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My Happy Place

I went to Bikram today for the first time in ages. In fact, I think I’ve been a total of twice since I became pregnant with the boy (in 2011). However, even though it’s been about four years since I’ve been and even another year or so before then since I’ve been regularly, it still felt just like coming home.

I was so nervous before – worried about everything from the way I look in my yoga pants to passing out or throwing up in class. The latter didn’t happen and though I didn’t look the way I did the last time I went to class, right when I entered that room and looked at myself in the mirror, all the judgement escaped. I realized that those are the only times I ever feel that way. I’m always so hard on myself, constantly critical. Until, that is, I’m standing in front of a huge mirror with myriad other people in various levels of undress. It’s a bit odd, but I seriously just found my people.

Now, however, I have a headache and I’m really sore.

I can’t wait to keep going and I can’t wait to start feeling that sense of peace within myself outside of the yoga studio and for longer amounts of time. I desperately long for it. Though I feel slightly trepidatious, I also feel pretty excited.

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The Battery Saga Continues

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After all was fine and he was waking up from the anesthesia

When my son was nine months old, he swallowed a disc battery. I had seen it the day before, sitting menacingly towards the back of the cabinet under the bathroom sink and thought to myself, “I must remember to get that”. Of course, we had child locks on the cabinet, but my son was some sort of super baby and could open them (He could also open the baby gate that was guaranteed until two years old…). That morning, having completely forgotten about the battery, I was washing my face and turned for about two seconds to dry my face on the towel hanging on the back of the door. I turned around and slow motion ensued: I could hear myself shouting “no” for far too long and it felt like it took a year to take the two steps necessary to get to where he sat, happily staring me straight in the eye as the battery slipped into his mouth.

For a split second, I was relieved. “Phew,” I thought, “He didn’t choke. He swallowed it”. Then, realization. He swallowed a battery. That can’t be good. Then I did the worst thing a mother can do in any situation ever: I Googled it. If you are reading this and you are a new mother, please, take this advice: Never. Google. Anything. Ever. Seriously, get someone else to do it. I’ve since had my mom look things up for me, or my husband even. It’s not worth the stress. Within two entries, I was sobbing on the floor and holding him, imagining the battery turning on and electrocuting him from the inside (which, apparently is a real thing) or it having gotten stuck on its way down and burning a hole in his esophagus (also, real).

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Baby boy drugged after procedure

In the end, neither of those things happened. But we did have to go to the hospital, where they drugged him, gave him an endoscopy and we had to stay the night. Looking back on it, it was the best possible way to end that scenario. The top endoscopist in the country even happened to be at the hospital that day, so he was able to perform the procedure. At the time, however, it seemed the scariest thing in the entire world. My husband and I clung to each other sobbing the entire day. I will never in my life forget the X-ray that showed us just how pressing of a procedure it was: the battery took up most of his stomach and looked monstrous in there.

So we obviously have gotten completely overly-protective and paranoid about batteries, right?

Ha.

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As he starts to get loopy from drugs

Fast forward two and a half years (more or less) to yesterday. I decide that it’s okay to go to the bathroom and leave my eight month old and three year old (the battery survivor) in their room just up the hall. I leave the door open and instruct the boy to come get me if she was bothering him, etc, thinking the worst thing that could happen would be the little one would grab his trains, he would scream and cry, possibly push her and they would both be crying upon my return. I was half right. He was playing trains and she did try to grab them.

The boy comes running into the bathroom saying, “Look! Thomas is broken!” and sure enough, his motorized Thomas the Tank Engine was broken. Not surprising, as the day before he had a few friends over and they discovered this lovely game of running up and down the hall shrieking as loudly as possible and throwing his trains. Then I noticed the battery was missing. “Oh no! Thomas IS broken,” I say, calmly, “But where is the battery?”. “Izzy’s eating it!” he exclaims, obviously finding it funny.

Panic. “Go get it from her!” I scream, “Go get the battery!”. The little genius runs to the kitchen and attempts to open the cupboard where we keep the new batteries (one of the last cupboards with a working child lock, thankfully). So I jump up (pants around my ankles, of course, because everything has to happen while mom is in the bathroom, right?!) and run to her. She’s happily crawling around at the end of the hall with no battery in sight. I search all around: nothing.

“Impossible”, I think to myself. After all, this isn’t a disc battery. This is a AA battery. She can’t have swallowed it. Especially without making any noise or gagging and throwing up. “Impossible”, I think again.

After repeatedly quizzing my son about what actually happened (who had lost all interest and was not even answering my questions in any coherent way), I promptly forget all about it until my husband comes home and I double check with him. “Impossible”, he says. I text my mom. “Impossible”, she says.

I relax on the sofa and forget about it. Until about 10:00 PM when she suddenly wakes up screaming, obviously uncomfortable. She is straightening her legs, kicking them out, screaming in pain and not nursing. All I can hear, besides her screams, is my little boy’s voice: “Izzy’s eating it!”.

And of course, I lose it. My husband is asking me what we should do and what I think, still declaring it impossible, and all I can think of is never seeing this little girl again. So I find out exactly how I handle a worst-case-scenario: horribly.

Still thinking it impossible, we call an ambulance (which seemed a bit much, but as we don’t have a car and taking the train seemed a bit too relaxed, it was our only option). At this point, of course, she stops screaming. And from the moment we call, through the entire ambulance ride, the check-up, the X-ray, and the taxi back home, she is happy as a clam, chatting away with the “hunky” EMTs (my husband’s word, though they truly were) and “dadada”ing her way around the hospital, waving to all and sundry. I’m pretty sure they all thought I was mental.

But I could still hear my son’s voice and so I just had to know for sure.

In the end, of course, it was nothing. We still cannot find this battery, but it isn’t inside her. At one point, though, when I told the doctor that my son had swallowed a battery before, I immediately regretted it, thinking he would instantly initiate an investigation with the German CPS and they would take my children from me because I was inept, incompetent – who has TWO children swallow batteries?

Well, thankfully, not me.

Like she just don't care...

Like she just don’t care…

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Today is Just as Good as Tomorrow and Tomorrow is Just as Good as Monday 

 

This is not me. Nor is it a realistic portrayal of anyone actually meditating.

 
Read that title again. Bam. Mind blown, right? You’re welcome. And yes, you can quote me. 

Okay, so it didn’t really come from me and the idea isn’t completely unique, either. A friend who’s a personal trainer said it to me when we were talking about my exercise regimen. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I’ve since lied to her a few times about having accomplished said regimen, when in fact, I’ve done nothing. Though I haven’t reaped the benefits as of yet, what she said really stuck with me, and though I don’t recall her exact quote, it’s turned into what I’ve written in the title: Today is just as good as tomorrow and tomorrow is just as good as Monday. 

I’m pretty sure it has something to do with not being a perfectionist. Or not putting off things that are important. Or something. 

Like I said, this hasn’t yet inspired me to start exercising (Though, I will. I’m starting Monday. I kid, I kid.), but it has inspired me. Oddly enough, that and a post I read on Elephant Journal (I’m not going to link it today because I’ve already read my 3 free articles for the day. If I remember, I’ll come back and link it. It’s definitely better reading than this post.) has inspired me to start meditating. Now. As in, I just did. For all of 5 minutes. On a Tuesday. #winning

I’m embarking on a journey that has been long overdue and that has been on my mind for some time. My soul is not at peace. And I don’t mean the sort of peace that comes with enlightenment or anything. I mean, I am not okay. Im not okay with God, with life, or with myself. I don’t handle stress well. I’m having major physical problems and lack the will power to do anything to change what’s causing the problems. I’m impatient and out-of-control. And I’m spiraling. Furthermore, if I’m really honest, I don’t know how much more I can take. I haven’t actually thought about killing myself, as the idea of leaving my children without their mother makes me want to climb into bed with each of them right now and kiss every inch of their beautiful selves, but I know that those thoughts will come if I let this go on. I’m stuck in all the horrible traps that most people in this modern age are (according to any hippie magazine, at least): addictive behaviors, inflammatory diet, wallowing in negativity, excessive self-involvement/ego and anger. I’m angry at myself, at my husband, my son and daughter, my parents, my friends, strangers I pass on the street, but most of all, I think, I’m angry at God. 

So, I’ve been slowly working my way up to doing something about it. And I really do mean slowly. But that’s okay. Because today is also as good as yesterday, I hear. Okay, I’ve never heard that and just made it up, but I’m sure it’s also true. 

So here we go. 30 days of meditating. NO EXCUSES. No judgment, no expectations and no dogma (of my own invention). 

How did the first night go, you ask? Well, I’ve already learned one thing: the bedroom of your child who has a cold is not the best location to choose. Every sniffle and cough had me opening my eyes, no matter what I told myself about letting sleeping babies lie (Or something. I’m continuing with the cliché theme.). 

Beyond that, I felt a bit silly and yet really amazing for doing it. Just the act of sitting and straightening my back into proper posture felt like the promise of relief to come. 

I tried to delve into love. I realized, if I know what I’m missing – this joyful, unconditional true love that I can almost imagine, then that means I must have felt it before. Which means it’s real. Which maybe means God is real and perhaps He hasn’t abandoned me. 

Anyway, nothing too deep to report. I basically started writing this post in my head about 30 seconds in and kept trying to bring my attention back to my breath… But I sort of wish I hadn’t because what I wrote then is waaaay better than what I’m writing now. Regardless, I shall continue. For 29 more days. 

Not Monday, but tomorrow. 

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To Add Insult to Injury

I’m so tired, I laughed out loud at this after googling “insomnia”…

Now I can’t sleep! For the first two months of my newborn daughter’s life, I was falling asleep everywhere (as most mothers of a newborn and a toddler are, I’m sure): in the rocker nursing, on the sofa watching Monsters, Inc, on the futon reading the boy a story, occasionally in bed and again, every night, at least twice, in the rocker nursing. Now, insomnia has joined the already amazing party of depression, anxiety and stress. Welcome, old friend.

My nine week old baby (today) slept six and a half hours in a row last night. That should be cause for celebration. I should feel like the most well-rested, happy mom that ever was. Instead, it took me about an hour of that to fall asleep and then I woke up about five times for about ten minutes or so each and then, when she did finally wake up at 4:15, I couldn’t fall back asleep.

FOUR FIFTEEN IN THE MORNING.

Just letting that sink in. I nursed her for about 45 minutes and got caught up with the world (cough. Facebook.), then lay in bed for what seemed like an infinity pondering every conceivable thing I could possibly have on my mind for half an hour until finally, like a grown up, I got up.

This is the first time I have ever gotten up when I had insomnia. Usually I stay in bed hating myself – thinking about how amazing it is that when I open my eyes, my whole body feels like lead and all I want to do most in the world is close them so that I, the most tired person ever, can go to sleep, yet when I close my eyes, I’m solving world hunger and mapping out my whole life for the next ten years and really I should get up and write this down before it’s all gone (Hint: it’s all gone.).

I settled for tea and toast and reading a bit.

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Postpartum

I really didn’t think postpartum depression would be an issue for me – mainly because I’m already depressed. How could you have two forms of depression? Well, it turns out, you can. Postpartum, it seems, is much more physical. Or perhaps that’s just because it’s anxiety? Really, I don’t even know how to write about this because I don’t even know how to feel about it. Frankly, I don’t understand how to even feel it, let alone analyze or describe it. It’s new, and different. And with my history of depression and anxiety, I wasn’t expecting that. I was completely sidelined.

People keep saying to me that I’m just being too hard on myself and expecting perfection and having two kids is supposed to be hard. I know that it is. But, even though the boy is in Kita, I still can’t seem to function. Even though the girl sleeps pretty well at night, I still don’t seem rested and up to the task of caring for them. My nerves are on edge. Just a little whine or cry sets me off and I am horrified to find myself thinking about shaking her or throwing her or punching him or just leaving them on the train platform and walking away. Now, scary as that may sound (and believe me, it scares me), I know that I’m still “together” enough not to actually do those things. But it is still pretty scary. And horrible. I look at their little faces and my heart breaks because I love them so much that I just can’t.

I wake up and try to prepare myself to have a good day. After all, I’m pretty lucky. My husband takes the wild child to school every morning so that I can sleep in with the baby. I have a cleaner that comes once a week. My husband will also pick up the slack in the evenings: he makes dinner, he cleans the kitchen, and takes over caring for the boy. Literally ALL I have to do is get out of the house around midday to pick up the boy, get home, put him down for a nap and put on a movie when he wakes up (or better yet, actually play with him, but that’s another level entirely). That’s it. I should be able to handle that. And some days I can. Occasionally I can even do it without breaking down and crying.

But most days, she doesn’t cooperate. Or he doesn’t. She would usually fall asleep on the way to pick him up – Great! Then, there is something about his school that wakes her up. Always. So I try to put his coat on and get him out the door as quickly as possible so that the movement of the stroller/carrier (I’m willing to try anything) will lull her back to sleep quickly so that I can give some attention to poor little boy who I love so much I start crying just thinking about it. However, said beautiful little boy rarely cooperated. He would lag. He would stop to look at sticks. He would try and run in puddles. It would be raining and of course he won’t carry his umbrella or keep his hood up. It would end in her screaming and then him screaming as well, seemingly trying to match her in volume, all to get my attention.

I bought a double stroller. That solved the problem with him, yet she still wakes up and cries and then he cries. And then I cry. On the train. In public. In the rain.

Often, she falls asleep again before we get home and I put him to bed fine and honestly, the rest of the day could proceed well. But it doesn’t. Because that in and of itself is enough to completely destroy me. I’m shattered for the rest of the day. So that when, during our movie (AKA my minimal parenting time), she wakes up and I have to feed her, I sob when he looks at her and moves slightly away. Then of course, he starts crying and saying, “Stop, mommy. Stop. It’s OK. Stop, mommy.”, which just makes me cry all the more.

Those are good days. When she sleeps. When it isn’t raining or snowing so much that taking her out isn’t just ridiculous.

I’m so tired. My body feels slack, like there is nothing holding my shoulders up above my back and head up on my neck. I have actually body aches like flu symptoms and searing headaches.The instant the baby cries, I start having a panic attack. Yet I try my best to smile at my boy and tell him it’ll be fine and that his baby sister just cries sometimes and that that is OK. And it is in that trying that I lose it. It is somehow that trying that is too much for my heart.

Apparently my husband, who doesn’t understand at all and who is getting more and more frustrated with me and with whom I have resorted to communicating with in either passive aggressive or defensive snaps and snarls, was worried enough to call my mom. So she flew out. Which helps, in that I now have time to sit here and drink tea and write this while someone else tries to put my two beautiful children to sleep. And I’m eating much better. But I’m still crying. And I the baby crying or fussing still makes me so anxious, my stomach hurts. And my little boy’s face still breaks my heart.

I have called my midwife and emailed a therapist. I am going to call my doctor tomorrow, but I don’t have a lot of hope that this will be cleared up. And I really worry about what it’s doing to my marriage.

But then, I worry about everything.