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You can hide behind a smile for only so long.

Look at that face.  How can you not be head over heels for this sweet boy?

I asked myself that yesterday, while I was getting frustrated with my super fussy, not sleeping, very gassy boy for the umpteenth time.  I was struck by my response.  I wasn’t head over heels.  Yes, I love him.  But my heart is not overflowing with deep adoration as it should.  My heart, in fact, just kind of felt dead.

And that’s when it hit me… this is not normal.  These feelings of sadness, of exhaustion, of worry and anxiety, of anger, of emptiness should have past by now.  Here I am, six weeks postpartum.  Those feelings are common after the birth of a child, but not this far past.  They should have calmed down after two weeks.  These feelings are common to me, I have fought them before, but this time I hadn’t opened my eyes to it.  This time, it came on slowly and snowballed until I finally saw it for what it really was: depression.

Postpartum depression.

I have battled the ominous D before, about seven years ago.  I went to therapy, I went on medicine, it was a tough battle, but I plowed through it and got better.  And, occasionally, the depression will rear it’s ugly head every once in a while, but it wasn’t overtaking me.

Until now.

It started with feeling overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed with trying to meet the needs of this tiny being while also trying to raise a toddler who was trying to adjust to someone else getting attention.  Then I started feeling extremely weepy.  I found myself breaking down over absolutely nothing.  I would be playing with Jack and then all of a sudden just bursting into tears.  The poor kid didn’t know how to react.  Then I would get downright angry over little things – if Jack would act out, or if Miles wouldn’t settle down and sleep.  I would yell and get frustrated and feel hatred in my heart towards them.  Then I started to feel anxiety and would wake up in the night in a panic because I thought I had, for some reason, brought Miles to bed with me after a feeding and had rolled on top of him in my sleep and smothered him.  I started not sleeping well when I could sleep.  My mind would be running a million miles a minute worrying about anything and everything.

I also found that I haven’t been interested in much.  I would look around our apartment and see how dirty it was getting and instead of cleaning things I would just feel so overwhelmed that I just couldn’t muster the energy to do anything about it.  I no longer wanted to do anything other than sleep or just sit.  I also haven’t had an appetite.  Everything tastes kind of like cardboard.  I have lost quite a bit of my baby weight already, which you would think was a great thing, but it’s more just because I eat simply out of necessity.

And the thing that frustrates me the most is that I was feeling all of this, but I wasn’t telling my husband.  I thought that this was just something that was going to pass with time.  And it wasn’t like I felt like this all of the time – I have had good days.  Great days, in fact.  But not all of my days are those great days.  A lot of days just aren’t.  I also felt like I needed to buck up and be strong.  It’s my job to take care of these boys, I should be able to do a simple thing like that, right?  I didn’t want Nick to be burdened by this.  He has a full time job, and is taking two classes.  He barely has time to breathe when he gets home at night, he shouldn’t have to shoulder this as well.  I needed to not be broken for him.  At least that’s what I was trying to convince myself of.

But, like I said before, you can only hide behind a smile for so long.  No one could tell I was falling apart – not even my husband, not even me.  But there comes a point where the cracks begin to show.  I had to face this beast head on.

I talked with my doctor today at my six-week postpartum check.  Immediately she knew that I wasn’t just feeling the typical “baby blues”.  She said that even though I felt good part of the time, since I had bad days about 50% of the time, that I was dealing with more, with PPD.  Hearing that, what I already in my heart knew, was still incredibly hard even though I have battled depression before.  I think, “I’m broken, it’s my fault, I should be able to deal with this” even though I know full well that this is a disease just like any other.  I still just can’t wrap my head around it and realize that it’s not my fault.
It’s not my fault.

So, we are going to battle this.  Medication is being started, and a plan to help me get more down time and sleep is being put in place by my amazing husband.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have a partner here to help me instead of trying to tackle it all myself.  It reminds me of one of my favorite songs by folk singer Sandra McCracken:

Trade My Love

As dust on the scales
As grass of the field
So are our days
with the serpent on our heels
The reed is bruised
The sky is cracked
You wear your pain as a veil of black

Proverbs of ashes
Smear you with lies
The one who changed your name has touched your side.
Fortune and favor
You have not known
What is the vine, you have not grown?

I will not sing songs when you’re heavy
I will not speak words to make it clear
I will stay with you and all that you carry
I would trade my love,
for all your fears.

If I speak or refrain
You may not be changed
For your deliverance
your days are arranged
To the roots of the mountains
You sink down
Hurled into the deep,
spit onto the ground

Severe mercy is your one great hope
It is well, it will be well
with your soul

I will not sing songs
I will not speak words
I will stay with you
and all that you carry,
I will trade my love…
For all your fears
I am so glad that I have someone who is so willing to trade his love for my fears.  I would not be able to heal without his love and help.  It kills me that I haven’t shared a lot of this with him – he deserves to be there to help me, but I haven’t allowed him, thinking I needed to shoulder this all by myself.  But no more.  I need to lean on his weight and let him carry me for a while.  I’m lucky that he wants to do that.  I’m a very lucky woman.

One day my heart will be overflowing with adoration for my baby.  One day I will look back on these days and see the progress I have made and look at our family with joy in my heart.  One day I will beat this.

I choose wonder.

In four days (or less), our family of three will have been expanded to a family of four.  I still, even after 9 months of pregnancy, can’t really wrap my head around it.  Even as we have been preparing and spending these last few weeks trying to soak up every moment we have with Jack as an only child, the reality of our second boy’s arrival is tough to grasp.

It seems as though this pregnancy has gone by in the blink of an eye.  With Jack, the newness of experiencing everything, learning how my body was changing, and the sheer fear of the change we were going to experience made everything crawl at a snails pace.  Having three months at home between quitting my job and his arrival certainly didn’t help time go faster.  This time, it seems, has been the complete opposite.  Between chasing a toddler around, a part-time job, and juggling The Fuzzy Robot, time has seemed to escape us.  Didn’t I just find out I was pregnant?  How is it that my belly is now even larger than it was when I was fully pregnant with Jack??  How is it that in just four short days I will have yet another little one demanding my attention?

As I look to Wednesday morning, I’m trying not to have anxiety.  I’m trying to remember that we can do this… we can bring life into this world, we can provide for him, we can love on him, we can raise him to be an amazing man (hopefully).  We have done this before.  But it’s so hard not go into this with the memories of the hard times… the late nights, the exhaustion, the crying, etc.  Instead I should be remembering the joys as well, the soft skin, the baby smell, the sweet sighs, yawns, sneezes… everything so tiny.  Everything so new.  I’m trying not to worry over how Jack will react, or how I will be able to juggle both of them.  I need to push the worry away.

I feel as though this child has been a second thought, that his arrival hasn’t been as celebrated as Jack’s, which I’m sure is pretty normal when there is a 2-year-old that needs attention.  I feel a tad awful about that.  We haven’t had to do much preparation – most of what we need for this baby we already had.  My pregnancy has really been a dream – very smooth with no problems, so it’s been easy to forget about.  I don’t want his birth to be a second thought as well.  I want/hope that my heart will burst with love for him just as much as it did when I first laid eyes on Jack.  I cannot comprehend how I will be able to love both boys, how my heart will have enough room for the both of them, but I know deep down that it will.  I need to stop expecting the hard, and instead start anticipating the miracle, the love, the joy.  And so, from this moment forward, I choose expectation instead of worry.  I choose joy instead of anxiety.  I choose wonder instead of fear.  And when the moment comes, my heart will stretch to fit this new, little life.

Sweet baby boy, I can’t wait to lay my eyes on you, to cuddle you in my arms.  I pray that you will feel loved by us for the rest of your life, that we can help you to see how incredible you are.  Our lives will be so much better with you in it.

Pregnancy with a toddler around is exhausting… add in a growing business (yay!) and you get one tired momma at the end of the day who has no desire to blog.  Big surprise, huh.  And now, we are 17 days away from the arrival of our second boy which means my desire/time to blog will probably decrease exponentially.  But… I’m going to make a big effort to really work on keeping up with you guys weekly.  I want to do at least one Project 365 post, and one post with (hopefully) cohesive thoughts.  I’m crossing my fingers ;).

For now, here are the first week (or so) of pics for this year.  Hope you enjoy!

Happy New Year!  Jack has finally started actually smiling for the camera when we ask him to say “cheese”.  And bring the cheese he does – every smile is a huge goofy one.  He’s becoming quite the character.

After spending the weekend at my parents celebrating a belated Christmas, we came home to find the freezer door had popped open and all of our meat/frozen goods oozing out onto the floor.  So not a good way to come home!  I’m still battling a strange scent from some juice puddles I can’t seem to find.  What upset me more than losing the meat and leftovers we had frozen, was the fact that we had just made a batch of homemade peppermint ice cream that I was so looking forward to enjoying when we got back.  Ugh… still makes me mad.  Stupid freezer.

If you didn’t know, my son is obsessed with cars.  He has so many cars, there’s a basket in our living room full of matchbox cars, and an entire shelving unit in his bedroom closet full of larger cars.  Granny and Grandpa gave Jack this cool rug for his bedroom for him to race all of those cars on.  The kid can’t get enough.

Brushing teeth is a favorite past time in our house these days.  Jack has gotten really good at it (mostly) and only needs a little help from mommy & daddy.  He especially likes rinsing his brush off 15 times and pretending to spit into the sink.

Tonight, we went out to eat at Raising Cane’s.  It looks like Jack is starting to throw a fit here, but really he’s just being a complete ham.  We’ve decided that Jack is going to be the life of the party.  He was laughing and dancing to the music and getting lots of attention and laughs from the people sitting around us.  He definitely has his daddy’s personality.

Another morning at the Lincoln Children’s Museum.  Jack has been pretend playing a lot more lately, and one of his new favorite things to do at LCM is to play at the pizza parlor.  He likes to pretend to eat his “zaza” and sprinkle cheese and ketchup on each slice.  Jack could play in there for a whole hour if I let him, but I can’t quite get my pregnant belly into the booth, so I usually suggest playing with something else after ten minutes!

Today, Nick and I had our last date before the new guy arrives.  We had a great lunch at Red Lobster, and went to see “Black Swan” at the theatre.  In between, we decided to brave the cold and head to the Haymarket to take some maternity pictures.  I never did get a chance to have any official pictures taken when I was pregnant with Jack, and to be honest, we just don’t have the funds to get them done professionally (so expensive!).  So, we decided that since Nick takes pretty good photos himself, we’d just have him take a few and see what came up.  And I’m so glad we did it – I love how they turned out! (even though some make my belly look gargantuan!)  If you’d like to see the rest, go here.
Well, that’s our first week of the year.  Hope you liked it!  And here’s hoping I don’t fall off the bandwagon again :).

Project 365: Week 30

We had a great summertime afternoon.  Instead of just lazing around the house, we decided to get out for a while and have some fun.  First we went to the zoo and looked at animals and played on the playground.  Then, to cool off from the heat, we headed to Dairy Queen!  Yes, we had ice cream for dinner.  And french fries.  We are those parents ;).  It was fabulous.

Monday: no picture.

I’ve been dying to try hand dyeing yarn for the longest time.  I finally went through my stash and found some leftovers of light colored wool yarn from previous projects, and decided to try dyeing them with… kool-aid!  Yep.  It actually works.  All of the yarn in this pic, besides the aqua colored yarn on the end, was white before I started.  The one on the end was actually lime green.  I’m pleased with how it turned out, though such bright colors are not really my style – at least in knitting for myself.  I started on a baby sweater, but don’t really like how it’s turning out and don’t think there is enough yarn to finish… so, I’m going to rip it and start something new.  Any ideas?  I don’t have a lot of yardage – not enough to finish a baby sweater… so maybe a hat?  Mittens?  What say you?

Wednesday: again, no picture.  Lazy.

Ah… beautious.  One of our favorite dinners that Nick and I indulge in every once in a while – D’Leon’s Mexican!  Tacos, a meat & cheese burrito for him, a yummy chicken burrito for me.  Rice.  Beans.  Authentic.  Not Tex/Mex.  YummmmmmmO!

Friday we met up with my good friend from college, Trisha, her three girls, as well as her nephew and neice.  All six kids, two adults, and two coolers full of food packed up in two vehicles and headed for a morning of fun at the Lincoln Children’s Museum.  We only get to see Trisha and her fam every once in a blue moon – maybe once a year as they are living in the DC area.  This was the first time Jack has met the brood.  When we walked into Trisha’s mom’s house, we were met with a lot of chaos – which is pretty normal for a family of three girls under the age of 4.  Jack saw the crying/meltdowns, looked at me, and said “Done!”.  He’s not exactly used to all of that estrogen!  Once we got to the museum, however, everyone played well and had lots of fun.  After a picnic lunch on the veranda and a bit more playing, I took one tuckered out boy home for a well deserved nap.  It was fun to chat with Trisha and learn about having multiple children… it’s always refreshing to see them.

I’m just now realizing that this post is pretty food heavy… but that’s what you get when you read a pregnant woman’s blog.  After being reminded of the great deal at Fazoli’s from last week’s post, we decided to get lunch there again today.  We were pleasantly surprised when we got there that kid’s meals are only $0.99 when purchased with an adult meal.  What a steal!  And, on Tuesdays, kids eat free.  Just a tip for those of you in the Lincoln area.  Who doesn’t love their breadsticks???  Soooo yummy.

Project 365: Week 29

Isn’t this the epitomy of sexiness???  I mean who would not love that face… and that facial hair?  Oiy.

Nick has been sporting this beard in preparation of being a “mountain man” for the hike.  It looked fine on him… but I hated it.  I felt like I was kissing a bear.  It was icky.  And not sexy.  So, he promised me that after the hike he would shave it.

Little did I know that this would be the manner in which he shaved it.

Oiy.

Finally headed home.  Isn’t walking into your familiar and loved home after being away on vacation the best?  Especially when I made sure to have it clean before we took off!

He likes being naked.  I don’t really get why kids (boys especially) like to run around in no clothes… guess it’s the freedom from restriction.  He kept lifting his shirt up to show me his belly, then would clap and cheer.  Goof.

A few weeks ago I had gotten a little coupon thing off of a soda from Fazoli’s that was for a free spaghetti… so, I went expecting only a small/teeny order of spaghetti… but nope… this is what I got instead!  A full sized order with two breadsticks and a free pop.  I was so impressed.  Bubba and I ate good for lunch that day!

When we got back from Colorado, Nick found out he had to work the next three nights running camera for the Lincoln Saltdogs… on top of his regular 9-5 job.  That meant he wasn’t able to see Jack very much, if at all.  So, Jack and I decided to head downtown for a lunch date with Daddy.  And this is the aftermath – one tired, but happy little boy.

How do kids learn to be so goofy???  Jack wanted to sport his new “Blues Clues” slippers Grandma had given him last weekend, and then proceeded to spin in circles and yell with his head thrown back.  What in the world?  There is no shortage of entertainment in this house, that’s for sure.

Another fun morning enjoying the Farmer’s Market – complete with freshly made kettle corn!  It was a super nice, not suffocatingly hot, morning, so we got out of the house for a bit and enjoyed it.

We went to Holmes Lake to get out of the apartment and get some fresh air.  It was a nice, cool, overcast day, and once Jack spotted the water – he headed straight for it.  After getting himself sufficiently wet, we walked around for a while and then went to grab some lunch then back home for a well deserved nap.

Another trip to the Lincoln Childrens’ Museum (boy do I not regret getting a year membership!).  Jack likes to play in the veterinarian’s office – giving each puppy a sloppy kiss on the nose.  I told him that this particular puppy was very thirsty and needed a drink, so he took a nearby medicine bottle and gave him one.  Talk about cute!

I love this photo – a typical afternoon walk in which Jack chases Lily all over the lawn.

Preparing for our four day camping trip in Colorado.  Made this massive batch of trail mix, as well as two batches of granola bars.

Despite a sick boy the day before, we were able to make it to Colorado after leaving Jack with Nick’s parents (luckily his fever had broken when we woke up this morning).  Though it was hard to leave him, I knew he was in good hands and that a vacation away was only going to help me love on him more when we returned.  We took a small hike from our campsite to this beautiful lake.  The water was refreshing and cool, and I spent a lot of time just soaking my feet.  Ah, relaxation!

The day of the big hike.  The boys had been planning this 15+mile hike across two peaks and down a glacier for almost 6 months.  The day finally arrived – it was beautiful out, and though the start was probably different than what they had dreamed about – with two pregnant wives trying to huff it up the mountain.  All four of us made it to treeline on Flattop mountain and ate some lunch before us women turned around and had a relaxing afternoon shopping in Estes Park while the boys kept going.  When we went to pick up the boys later that evening, we were faced with two exhausted and frustrated men – a stark difference from the excited & giddy boys who started out the day.  Running out of water and a taking a few wrong turns made the hike much more difficult than expected, but they made it through alive.  Sore and tired, but alive.

Our last day at Rocky Mountain National Park.  We drove part of the Trail Ridge Road and took it easy during the morning.  Then we drove to Loveland where we had great suites waiting for us at Embassy Suites – had a relaxing evening and a good nights sleep in a real bed.  I think we will do something like this after every camping trip – it was glorious!

Jack’s new favorite past time – stomping in puddles.  It may turn into a soaked child, but the joy on his face is worth it.

We joined a MOPS playgroup at the local spray park… Jack saw the water turn on, went running straight for it, then stopped right in his tracks once he got close.  There are several spouts that spurt up at different intervals and I think he was very unsure of them.  He did find this one that was broken and only spurted out a short fountain.  He, and all the other toddlers, liked splashing around in it.

Jack and  I were waiting outside for Nick to get home so Jack could play with Breana and Nick & I could go out on a date for our anniversary.  I think we were discussing fireworks and the 4th of July, and I’m not exactly sure what Jack was telling me, but I don’t think it was too terribly nice. 🙂

I had been pretty burnt out with Jack this week, so our friends Tyler and Amber were gracious enough to watch Jack for an afternoon so I could go get my hair cut.  I had some time before my appointment, but was at a complete loss of what to do – the first thought that crossed my mind was of all the errands I could run… but after a phone call to Nick who told me to stop being ridiculous and go do something just for me, I went to Ivanna Cone in the Haymarket and had some really yummy ice cream.  After the afternoon was over, I felt a million times better.  Why don’t mom’s (or rather me) do that kind of thing more often??

A fun morning at the farmer’s market – full of kettle corn, egg rolls, lemonade, and people watching.

Nick surprised me with this present for our anniversary.  It took over a week to get here, but when it did, I tore into it and have not stopped reading since.  I have always loved to read – and this will definitely help me to keep reading no matter where I am – it will especially come in handy during those late-night feeding sessions with the new baby.  Isn’t my hubby the best?

Just hanging out, watching Jack’s new obsession – “Cars”.  It warms my heart when he hangs out next to me and feels compelled to touch me and lean on me.  So sweet.

And so… I think we are finally caught up!  Now I just need to keep at it :).