Archive for May, 2012

You Gotta Keep ‘Em Medicated

Sorry for the bad Offspring reference, but it was the mid ’90s when that song began annoying the public and when I finally came out of the closet (to a select few). To what do I owe my crawl into the light? Well, to be as honest as I always try to be on this blog… Prozac. It was the mid-’90s! I was closeted and depressed. Did I really have a choice?!

The reason I share this blast from the past is because I have, as many, kept my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drug taking under wraps, and I have recently found myself back on the prescriber’s couch. To what do I owe this rededication to medication, as it were? Postpartum anxiety. I’ll say it again… We’re told to take classes on childbirth, but no one and nothing prepares you for the postpartum experience. And similar to my days among my many hangered plaid flannel shirts, postpartum issues are never discussed. At least no one ever discussed them with me, and I was wholly unprepared.

So, to make a 17 year story of making Eli Lilly and Pfizer rich short, Prozac did wonders for me at 19 but pooped out by 30. I dabbled irresponsibly with other types of antidepressants and with taking myself off of them over the years, but I have been mostly medicated most of the time. When we were to begin trying to conceive those many years ago, I did the responsible thing and found a prescriber who specialized in pregnancy and nursing. She put me on Zoloft because it had the lowest rates of transference to the fetus and through breast milk. Once I found out I was pregnant those few years later, I took myself down 50mg with the totally made-up and statistically unsound notion that I would somehow reduce the risk of our baby having a cleft palate (by 25% anyway). I didn’t notice a difference because I was ridiculously nauseated throughout my entire pregnancy and miserable anyway.

Jump to the past 5 months. I’ve been one anxious mommy! I chalked it up to basic postpartum anxieties that surely every new mom experiences. But what I couldn’t see through the sleep deprived haze is that I was more than sufficiently anxious, which actually contributed to my lack of sleep. For example, K and I and Josie would be out at a restaurant. Josie would be all smiles, and I would be cursing the waiter under my breath because he was taking too long with our food, check, etc. Because I just knew at any moment Josie’s smiles would turn into guttural screams. We’d ruin all the other patrons’ dinners. So by worrying excessively about it, I got to ruin ours instead. Over and over. In diverse scenarios. I chalked this up to my being in pain and not wanting to have to bounce Josie until I was raw, but this made no sense since K was with me and doing the baby wearing.

What I learned from the prescriber is that I was in a spiral of fear and anxiety and sleep deprivation, and the best way for me (again, for me) to turn it around was to go back up on my Zoloft and take Adavan for sleep. I was extremely resistant to try this — resistant even going to see a professional. But my lovely K stuck to her guns (i.e., kindness and support) and got me in. If I have been a pill popper so long, why did I protest? Well, the irresponsible measures I mentioned earlier included going off and starting drugs via samples with no supervision. I had a few bad reactions that, to put it over-dramatically, killed off a bit of my soul each time. The last thing I wanted was to have a similar experience while living with a baby. Luckily, nothing of the wicked sort has occurred.

And now, my next installment of FOG (Funny or Gross)!
First, a FOGy declaration: I never thought I would be so tired that I’d happily curl up and try to get some sleep on the very spot where a human just peed. (Note: I made this human, but I’m not sure that changes anything.)
Second, a FOGy question: On a scale of “It ain’t no thang” to “Oh, that’s bad” — how much worse is it to appear in public with face hickeys than shoulder, collar bone or wrist hickeys (even if it’s abundantly clear that said hickeys were made by the human I made)?

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We Can Work It Out

Work.

It was bound to come up sooner or later. K started back to work a month ago, and it’s been brutal. We’ve figured out that it takes at least 3 adults to take care of 1 infant. On the days K is gone for 8 hours, I’ve tried to wrangle friends to hang out with me and Josie. Sometimes it’s great; Josie is all smiles and naps. Other times she acts like these friends (sometimes the same ones!) are there to torture her and cries to look at them (which she can’t help doing over and over). I’ve tried going to “groups” but am often more exhausted from wearing and bouncing her the whole time than if we’d stayed home where I could be worn out in private (and cry if I want to).

I recently had the opportunity to take on a small freelance editing job. It was right up my alley. But then I had one of those days with Josie (actually two in a row); I was a wreck physically and emotionally (there’s nothing quite like when a baby finds her angry scream!). I ended up turning it down even though we could for sure use the money and I need to get back to doing what I like for work, rather than what I’ve been doing for 3 years (teaching online). The person said she’d be happy to work with me in the future, when I’m ready. But, of course, I still felt like a failure for turning down one little job and feel like it’s crazy to imagine there will be a time when Josie will “let” me work.

You see, our daughter will not nap, and now she’s gotten to waking up every, I don’t know, half hour to scream until I put I boob in it. If she could find it on her own and I could sleep through, that’d be great. But she can’t and neither can I. It’s constant waking…to the point of sleep deprivation torture. I know it could just be a stage or teething or who knows what. But it soooks! As I say often to K (it’s my postpartum mantra), this is unsustainable!

We’ve talked books and theories and timing and routines and swaddling and dangling from the ceiling, etc., whatever it would take to get her to sleep for longer stretches (even the old 2-hour ones we used to curse!). Nothing works, and I am sick of trying. We resorted to giving her the dreaded formula last night, thinking it would fill her tummy and help her sleep longer. Oh, no. She was on the boob right after. And on and off as usual throughout the night. So much for corn syrup! My mom being here right now is my only saving grace. And thinking that maybe, some month, Josie will change.

One piece of advice I’ve gotten recently that I do appreciate (however fantastical it is) is to do more self care and that this will somehow via magic unicorns and confetti translate to an easier go. So I got a massage last week. And another today. I’ve been in so much pain (just the regular body pain of having a baby, in addition to, of course, the special sliced and diced down-under kind), I have a hard time sleeping even when she is. Sometimes the pain killers help, but mostly I lie there thinking at the pain, “If I was really tired I could sleep through you!” I’m sure that’s it; I just haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Luckily, the massages have felt really good. The one yesterday was a sliding-scale Thai massage where the practitioner makes you into a pretzel and stretches out the tight spots. Hurts so god — a bit like fighting fire with fire.

Today I went to work on rebuilding my pelvic floor muscles and reconnecting my abdominals. I’ve been going once a week for over a month, and my diastasis has improved quite a bit. It’s still three fingers wide around the belly button area, but it’s much shallower all the way from top to bottom. I was expressing a little frustration to the pilates instructor I’m working with who said that as long as I’m nursing Josie, the relaxin in my system will keep things loose and my body won’t be able to “come back together” all the way. It was kind of good and bad to hear that. At first I thought, “Well, what’s all this working out for? How can I, or anyone, take care of a growing baby without certain muscles intact?” Then I thought, “Phew! I don’t have to get it perfect yet.”

Before I sign off, I want to introduce a new blog feature called FOG (Funny or Gross). When Josie was smaller and K and I were new to sleep deprivation, we thought we were the funniest people in the world. We’d make things up or just say (whisper) them on accident and crack up while trying not to disturb the almost-sleeping baby. As Josie is growing and doing more things with her body, I have to wonder: is that funny or gross? For example, Josie has been getting very good with her hands. I was leaning over and kissing her belly area when she hooked my nostrils with two of her fingers, bowling ball style, and pulled my face up to hers so she could eat it (my face). I thought it was hysterical. Later, when I was in bed, I moved my face muscles and felt my skin crack where the entire day’s saliva had dried. Again, I laughed. Am I still suffering from the sleep deprivation sense of humor? More FOG to come…


(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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