19.11.14

Light.

Today I had to call 911.

It's not because I heard a gunshot or wrapped my car around a tree or anything..

My kid is apparently allergic to bananas (wtf?  bananas?)

Her histamine reaction was a little too drastic to ignore and I don't own any Benadryl, having absolutely no family history -and therefore no knowledge, really- of allergies.  I was told by the nurses' hotline, who I called about the hives, to call 911 and get some help to be safe.  

No matter how much I consciously and intellectually knew that P was going to be fine... tears still stung my eyes and the air I tried to breathe caught in my throat, waiting for me to try and swallow.  Every day I'm afraid of something terrible happening.  That those I love so dearly will be hurt or taken from me.  Dialling the numbers and asking for an ambulance was the realisation of the ghoulish thoughts that plague my mind on a daily basis.  Its kept me awake.  My trembling voice sputtering out my address... the whole thing.  So today, even though it was okay, today was like my worst nightmare had come to life.

This feeling of dread, the constant fear of dramatically tragic things happening at any moment, I'm told this is something called anxiety.  It hasn't really been a major player in my life I think, but as I'm writing this I'm reminded of how terrified I was to drive after a major car accident I was in.  How I only ever saw flashes of crashing and dying.  The impact so seared my memory it would be impossible to forget how it felt to be so thoroughly out of control.  Sometimes the flashes happened even outside of cars.  

Then I had a baby.  I watched out for post-partum depression because I know it strikes those who have a history of depression... but it never really came.  I honestly felt fine for a good few months.  But eventually I couldn't fall asleep again (my insomnia was cured by pregnancy *insert smiley face*) for the worries and the heaviness in my chest and the constant lump in my throat.  I dread going to bed because I have to wade through a thick bog of my own worst fears:  tragic loss, pain and loneliness, just to reach slumber.

From some of the reading I've done... it seems that this is somewhat normal for women who have babies but they're not exactly fresh off the press.  Whether it is to do with the hormones from altering the breastfeeding to incorporate solid food (Thank you Cup Of Jo for talking openly about that sort of thing), or if its just my body chemistry at this stage... regardless of what exactly is the cause, something has happened.

I will call this an introduction to a world that I hope I never need to visit again.  I feel that what happened around a week ago was a real anxiety attack.  I know just like I knew I was in labour.  If you have to ask "is this it?"  it probably isn't.  But this was it.  Like someone turned down the speed of my heart by half a beat and my hands and feet felt numb... tingly.  A 100 pound bag of bricks lay on my chest, inhibiting my ability to draw breath.  I pulled in air as best I could like I had just run a few sets of stairs, but I was actually lying down unable to move.

Being out of control in that way... my own body somehow turning against me, it was... it IS terrifying.  Truthfully, it frightens me now just to think of it happening again.  I'm desperately hoping that it won't.  Maybe that is why I am writing this down.  Some kind of outlet so my mind has a distraction other than stirring up my entire body into a heart attack like frenzy.

Its working, I think.  So bear with me, internet.  

I'll get real therapy, I'm sure.  But for now, I want to sleep.  So I had to get this out in front of me.  

I hope if anyone reading this has ever experienced, or is experiencing post-partum (or any kind I guess) anxiety... find some sort of comfort or validation that someone else is right in the middle of it too.  I want to talk about it.  Its part of my post baby body.  Like my shorter hair cut and the extra skin around my midsection.  Also my weak, popping knees.  There are a lot of things that still continue to heal after one gives birth.  Some of them annoying, unhelpful, unavoidable... Others are treatable.  This is one of them, I believe.   

Because darkness cannot overcome light.  

Light is not happiness and rainbows.  
Its not the power of positive thinking.  
It is honesty.  
It is opening up a window to see what really is.

So I'm letting the light in... you might see some dirty dishes lying around.  

30.10.14

I Seriously Need a New Camera Charger.

I couldn't sleep last night.

It seems ironic, doesn't it?  That as soon as my baby begins to sleep for (knock on wood oh please don't let this jinx it) longer stretches that could be described as *gasp*  sleeping through the night; it is I who can't seem to shut my eyes and drift away.  So many things zoom past the back of my lids in those twilight (er- midnight) hours.  And I have a confession:

I'm think afraid of absolutely everything.

Except aliens...

Nope, now that I just thought about aliens I'm kind of also terrified of them.

I've heard this is the mantra of motherhood... That once you have a baby you become this pile of pyjama pants and worry.  And while I don't particularly have anything against pyjama pants, I feel that I'm just better served by no pants at all.  Then again, the scurrying frantically to clothe my lower half that happens when I buzz someone in downstairs on short notice is as inconvenient as it is entertaining for you to envisage right now.  So possibly I should rethink the pyjama pants.  But oh boy do I have the worry down pat.

I'm wondering for parents of older children... does this ever go away?  Is there a magical age where you stop worrying so much?  When you have a second baby does the worry compound or is it the same?  

Worry is one thing, but then there is the alien thing... I'm just afraid of everything.  Fear and worry.  Like a stack of bricks a mile high pressing down on the very middle of my chest making me catch my breath and swallow a hundred times to get rid of the lump in my throat.  Google says this is anxiety, but what does one do to fix it?  I don't think I'm so acute that I experience 'attacks'?  My anxiety is lower in degree... but stretches over such a wide variety of subjects.  Cars, bridges, the middle east, poison, someone stealing my baby, SIDS...

See, immediately people who don't experience a lot of actual anxiety will put together a list of reasons why, rationally, I shouldn't be so afraid of any of those things.  Statistics, safety measures and just plain geography put them in the 'extremely highly unlikely to happen' category.  But for those who experience, even a little, true anxiety... you've already prepared your own very similar list.  Reasons why you should not be as terrified as you are, lying in bed, desperate for rest.  I spend most of the emotional and mental energy I'm given every day overriding my fear and getting in a moving vehicle, crossing a bridge, and enjoying my baby.  I muster as much will as I can to force out the damning possibilities.  Because I'm being stupid.  My daughter is happy, healthy and I won't fall in front of a bus.

Its not that I don't have the facts...  I have them.  I just have to wilfully use them on myself constantly.

Here is the thing:  All that energy I use to evict the stupid fear... that energy was meant for remembering what day it is, or emptying the dishwasher, or cleaning the bathroom.  I need everything I have in my brain to keep functioning effectively.  But I don't.  There are wide gaping holes where I should have more to give... but I just haven't got it.  I slump down on the couch because I'm tired.  Because I don't sleep well.  Because there is so much that I didn't do today.


Somehow, though, after I've admitted all this in writing, I feel marginally better.  I looked outside my window and there is some sun peeking through... the day is getting a little brighter... I'm having a new bed delivered today, finishing planning my darling friend's baby shower (which is Sunday...waaaaaaat!?) and doing my diaper laundry.  Which, as weird as it sounds, really always relaxes me... 


Apologies for no new pictures.  I currently have no way to charge my own camera because moving countries... wait, that happened almost a year ago.  Adding to list:  get Canadian camera charger.

14.10.14

-Carpe Diem>>

I haven't written in awhile, because frankly, everything is on repeat.  Feed. Hug. Change. Kiss. Laundry. Snuggle. Clean some things.  I constantly need to look at the bottom of my screen for todays date but that is pretty impressive because there were/are times when I can't even tell you the current month if I'm not given enough time to ponder.  It is October which basically means its Christmas.  We are suffering from terrible whiplash for all that's happened in these past 6 months.  Reece has got his permanent residency, his drivers license, we became parents, we bought and sold two cars (major eye-roll).  I have tried to keep up with some things that make me feel human, an individual, rather than a one stop living breathing 24/7 supermarket.  So I pick up my sewing machine or my knitting needles here and there and try to stay sane.  Also I try not make a huge mess.  Unfortunately without much success.

We have gained good friends... and suddenly lost a dear one as well.  There is a different type of grief when you're too far away to do anything.  To say anything.  Because it doesn't feel real.  It won't feel real until one day when we visit SA again and everyone is together except for one.  A piece is missing.  Then the final link connects.  Loss is no longer suspended or pending like the restaurant tip on a credit card bill.  But until then, I think we both just feel mystified.  Nothing changes for us.  And that makes me feel guilty...  and guilty is like breathing for moms.  So look at me go.  

So meet with your friends.  Take lots of pictures.  Eat dinner together more often.  Because you have no idea how much time you really have on the clock.   Also because babies grow so fast.  Sometimes videos you take in the morning make you reminiscent in the afternoon.  Its craziness.

Following the heaviness of my pondering, allow offer some cute pictures of Piper (5 months) and Everett (17 months), her long time bestie and the giver of arguably the most adorable hugs.  Thanks Katrina Massey for the pics, once again.  You nailed it.  







And then some of her post-thanksgiving-mashed-potatoes.  Apparently they weren't sufficient, but the table made a nice top up.






xx


5.8.14

The Fourth Trimester.

So people say that pregnancy has 4 trimesters.  Labour lasts ages longer than the few days that we all scream for drugs and ice chips.  I didn't really get it until my baby was over a month old.

So Piper was kind of an angel.  I was told that this is just a 'newborn thing'  that all babies are easy when all they do is sleep and eat and poop contentedly.  I think not.  I've heard some nasty stories about babies right off the starting block.  Nights of waking and days of crying.  This was not my experience.

I was duped.  Tricked.  Teased into believing that I had a 'good baby'.  Inwardly I breathed a sigh of relief even though on the outside every night I had my supplies next to my bed for when I had to get up in the night.  Glass of water, spit blankets and cell phone.

Just in case.

But that just in case hardly ever happened.  By the time she was a week old,  she was sleeping 5 hour stretches and I hardly had use for my 'just in case' stash.  I was feeling more rested and stronger each day to face all of the feeding I had to do.  It was hard, but I was doing it.

Then somehow... after like 8 weeks or so...  Everything changed.  Everything.

By everything, by the way, I mean that my baby no longer slept the night.  She no longer even just stirred for food and passed out right away after.  She began to fuss, cry and just generally express contempt for her current situation.  

Seriously?  But... she was sleeping... and then in the morning we played... then she slept some more...  wha?

Where did my baby go?  No, not this red faced screaming thing.  I want the sweet sleepy one.  The one that has no interest in my face at 3am.  That is the kind of baby I like.

That is the baby I thought I had.

Noooooooo.  

Not so.

So this is my thought.  First, I blame teething (yes, my three month old is getting teeth... you can think I'm nuts, but I can SEE THEM.)

Teething sucks at this age because, bless her soul, Piper kind of sucks at picking things up.  Opposable thumbs are a mystery to her miniature brain.  So its endless hours of frustration cries all for the want of something to OM NOM.

Second I blame all the brain development.

Look it up, babies grow a crap load during these first few months of life.  They go from little squishy zombies to tiny humans with words and mobility so quickly that it basically drives them to tears of anger and frustration every so often.  Like growing pains... but on the brain.  Its awful.

So I'm tired.  She's apparently grumpy-tired but doesn't sleep like it.  Were all just doing what we can to survive right now... Though were technically out of the 'fourth trimester', it doesn't appear to work precisely that way in real life.  Maybe parenting is just plain hard.

That means I have this giant pile of laundry next to me and nothing is happening about it till tomorrow.

Apologies for the lack of photos in this post.  Better luck next time.

PS:  I still want to name and shame the judgy people I've come across since my baptism into motherhood (quite literally).  But seeing as I failed to collect their names... there will be mostly just shaming.  I hope you look forward to it as much as I do.

26.6.14

-- Mama Diaries >> Piper Valentina. Month Two.


I'm just going to bullet point some interesting facts about life as of late.  Because I'm still apparently trying to shake my life up and down to see if therein lies some sort of purpose, direction or answers.  Confidence?  Knowledge?  Organic, Non-Toxic, Hippie Mom Power?  
(Please,  my kid wears disposables and my recycling habits... are less frequent than my blogging habits.  Do the math.)


Currently, I'm watching the last soft beams of light as they pour through the blinds in my living room and the cool night air mingles with sounds of the street at 8:27pm.

My daughter is asleep.  

I love saying that.  My daughter.

I relish each moment speaking to someone official on the phone (doctor, nurse, and various receptionists for miscellaneous government departments)

My daughter, Piper.


She's two months old today.  My girl with the eyes like her dad, nose like her mom, and hair like a tiger.  The super platinum blonde bits are coming in but the lightening ginger chunks remain for the time being... creating this wonderfully adorable stripe effect... a la tiger.  Or calico kitten.  Something.  Anyway.


Piper knows about fists.  She can make them AND she can salivate all over them with pure satisfaction and delight illuminating her.


Part two on Piper's fists:  she, just today, learned to punch things.  Particularly a green frog named Freddy by Auntie Bestie Cait. 




Piper has been smiling pretty much since she entered this world... but it always felt a little robotic.  Like she was mastering the art before understanding the sentiment.  For the last two or three weeks her eyes light up in the morning when we release her from her swaddle (during which time we are appropriately singing "Release Me") and she gives a few joyful gum displays... But just in the last few days she has decided that the world deserves to see her smile all day long.  So when she is awake, oh my.  Prepare to scoop up your heart with a ladle.  Because it will melt like a popsicle in Dubai.  Make that ANYTHING in Dubai.  




These pictures, again, by the great and talented Katrina Massey were taken around a week ago.  She has already changed so much!  I really need to get the hang of blogging in a more timely fashion; I honestly tried to keep the number down... but there are many more that I didn't include just in the interest of not being obnoxious posting over 50 images.  Leave em wanting more and all that...


More later on strollers and random people at Wal Mart judging me.  The strollers weren't judging.  Just the randoms.

7.6.14

12 day old Pipes and a trip into the evil, germy public.


Bonjour internet.


Back when we were but 12 days old, mama felt suddenly ill and had to go to a walk in clinic.  This moment is a sad face moment because bringing a brand spanking new baby into the public is moderately terrifying, I think, for all mothers.  I took my Pipes with me into a room full of people with suspicious coughs and fevers and itches.  It was awful, gut-wrenching and I most definitely did cry.  In the end (after like 3 hours of waiting) I was fine. Turns out you're not supposed to haul your baby on foot more than 1km less than two weeks after they vacate your body.  Its not like they just GIVE you that vital info right after you push the little sucker out.  Hmph.  Something about common sense.  Whatever.  So the previous residence of my adorable little tenant was complaining about excess abuse.  Oops.  Mama was getting stir crazy.  Sorry.



After wiping up my snot, finishing my Starbucks and checking for the 25 000th time that my precious babe was breathing, Katrina and I went back to my house and took pictures.  Because I was going to be fine and Piper was back in our own family germs instead of ugly, public, west-nile-virus-ey germs.



Finally, a whole month later, my dear people who read this small corner of world wide web, this is us.  Piper and I.  We spend the day at home with mostly greasy hair, wearing clothes that are a lot more comfortable than they are attractive.  No makeup, because we ran out months ago and baby things are more important than face gunk.  This is what moms look like.  Sometimes we dress up and go out and pretend that we totally wear real clothes all day long and actually do our hair.  When really its a top knot to avoid hair pulling and some coconut oil to soothe the mysterious face rash.  I know.  So not glamorous.  But she is beautiful, no?  Worth every penny and every patch of skin as dry as Nevada.  Not Nivea.  Nevada.  The desert one.

Thanks Katrina Massey for the photos.  
And for sitting and waiting with me for hours in Starbucks.  <3 p="">



28.5.14

One Month. Cue More Expletives.

Well, my little girl is a whole month old now.  

I used to measure the days she had been on this earth... when her birth was still so fresh on my body and in my mind.  I remembered the agony well but I was proud of this little thing I accomplished.  We made such a great team, she and I.


Now she's seen every single day of the week.  More than once.  Piper knows about Mondays.  She knows about the weekend.  She loves to sleep good on the weekend because she loves chillin with her pops.


Piper loves baths.  Piper does not love bubbles in her face.


Piper loves long walks.

Piper loves to eat.  Piper will eat anywhere.  Just today she was eating while I walked down to the parking garage to let someone in.  She eats at Starbucks.  Any coffee shop really... Piper is not brand loyal.  Nothing will stop my little piglet from getting whats hers.

This month she has gained more than two pounds, she can hold her head up for a frightfully long while. And she snores.  Like a trucker.


She's snoring while I write this brief post to let the interwebs know that I am capable of doing something productive while having a child.  So there.  Take that.  Now to quickly publish before she wakes up.  Because Piper doesn't stand for late meals.  Won't be having one bit of that nonesense.