Sunday, May 20, 2007

Surviving Single-Parenthood

I'm on my third day of four days of single parenthood. I can't say that I've done very well. No shower. I think I brushed my teeth once or twice. If I can't do it with a baby in one arm, it just doesn't get done. Not to mention that I've experienced every symptom of post-partum depression in one form or another. No, things have not been going well. My newborn seems to get more high-maintenance every day. This morning, though, we had a sort of a breakthrough.

A little background first... Before G was born I read all the books and did all the research and decided that we would go the co-sleeping, baby-wearing route. About 3 days into the parenthood thing, the co-sleeping thing went out the door. I quickly figured out it just wasn't for us. We moved her into the crib in her own room and she has been a great sleeper ever since. More and more, though, I am realizing what a different baby Katherine is and this morning I brought her to bed with me. We both slept a solid 3 hours and I woke up feeling like a different person. I can't decide now what I want to do. I am tempted to bring her to bed tonight, if for no other reason than to get a good night's sleep and try and get out of this deep, dark, black funk that I'm in. On the other hand, my general motto with kids is to start as you intend to finish. In other words, I have this real fear that if I let Katherine in my bed at this point, she'll still be there when she's 20. I know it's an irrational fear but since when are depressed people rational?

I did a fair amount of carrying G around in the Baby Bjorn when she was small. I am definitely doing it more with Katherine. She just does not like to be put down.

On that note, someone just woke up and wants feeding.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One of those days

Last night I had to take a Benadryl to ward off the start of a sinus thing. I hesitated to take it because Katherine was having one of "those" nights where she decided to be fussy and wake up every half hour. By 8am this morning I felt like a train had run over me. Probably should have stayed home and slept but we had promised Gracie we would go do something fun so we did. By lunch time I was still tired but felt like I might make it through the day. We got home and put Gracie in her room for her "rest" and I fed and changed Katherine and then laid down for mine. 10 minutes later Katherine was crying again so we repeated the feed. I laid down again. 10 minutes later J's phone rang (he had it set at full volume) which woke everyone up. I went back to sleep for about 10 minutes when Katherine woke up again. At that point I totally gave up on a nap. I fed Katherine and put her in her swing and proceeded to clean up G's play room, a project I have been wanting to tackle for some time now. Of course, an hour later Katherine was still sleeping peacefully and G was ready to get up but by golly I have a clean play room now. Here's hoping that both my sinuses and Katherine behave themselves tonight and let me get some sleep. J leaves this evening to go back to work for 4 days. Here comes the true test of single-parenting a toddler and infant!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

3 Weeks

My best friend left last night after a great visit and I am really missing her today. The first day she was here she took my two and her 4 year old to the park and I got to take a nap. I truly thought I wasn't all that tired until I woke up and realized how hard I had slept. I took a nap every day after that! The next day she cleaned my house. She swept, mopped, vacuumed, and cleaned all the bathrooms and the kitchen. I'm not a neat freak but I do like things clean and tidy. I can't tell you how much better I felt to walk around in a clean house. The next day she spent cooking. Every time I go to the basement now I open my chest freezer and just gaze inside. I have enough food to last me at least 2 months. Plus she brought me some of her favorite recipe books with easy casseroles marked for when I start cooking again. The other two days she was here we spent just having fun and getting me out and about. I was sad to see her go.

In other news, my bathroom claims that I only have 6 pounds to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Where all those extra pounds went I have no idea. I feel like I've been on a non-stop eating binge for the last 3 weeks. Nearly everyone who brought food also brought some sort of desert so it's not like I haven't been indulging in chocolate cake. I'm already wearing a lot of my regular skirts which didn't happen with Gracie until she was 3 months old. I'm not complaining, mind you; I just really wonder where it all went. Maybe when I start exercising in a couple of weeks I can actually lose that 5-10# that I wanted to lose before I got pregnant!

I talked with my friend a little about post-partum depression. After she had her 4th child she got pretty severe PPD. She swears by St. John's Wort; she said it took about 3 weeks but when it kicked in it cured her of the worst of the symptoms. I've been doing a little research and am leaning towards trying it. I want to discuss it with my midwife and get her take. Have any of you had any experience with it or know someone who does?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2 Weeks

Yesterday my baby turned 2 weeks old. It was also her official due date. Wow - it really does seem like she's been here longer!

My doula came yesterday for a post-partum visit. She brought gifts for the baby and Gracie and also a nicely printed birth story for me. Since she got there just as Katherine was crowning, I was curious to see how she would make a birth story out of it. She did a really good job and wrote in the form of a letter from her to the baby and it was really nicely done.

Physically I am feeling pretty darn good these days. I'm still taking it pretty easy. The only bad thing is that I am either starting to get a yeast infection or one of my stitches is getting a little infected. Yesterday I started taking acidophilus in earnest and today it seems to be a bit better, so maybe I've headed it off at the pass. In retrospect, with all the high-powered antibiotics I was on in the hospital, I should have started the acidophilus as soon as I got home.

Emotionally I am also doing pretty well. It's been a week since my last "episode" (as J calls them, the attack of the aliens) and I'm happy about that. There have been a few times that I felt like I would succumb to another episode of depression but I have been able to quickly get on top of it, which tells me that they are not nearly as bad as I've had in the past.

Katherine continues to have her days and nights mixed up. The really strange thing is that I'm not more physically exhausted. Last night I got in bed about 11 and she woke up just shy of every two hours. But she's only awake for about 20 minutes and then I'm back in bed. I got up around 8 this morning feeling tired but not as exhausted as you would think. Still, I'll be ready for an afternoon nap!

This is going to be my first full day alone with both girls. J left at 5 this morning to work on his airplane with some friends. He has a function to attend tonight so he probably won't be home till well after Gracie's bedtime. But my fridge is stocked with food and the house is reasonably clean so all I have to worry about is taking care of the three of us. I am even entertaining the notion of taking us all to have lunch in the park. I mean, if I'm on my own I might as well do it up big!

My best friend arrives here on Thursday and I am so looking forward to it. I am mainly anticipating having conversation time with another adult. I think that right now for me is even more important than getting sleep in terms of heading off the depression.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I loved this article titled:
Stay-at-home mom’s work worth $138,095
Annual amount she’d earn as a housekeeper, cook and psychologist

I liked the concept of the article, not so much for the dollar amount (like anyone is actually going to send me a paycheck for what I do) but for the list of all the jobs that we as Moms do. I think the job list applies whether you work at home or outside of it. For a while now I have entertained the thought of adding a section to my resume for these years of staying at home and list all the various things I do. I mean, it's a valid job, right? And a lot of what I do at home would directly transfer over to a job situation, such as organizing and managing and teaching. Now excuse me while I go wipe the puke off my glasses and change a dirty diaper. And figure out how that translates to resume experience.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Change in tactics

I've been thinking a lot lately about what to do with this blog. According to the title, I should have closed up shop with my BFP last year. I know a lot of you who read and follow my story are in your own struggle to TTC which makes me think maybe I should end it here. But I find that blogging really helps me sort out things and makes things somewhat clearer for me. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a good tool in my battle against the post-partum depression that I can't help but believe is coming. So I've decided to keep the blog and unapologetically change the focus to the ins and outs of raising my two beautiful girls. I'm keeping my blogroll up to date and I will be following all the stories that I have for the past almost 2 years. I hope someone out there will continue to benefit from my journey.

If my little Gracie had been as good a baby as Katherine, I would have ordered up at least 2 more just like her. Granted, she's still got her days and nights mixed up. But the only time she cries is when she's hungry or trying to burb. She's content to sit in the swing or the pak-n-play or even lay on the bathroom floor while I shower. I am probably jinxing things but so far she is just a really good, laid back kid.

Gracie, on the other hand..... I knew having a sibling would be tough on her. I knew it would take me time to recover and that other people would have to give her the attention she was used to and that it wouldn't be the amount she was used to. Over the past almost two weeks I've made lots of excuses for her. Today, however, was my breaking point and at the end of the day I finally admitted to J the inevitable truth: we've got a royal brat on our hands. I told him no more excuses for the situation. It is what it is and she needs to learn to accept it. Obviously our approach so far has not helped. Time for Mama to get mean. No, not mean. Strict.

I've always watched with a certain amount of trepidation some parent-child encounters. You know what I mean; you've seen them too.
Mom: stop that
kid: [continues]
Mom: stop that or I'm going to [spank, timeout, whatever]
kid: [continues]
Mom: you really need to stop that
ad infinitum
Today I realized that I was in a loop like that with Gracie. No wonder she turned into a spoiled brat overnight. She can do whatever she likes with no consequences and she's determined to take full advantage of it. No more. Tomorrow is a whole new day and a whole new Mama. Poor kid.

In other news, my stitches seem to be healing. At least, they're itching like heck. I didn't have stitches with G but I'm assuming the itching is normal. Physically I feel almost normal, if a little sleep deprived. But not terribly sleep-deprived; nothing that an afternoon nap can't cure. If only G hadn't just given hers up. Today I took one anyway and put a movie on for her. I came down two hours later to discover that she had been at my desk and ate a chunk out of my glue stick. Yep. Ate it. I think I should be more worried about what's in my child's stomach and if I hadn't told her at least a million and one times not to touch anything there I might be more concerned. She seemed mightily pleased with herself to be telling me she ate it. I almost wish it had glued her mouth shut for a while.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Busy Day

Let's see... woke up this morning and had breakfast. Showered. Had fast food lunch at the park and hung out there for almost 2 hours soaking up the sun and taking a bit of a nap. Came home and sat around all afternoon. And guess what? I'm exhausted! Last night J took Katherine and I got a 3 hour stretch of sleep. What luxury. I guess tonight will probably be my night and I'm rather dreading it. She wakes up at night every hour to hour and a half. Considering that feedings take 20-30 minutes, I don't get much sleep in between. When I went through this with G, it seemed like eternity stretched before me and I often felt like I would never again get a good nights' sleep and that really contributed to the depression. This time around I know there's an end in sight. I'm hoping Katherine will be as good a sleeper as G and have a solid schedule by 12 months.

Speaking of sleep, I've given up on G's afternoon nap. The last few days I put her in her room about 2pm and she will play until about 4:30 or so. Then she falls asleep and wants to sleep till 6pm or later and she's really grumpy. Since I never seem to catch her before she actually falls asleep too late, I've decided to just forgo the nap and see how that goes. So much for afternoon alone time! I find I'm looking forward already to the start of preschool when I can hopefully have some morning alone time!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A post about food

Katherine went for a weigh-in today and I'm happy to report that she is now one ounce over her birth weight. My SIL says that babies don't usually get back to their birth weight until closer to 2 weeks. So that made me very, very happy. Apparently she is getting more milk than I think.

I am getting help this week in the form of meals from my Mothers of Preschoolers group. I would never have guessed what a huge help that would be. Someone brings something every other day around dinner time and the off days we have plenty of leftovers. The only other pressing chore that absolutely has to get done is laundry and J and I are working that out pretty well. Oh, and I have also left all the dishes to him to do and he hasn't complained about that once! Anything else in the house is basically just not getting done but I'm trying not to lose any sleep over it!

Thanks for all the encouraging comments about my depression. Last night was a black episode and J is now calling it the attack of my aliens. I suppose it is rather like being possessed. My doula called the other day to check up on me and immediately she asked me how I was handling my depression; apparently it was that evident from my voice. She has pointed me in the direction of some local resources which I'll pursue as I am able to.