Whew. Made it through the holidays, barely. Harder than I imagined they would be. Owen did surprise us all by sleeping 10 hours on Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas indeed. He then hit a spurt of sleeping 7 or 8 hours in a row each night, then 6, and now we're back to about 3 1/2 hour stints. Meh. He's also been fighting naps, although today he's off to a good start with one (but likely because he had a really, really restless sleep last night. He snorts and grunts and tosses all night long, it sounds like he's so super uncomfortable, but he's asleep almost the whole time, only occasionally wakes himself up; but it's so difficult to sleep when he's doing it, and I can't imagine he's exactly getting a restful night's sleep.)
Owen has turned a lot of corners. He's a pretty cheerful little guy most of the time now - smiling and giggling and he's started to "talk" this week too - making all sorts of new and interesting sounds. He's found his hands and has started to interact with the world in a new way - it's pretty amazing to watch. I try not to worry about him being "behind" in his development - I have to remember he came into this world five weeks early and he's going to do things a little later than other babies his "age." Still, I worry. I worry that he naps too much, then I worry that he doesn't nap enough. I worry that he is pooping too much, then that he hasn't pooped in a few days. I worry that he's not making a lot of noise, then I worry that he's talking too much. That he cries too much, or not enough. It's absolutely exhausting to be me.
I finally made the decision to call my doctor and get some meds. In addition to all the worrying I mentioned above, I've also been having horrible anxiety and panic attacks for a few weeks now, and they are pretty debilitating. I don't feel it's postpartum depression, per se, because it doesn't feel like depression (I don't cry that often even) but it's definitely postpartum anxiety. Like I said, I worry about everything - about Owen dying, about Owen being sick, about trying to take Owen to the store, on an errand, to a friend's house, for a walk - anything. I worry about pumping and going back to work, I worry about our finances, I worry I worry I worry. I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the bottom to fall out from under me (yet again). I pace the house and when I'm not pacing I'm googling rare diseases and disorders that might snatch this beautiful baby out of my arms. But I also had a few episodes where I really panicked, shaking, crying, hyperventilating...and we knew we needed to get me some help. The doctor put me on an AD, which caused some lovely side effects this week (I've only been on a low dose for a week now), including MORE ANXIETY. Oof. So now I wake up at 5:30 am and tremble for a while. Nice. Dr says they'll subside, and they seem to be, but it can't happen soon enough. I really, really, really didn't want to be on meds, but it got to a really scary point just after Christmas where I had a full blown panic attack one morning and finally E sat me down and told me we had no choice but for me to try the meds, basically. I *think* I may be starting to feel a bit more like myself, but I've still got a long way to go.
I mentioned to a friend last night that PPD/PPA is the craziest thing (ha, she said 'crazy!') in that I can really see it for what it is, it's like when you get the flu, you don't suddenly think all your muscles have failed you and you will never not have a fever again, you know you have the flu...similarly, I can feel how this incredibly debilitating anxiety and panic is not me, I know I have ppd/ppa...I just wish it would pass the way the flu does. I hope hope hope the meds help.
I continue to miss Otis and have thoughts of him pop up out of nowhere to bring me to my knees weeping...and that doesn't feel like the ppd/ppa - that feels like good old grief, still sticking around...Just two days ago I was driving home and all of a sudden I had such vivid flashbacks to holding him in the hospital as we said our goodbyes, as his little heart stopped beating, as we rubbed our cheeks on his full head of hair and our tears streamed down his milky white soft skin. My goodness, I miss him so. I want him here. I want him in my arms. I can't believe he's not.
Today Owen is wearing a shirt that was bought for Otis. I put it on him and told him that it was his big brother's shirt. He wears a pair of shoes (slippers?) that my mom gave him for Christmas, and she told him that they were bought for his big brother as well. I wonder how, or if, this will all ever make sense to him when he is old enough to understand.
Last night I was back at work, and E was in charge. Owen needed a bottle and E gave it to him, but even after a full bottle he was inconsolable. I walked in to a semi-frazzled husband and a very sad little boy. His face was all red and his eyes were red and puffy from crying - it broke my heart. I held out my arms and E handed him to me, and the minute he got into my arms his body went soft. His screams turned to whimpers, and then slowed to sighs as he continued to melt into my arms. It was the most intense feeling of "I am his mama." I mean, sure, I get that sense all the time, but this time, it was different. More...I don't know...more tangible. Like he knew my smell, and it was the only thing at that moment that was going to comfort him. Like I hold the key to this little boy's heart, just as he holds the key to mine. That he needs me as much as I need him.
I've always been the one holding the crying baby, passing the baby back to Mama for that consoling that only a mama can provide. Last night, I was that mama, not the one passing the crying baby back. It felt real in a way that so much of this journey so far hasn't.
Crud, baby crying now...must hit post or else it may be another few weeks before I update....