About That Hernia

So I have a hernia.

Well, I guess I don’t anymore. Friday I had it repaired. I don’t recommend having a hernia.

I first noticed mine when I was pregnant with Alice. It was a hard bump right above my belly button that was really tender. I figured that it was an elbow or knee or heel or something since I was carrying her super high.

2015-02-04 12.21.48

After she was born, it was still pretty tender. When I put the boys to bed, I sit in Eddie’s bed and Charlie sits in my lap and likes to lean his head back against me. There were times when I thought I was going to jump through the bunk bed with pain.

One night, I walked upstairs pushing around on the tender spot. I noticed a lump in there and made Cortney push it too. He said, “you’re going to get that checked out, right?”

INSERT GIANT SIGH.

I hate getting stuff “checked out,” but I messaged my doc. Um, so I have this lump type thing above my belly button and it hurts a ton and Cortney said I had to ask you about it.

His response was something like, Could be a hernia? I’d have to see it. You should come in.

So after a few more weeks of putting it off, I finally call and of course can’t get in to see my doctor for like six months or something because his schedule is so packed. I reluctantly agree to see another provider. This was in April or May. So you know, I put up with this hurting lump for over a year at this point. Also at this point, I am coming home from work feeling horrible. Carrying anything against my torso feels like death and it’s all bloated and hurting.

My appointment with this provider lasts less than 10 minutes. She has me lie back, pokes around my owie lump thing and says, “yup. an umbilical hernia. We’ll get you a surgery consult.”

I’m like, “wait. I need surgery?”

And she’s all, “Well, you need it fixed or it’s going to get worse and then bad things happen.”

That was it.

So naturally I put the surgery consult off until school was out. When I finally went in, my hernia wasn’t bugging me much anymore, but the surgeon took a poke at it and said, “yup. Let’s fix that.” He also told me that hernias poke out of weak areas, and that it was probably a birth defect that I just hadn’t noticed until my third pregnancy finally put enough pressure on it that a little bit of my intestines started to bulge through.

I asked if it was an emergency situation. He said, no, but that I would want to get it taken care of.

That was in June. Again, I put the actual surgery off until, well, this past Friday.

2016-08-05 14.02.22

I walked in feeling fine. My hernia hadn’t bothered me even a little all summer. I felt dumb for going in and I knew that this would inconvenience a lot of people, but mostly Cortney. I was told firmly to stop saying it was dumb and to just get it taken care of.

So I did.

Well, the team of docs and nurses did. I just laid there unconscious.

I was in quite a bit of pain the first 24 hours, but now that I am past 48 hours, I am doing better. I am at that point where I want to do more than my body will let me. I’m sick of being in bed, but it’s where I feel best and where no children (um, Alice) are crawling all over me putting knees and elbows into my very tender torso.

I ate dinner at the table tonight rather than in bed, and I’m not icing my incision area anymore. I’m also trying not to take the prescription drugs and just do the OTC stuff.

It’s definitely an easier process than after a C-section, but it’s still abdominal surgery and I’m trying to remember that I need to give my body time to rest and heal. I’m just not a very patient person when I feel like I should feel better and I want to do more than just lie around.

2016-08-07 10.11.39

The kids are being troopers, Cortney is being amazing, and I’ve had lots of great texts from friends and family showing their love.

I’ll be back at it sooner than later, until then I will try to relax and let my body heal without pushing it to do too much.

I Got You

This one goes out to you, Kim.

By the time you read this post, you will probably have read Lauren‘s and Miranda‘s.  And by this time, there might be others too.

You know we are telling you that we love you.

You know we wish we could help.

But here is the thing.

I’m not going to be we for a second.

I’m just going to be Katie.

You are my friend.

No, we have never met “in real life.”

No, I don’t know what your voice sounds like.

No, I have never watched you go from serious to a huge smile.

But….

BUT…

I have read your words.

I have seen pictures of you.

And you are my friend.

I don’t have a ton of close friends.  (Shut up, I don’t).

But those who are my close friends?  Know I can’t sleep or eat or function well when they are hurting.

They know I will do anything in my power to help.  Even if the only help I can bring is an inappropriate giggle.

Last night I tossed and turned thinking about where you were.  How you were.

I would dream of looking for you.

I checked my phone each time I woke up.

No Kim.

I cried silently when I thought of what “could” be.

I asked Cort if I was crazy since I didn’t technically know you.

He said, “of course not.  She is your friend.”

Yes.  You are.

My friend.

Why yes, you ARE on the wall-o-friends

And as my friend you have taught me to laugh at the bad in life.  Not because it’s funny, but because it’s our defense against it.  Bad hates laughter.  And we can bring the laughs.

As my friend you have shown me it’s ok to not be perfect…because that is more fun.

As my friend you have cheered my sorry ass on when I thought PPD and just life would win.  You made me realize there is too much going for me to stay in my hole.

You have showed me what a fighter is.

Right now?  You are finding it hard to fight.

You trained me.  Let me fight for you.

Or?  Let this guy fight for you.

hey pretty lady...let me take care of that for you.

and?  since I love you so much.  I had this made for you.  I will mail it soon, but here is a preview.

to be worn as a protective sheild against the evil world

Kim?  You are my friend.

I love you.

I am here for you, girl.  I got you.

And so does the rest of the bloggy world.

dear me…

Dear Self…

It’s been a year, my friend.

A year since you felt that you were caving in to what you thought was a weakness…an embarrassing flaw.

A year since you read Emily‘s blog post about not feeling right after having a baby and tried to brush away the fact that all the commenters suggesting she seek help?  Were talking to you too.

A year since Cort read the post and thought it rung true for you too.

A year since you sat and had yet another horrible ugly cry meltdown in your brown chair, and since Cortney sat across from you and suggested you call the doctor.

A year since the call.

A year since the visit.

A year since the first little pill.

It would be two more months yet before I could admit this to the world, but at least I had admitted it to myself.  And to Cort.

It would be even longer before you would decide you also needed AND wanted to talk to a therapist, but by then you had discovered that you were not, in fact, blogging in isolation…there was an entire world…blogasphere, if you will…out there.

You made very close friends because of your postpartum depression.  Not only did people in your life come forward in emails and private asides about their struggles, but you met Casey (through Emily) who let you know you aren’t alone.

And from there you met Katherine and Lauren and Miranda and Grace and Kimberly and Amy–women who have become so very important to your daily life.  They are you…us.  They have shown you that they are us and are successful, and have downfalls and bad days, but they bounce back.  And so can we.

In this past year you…

…have learned to communicate better with Cort.

…found patience you didn’t know you had.

…been able to work through Eddie’s meltdowns instead of having one of your own.

…stopped bottling your feelings because you were afraid of them.

…accepted that you have something chemically different in your brain now than you did before.

…realized you can’t “do it all”…at least not alone.

…have tried to become a voice for all those who feel the way you do…who have traveled your path…but are silent.

…have started to accept yourself.

You have come so far.  I am proud of you in so many ways.  And so are others.  Cortney, you families, your friends…they love to see YOU.

It’s not over, though.

You didn’t hit the year mark and get a nice release form to turn in stamped “DONE”.

This is not over.

Your anxiety is back and you may be dealing with depression for the rest of your life.  Right now you are struggling with this.  You need to accept that this is what it is.  Life is different now, but those things don’t define you.

You have the tools to get through the rough parts now.

Cortney has a new job.  The transition is much harder for you than you would like to admit to people.

He has always been home to make your world less chaotic.  Of the 21 months that you have had a child together?  He has been home for 17 of them.

You feel completely thrown into whirlwind of utter confusion.  You feel lonely and abandoned.

This is the anxiety talking.

You can do this.  You just need to adjust.  And it’s TOTALLY OK to need an adjustment period.  DO NOT feel bad about that.

You also need to forgive yourself.

Yes, your undiagnosed PPD made you all crazy and mean and awful to be around.

But you got help.

Everyone has forgiven you.

Even those you were the worst to.  Yes, even Cort and your mom have forgiven you.

You need to let go of how terrible you were.  You need to let it go so you can go forward.

They have let it go.  They never EVER hold it against you.  You need to stop holding it against yourself.

Friend, you are not “fixed”.  Some things can’t be “fixed”.

But you are better.  You have survived.

You are a survivor.

And you will, in the immortal words of Beyonce, keep on survivin’.

Love,  Me

a packaged deal

I have had enough.

I am ready to purge.  To get rid of that which I do not need.

I am at my wit’s end with this and I am going to dump it.

I’m going to put it out there away from me, and hopefully someone stops by and picks it up.  Not for themselves, but to take away from me.

I mean, I guess if you are a masochist you could keep these things.  I suppose. And there will be a few of you I suppose.

But I am done with this stuff.

DONE.

In fact, I don’t remember ever wanting these things.  They just showed up.  And now I can’t GIVE them away.

But I am still trying.

So, that being said, the first item I am listing here is the a like-new Case of Guilt (made just for me by PPD, but is easily transferable to your particular needs).

The adhesive on this Case of Guilt is like new.  Seriously.  I realize it has been stuck to me for about twenty months now, but it hasn’t lost any of its cling. I am fairly sure–although I have long since lost the original paperwork–that it was was made with molasses combined with a super spray adhesive for extra powerful binding ability.

Or perhaps there is cement in there.  Like I said, I don’t have the original paperwork…only that which I could find on Google.

Either way?  It still sticks.

Also this particular brand of Case of Guilt is extremely emphatic.  It comes with a special built-in amplifying system to avoid ignored missed messages from the guilt.  So even if you are sitting in a loud movie without your kids?  You will definitely hear the Guilt booming right over the loudest theatrical gun battles telling you that you should be home being a more involved parent to your children.

PPD brand Case of Guilt also comes with a self-charging battery so it will never die on you when you want it to need it. In fact, in the almost two years that I have owned it?  It has never ever needed its batteries replaced.  It came with a lifetime guarantee to ALWAYS be there (the guarantee is transferable, by the way, so we can take care of that upon exchange).

It has unfortunately never failed me.  Even when I have been at work making money to feed my family?  It is there reminding me that I am not with my son.  It is never-ending and persistent. You can count on that.

I am throwing in two other items with this Case of Guilt:

Unreasonable Self-Doubt and Uncontrollable Paranoia

Both are also PPD brand and 100% compatible with the Case of Guilt.  In fact, the Self-Doubt and Paranoia were originally marketed as accessories to the Mom Guilt, but I am offering them all as a package deal.

Both are being offered as-is, although they have very little wear that is noticeable.

The Unreasonable Self-Doubt is scheduled to coincide when the Case of Guilt clicks on letting you know you are not living up to what people want.  Immediately the Self-Doubt will begin breaking down your confidence leaving you with virtually nothing to grasp onto that seems worthwhile.

The Uncontrollable Paranoia is meant to trigger the Case of Guilt.  It’s like a fail-safe for the Guilt.  The Guilt has never failed, but in the case that it shows signs of not igniting?  The Paranoia will guarantee it.

The entire package is being offered for FREE.

I do not want anything PPD Brand in my life anymore.

If interested, it will be on the curb.  Because that is where it has been kicked to.

it’s all about me

Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight.

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I am busy.

I am up and out of the house by 6:45am each morning  (earlier if there is a meeting or bad weather threatening my commute).

I teach from 7:30-2:30 with no planning period and only 25 minutes for lunch.

There are usually students in my classroom from 2:30 until around 4:00 working on absent work, getting help, or retaking failed tests.

It’s difficult for me to get out of the door by 4:30pm so that I can be home in time for Cort to leave for his night class.

And once I am home, I am in charge of Eddie until bedtime at 8:00pm

Me time?  Is hard to come by these days. At least not without loads of mom guilt with it.

But if there is one thing I have learned from my ppd support groups, it’s that if I want to continue my healing, I have to cut out some me time every single day.

So every day, after I tuck Eddie into bed but before Cort gets home from class, I take my laptop and cuddle into my big brown chair.

My laptop is my me time when I am at home.  It’s where I read and connect and write.  I can get lost for an hour  in chatting with my friends and writing what’s on my heart.

I have found that my at home me time is not always enough though.  You see, other than when Cort has class?  I am never alone in our house.

Since Cort is unemployed and Eddie is a toddler, when I have days off from school?  They are here with me.

I have to carve out “away” me time too.  For my sanity.

That is why at least once a month I try to carve out a Friday night with friends.

To be honest?  I always dread the night out.

Not when I plan it…then I am excited about it.

But as it approaches I start to dread my time away.  The mom guilt and the wife guilt set in.  I worry about being too tired and not any fun.

I am always, ALWAYS wrong.

Getting out of the house with my girls is always good for me.  It reminds me that I am not just a mom.  I am not just a wife.  I am a friend too.  And I am Kate.

When I am reminded of who I am?  I am a better mom…and wife.

How do you find time for yourself?  Do you get the mom guilt thrown at you too?

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Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

just right

Sometimes…

it’s the little things…

like gifts from friends…

O Canada...how i love your treats...

freshly painted toenails and sipping wine with your husband…

do these feet say "let me entertain you?" like the color's name says?

trips to the bookstore…

i may have a wide variety of interests right now

tiny reminders…

yeah, I know. I just have to open my laptop!

lunch with no flying food or tantrums…

mmmm...best. bread. ever.

my favorite flowers…

and yes, I kissed him on his two-lips when he gave these to me.

little hands wanting to make letters…

E...D...D...I...E...

a reminder that someone is getting a cousin (or two) very soon!

hooray for cousins...

wait...does this mean I have to share Granny?

And my two very best guys…

handsome and cutie

…to make me feel like everything in this world is just the way it’s supposed to be.

that everything is just right.

——-

interested in the journey and adventure of Eddie’s cousin(s) coming home?  Check out Cort’s sister’s blog for more details.

Buh Bye PPD

Today is my friend Lauren’s birthday.

She is one of the most beautiful women I know.  She is also a fierce advocate for postpartum disorders.  When I first told my story on the blog, and tweeted about it, she found me.  She invited me to #ppdchat on Mondays.  She helped me to understand what I had.

So many others were there too.  Because I opened up, I found Amber and Miranda and Katherine and Grace and Blair and Kimberly and Alexis and so, so many more.

And today?  Today is Lauren’s birthday.  She has done so much for PPD awareness and even on her birthday she wants to keep advocating.  Today she announced that is the 1st Annual Postpartum Awareness Balloon Release, and asked PPD survivors everyone to release a purple balloon with a note and her blog address attached.

Being a PPD survivor?  I joined in.

Today I bought a half dozen purple balloons.  Eddie had one with a message and so did I.  The others?  They were just pur-dee.

After attaching our notes of hope, Eddie and I headed out to the front yard to release our balloons.  To let our hope float.

I am not going to lie.  It was a bit emotional letting go of that junk that is PPD with my little guy at my side.

And together we waved Buh-Bye to PPD and all the crap that comes with it.  Eddie’s balloon soared high above the trees and left our field of vision quickly.

Mine?  Mine got stuck in the telephone wires.  Right next to the house.

Cortney smiled and shook his head and said, “sort of symbolic, isn’t it?”

UGG!  I told him I just wanted them to soar away while we waved so I could type up a happy, feel-good post about it.  But no, my damn balloons got stuck.  ON OUR PROPERTY!

Is this a sign?  Sheesh, I hope not!

So I decided to play with Eddie for a bit outside.  We were happily playing “chase the golf ball” when I looked and noticed that the balloons were still attached to that stupid wire, but had inched their way all the way down to the actual electric pole.  And switched wires.

We kept playing.

A few times I would look up and think they were gone, but then notice that they were just hiding behind the pole.

Isn’t that just like PPD?  You think you have dramatically let it go and it’s gone, but it sits there just out of sight sometimes waiting for you.  Letting you know it’s still there.

Even now, from the house I can see that they are way down the lines…but still there.  still hanging on.  still dancing in the setting sun.

but they are far enough away now that i forget that they are stuck to the wire every now and then.  And that?  That is also like PPD.  When it’s managed and being taken care of?  I don’t really think about it.

Which means, I think I can officially wave buh-bye to it.

Just like Eddie did.

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