learning curve with raising this little guy...I am so swamped, so much of the time.  Doing my best to keep my head above water, but it's not easy.  We've had help lined up (family and friends) and like 90% of them seem to have gotten sick the day before they were scheduled to help out, so we end up fending without them.  Plus, this baby came a month early.  We had NOTHING, literally, NOTHING, set up for him.  I hadn't let myself even think through the "what if he gets to come home with us?" questions yet.  Needless to say, there's a lot to set up, a lot to learn, and I've got a huge incision across my belly and was in a fair amount of discomfort for at least the first week in my recovery that prevented me from doing much other than nursing and sleeping.

Not to mention (TMI, sorry) we had quite a scare on Sunday night when my bleeding picked up significantly and then I passed a large piece of "retained tissue."  You'd think with a c-section they'd get all that out easily - not so much.  Apparently with preterm babies it can be more common that a chunk of membranes/placenta gets left behind.  Ewww.  Not to mention super scary.  I'm fine now, just a little rattled by the whole thing.

When does this get easier, by the way?

I'm madly in love with this little boy, I stare at his lips and his nose and lose myself for hours...I still can't believe he's here.  I also miss being pregnant.  I feel cheated in many ways of those last few weeks, though I also know I was also probably lucky to not have had to endure the anxiety of the last weeks of a pregnancy.  I'm so thankful he was born healthy even at 35 1/2 weeks, that his jaundice cleared rapidly and he's growing like a champ.  We still have to deal with a few "preterm" concerns and are maybe more cautious than we would be if he were born at term, but for the most part, we're super lucky that he's as healthy as he is.

From my bed, I can see a photograph of Otis.  I lie there, nursing Owen, and my gaze goes between my two sons.  They have so many similar features, there are times when Owen is asleep that I panic because I get a flash of Otis, of our last moments with him.  But Otis was such a big boy, and Owen is so tiny still.  I still can't grasp how my sturdy man, my big strong baby boy with a head full of hair, isn't here with us - I know I never will.  I miss him so much, every day.  Putting Owen's clothes away into Otis's dresser was probably one of the hardest moments so far.  "I was JUST DOING THIS, JUST DOING THIS..." I kept crying and repeating.  It seems like just yesterday, there I was, eagerly awaiting Otis's arrival, tidying and readying for him, picturing him in all the outfits, dreaming dreams for our family...and now I do the same for his brother, and yet with a constant tinge of fear, anxiety, sadness that I wouldn't wish on any new mother.  Oh Otis, I miss you.  I wish you were here with us.

I'm reading along with your blogs still, just unable to write much because I'm usually one or no-handed. Thanks for abiding.  xo