heartcare

My post for The Red Dress Club is at Exploded Moments today.  It’s about a memory involving a game.

**************

My summer was slipping by.

I was stuck in the house day in and day out with a colicky infant.  People were doing things and having fun and relaxing their summers away, and I was crying all the time.

I wanted to get away from my child, but I didn’t want to.

I wanted to love him and snuggle him and have wonderful days.

But I also wanted to run out the front door because my head wouldn’t stop pounding from his screams.

He never slept by himself.  He always had to be held.

I couldn’t get anything done.

I had postpartum depression and didn’t know it.

*************

The plan was that Eddie would go to daycare full time when I went back to work in the fall, but that he would go maybe a half day or a day a week for a couple weeks before that just so he (and I) could get used to the daycare routine.

Notice I said “plan” and “was”?

Yeah.  We should have learned by now that when we make life plans?  They rarely go our way.

And my plan to love every minute of being home with my little boy?  Definitely didn’t pan out the way I thought it would.

Cort convinced me to call our daycare provider and see if she could take Eddie for a half day, one day a week.  Just to give me a break.

She said yes.

It was a relief and a terror at the same time.

I had never left my baby with anyone other than family–and at that point not even many of them had been left alone with him.

As much as I wanted to get away, I couldn’t imagine my baby being somewhere without me.

The day I left Eddie for the first time, I couldn’t even stay and chat.  I must have looked like I was in a huge hurry, but really I was racing against my tears.

They began to fall before I even got back in my car.

And I started to ugly cry as I realized I had run out so fast I hadn’t even kissed him goodbye.

That afternoon my house got cleaned from top to bottom for the first time in months.  And I took a shower.  Before 6pm.

It was wonderful.

*************

Miss Amy has been a friend of mine for years.  She and I scrapbook together which means we have gone through pregnancies (mostly hers) and breakups (mostly mine) and laughed until we cried.  Plus she lives about 4.5 minutes from my house.  And that is just because I have to leave my subdivision to get to hers.  If I walked though the woods from my front yard to her backyard?  It would probably only take about 2.5 minutes.

She is loving and caring and wonderful.

She was the only person I ever wanted as a daycare provider, and when we got pregnant with Eddie, she didn’t have any openings.

Her license only allows her to take six children at a time and she was booked solid.

I refused to worry about it.  I knew something would come up and it would work out.  And honestly?  I had no idea that it would be so hard to leave my baby.  I was a clueless first time mom who had a rosey outlook on everything.

I remember being so excited when Miss Amy emailed us to tell us that she was losing a couple kids due to moving and other things and that if we wanted a spot for Eddie full time, it was ours.

There was squee-ing involved.

And we thought our world was perfect.

Then I had PPD.

But she was there for me.

Then Cort lost his job.

But she was there for us and let Eddie continue to come once a week, keeping a spot for him in case Cort found work.

And then Cort found work.

And we thought our world was perfect again.

*************

I never knew that leaving your child with someone else is like leaving a piece of your heart behind.

That first day that I left Eddie with Amy I cried of a broken heart.

She had part of it in her arms, and I could feel that.

Even now, when I am at work, she holds that piece of my heart safe all day.  She nurtures him and loves him like her own.  He said “Ahh ee” before he said “maa maa”.

It hurts less knowing that piece is being cared for, but it’s still an ache until I see him again at the end of the day.

But I always trust that when I get that piece of my heart back?  It will be in better shape than I left it.

*************

This weekend we got the news that next fall Amy won’t be able to take Eddie anymore.

There are lots of circumstances that I won’t go into, but with Eddie, she will exceed her six children limit.

We totally understand that she has to do this.

We know she is broken up about losing her little buddy.

I wish I could say that because I logically understand and know we will find something else, I feel fine about the whole thing.

But I don’t.

I cried ugly tears again last night at the thought of letting someone new hold a piece of my heart.

I buried my face in my pillow trying not to imagine my little boy meeting new people, learning new rules, and trying to nap in an unfamiliar place.

I know he will adapt.

He is braver and stronger than I am.

I just wish I could explain to him.  I wish I could make him understand and prepare him.

He is my heart.

How do I prepare my heart for this change?

*************

My dearest readers, Amy reads my blog.  And while I don’t believe any of you would say cruel things, I just thought it would be fair to tell you that she reads.  My intent is not to make her feel bad about any of this, just to share my heart.  And right now my heart hurts.

a rough start to our journey

It’s been two weeks since I announced publicly that Sluiter Nation is looking to add a new member.

I wish I could say things have been all happy and butterflies since this announcement.  But not so much.

I quit my birth control a few months ago because it was giving me horrible cycles.  And now I have acne like a 13-year old.

But that is manageable.

I got a pretty bad cold a couple weeks ago, but I recovered, and that has nothing to do with this.

Or does it?

I still have the cough.

But it’s not a reasonable cough that is all congested and then I hack it up.

No.  It is a rattle that I can hear and feel, Cort can hear, others can hear, but pretends that it doesn’t exist when I cough.  It just stays put and makes me look like a big cough-faker.

What does this have to do with making a baby?

I’m getting to that.

So I have this cough.

And zits.

And now?  I am starting a new cycle and my OB would like to see me try this pregnancy with no anti-depressants (I am currently on Celexa, for all you note-takers).

We talked about this in August at my last appointment, and I talked about it with my General Practitioner, and I talked about it with my Therapist.

Fear not, it has been discussed.

I know how to wean off the meds safely.

I also know that both my GP and my Therapist are standing at the ready because they would both like to see me on something.

“A healthy mom comes first.  Then a healthy baby can follow.”

But we all understand where the OB is coming from.  Why take meds if you can get by without?  And they all agree that pregnancy hormones could very well “even me out” to where I won’t need them until postpartum again.

And thus began The Wean.

Halved my dose until I was ready to do a half dose every other day.

I am on every other day right now.

People?  This is hard.

So hard.

At first I only had physical side effects that were annoying at best.  I had sort of a fuzzy feeling in my head, headaches, a tightness in my back, and an occasional “buzzing” sound/feeling in my brain.

I still had this cough the whole time.

I continued to taper.

My back got worse and worse.  It’s a pain in my upper back, most the left side, behind my shoulder blade that feels like someone has a knife in my muscle and is twisting.  And while they twist, the muscle rips and simultaneously wraps itself around the knife.

It sucks.

And it’s there constantly.  No medication makes it feel better.

There is also exhaustion.  Sheer exhaustion.

But I continue to taper my antidepressant.

Wednesday was my first day with NO dose.  I was surprised at how Ok my brain felt.

Today?  Everything crashed.

My pain in my back and neck is worse.

I could fall asleep on a dime, I am so damn tired.

My cough is less productive, but the rattling is still present.

And my mind?

Today I had to put my head down on my desk more than twice to control the Raging Bitch Monster that was welling in me.  The very same Monster that took over my brain when I had undiagnosed PPD.

Tears welled in my eyes as I felt an urge to lash out at everyone.

Just like before.  But this time I saw the Monster coming.

Everything today sucked because of this dumb Monster.

And just because I knew what it was, didn’t make it less terrible.  In fact, knowing it was coming and who it was and that just by NOT taking my meds as usual, I had opened a door to let this Beast in?  Pissed me off.

So I am emotional and ragey because of detoxing and I am emotional and ragey because I can see it’s NOT going to be Ok.

Today was hard.

And my back still hurts.

And my cough is still there.

And now my wrist hurts.

I have an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner on Monday.   Things need to be sorted out.

Because this is not a happy way to start our journey toward Sluiter Baby #2.

*************

Tomorrow I will post the first in my three-part series on how I built Sluiter Nation: The Blog including Tips for Blogger, Switching to WP, and all things Social Media in Between.

the right wrong

It’s a mistake to think things can’t get worse because they always can.

The day can be normal, and with a quick, routine glance at the computer, life changes.

I had gotten a brief email earlier stating the minimum:  He had been laid off.  Unexpectedly.

Yes, the company was having some financial troubles, but who wasn’t?

Yes, we were expecting there to be layoffs, but not BOTH salesmen–certainly not someone who went from sweeping the floors in the shop to being the go-to guy for inside sales.

We were in shock.

My mind was reeling with questions and worst case scenarios as I drove home in the autumn sunshine.  The day seemed so happy and light, but I was slowly sinking into my catastrophic thinking.

The next day he was supposed to collect his stuff.

And then apply for unemployment.

Unemployment.

The word felt like sour rusty metal in our mouths.

It was for the rest of the country.  Not us.

Family business meant security.

If anyone was going to lose her job, it was me.  Our district had been making cuts left and right, and I had already held one of those pink slips.

Pink paper is heavier than other colors, and the weight of that slip nearly broke him.

My husband is strong.

I watched him hold himself upright with dry eyes at his dad’s funeral just days after having abdominal surgery.

He had held the pieces of me after I broke from two miscarriages.

In that moment, my steadfast partner lost his sparkle.  He was starting to fade.

From that exact moment that he had to look at me, and not just type out the situation to me, he began to lose something.

I suddenly stepped into a role that was unfamiliar to me.

We will be ok, I heard myself saying.

Even though on the inside I had completely lost my shit.

Even though there was a buzzing behind my eyes of worry and anxiety.

Everything will be fine, babe.  Really.

Sometimes you just say things and hope they are true.

For seventeen months we were blinded by budgets and money scrapping and never saying no to extra opportunities.

And the whole time Eddie was given the gift of a stay at home parent.

He was given his daddy.

It’s a mistake to think that everything is wrong.

Because sometimes the most important things are very, very right.

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

“no” is an answer

Oh I believe in miracles…

I believe in a better world…for me and you.

Oh..Oh I believe in miracles…

I believe in a better world…for me and you.*

Dear Lord, please heal Cort’s dad.  Take the cancer away and make him whole.

No.

Dear Lord, please let this bleeding be normal and NOT a miscarriage.

No.

Dear Lord, I want to be a mom so badly.  Please help my body know what to do.

Not yet.

Dear Lord, please don’t make me go through another miscarriage.  I am too weak.  I can’t do it.

Yes, you can.  And you will.

Dear Lord, please save me from being on the “cut” list for work.

No.

Dear Lord, please help Cort keep his job in these hard times.

No.

Dear Lord, please make these demons leave my head.  Please make me the mom others think I am.  Please help me fix this crazy.

No.  You can’t fix yourself alone.

Why, Lord?  Why us?  We are good people and hard workers.  We try to be like Jesus and love people and give of ourselves.  WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?

—silence—

Lord, I want to turn my back!  I want to do this alone.  I think you must have lost your “plan” for us somewhere.  You have left us!

Go ahead and try.

Lord, this is our plan…please oh PLEASE let it work.

No.

Lord, I can’t be in charge.  I can’t make anything work right.  Just please handle it for me.  Please let me find someone who will love me for everything I am RIGHT NOW.

Here is Cortney.

Lord, I can’t make things better with Cort’s dad.  He is going to die.  Please let me know what to do to help Cort.

I will strengthen your shoulders and pad your hugs.

Lord, he lost his dad and his appendix and now he is alone in the hospital.  What do I do?

Stay with him.  I’ll be there too.

Lord, I only have one try left.  I can only try once more.  Please bless us with a child this time.

Here is Edward Steven.

Lord, please help me keep my job.  My family needs me to provide.

You will teach Spanish.  You can also teach at the college.

Lord, I can’t change myself.  I need help.

Here is Cortney.  Here is your family.  Here is an internet full of support.  Here are your friends.  Here is your doctor.  Here is Celexa.  Here is a therapist.

Lord, what will we do?  Unemployment runs out in August.

Here is a job for Cortney.

Sometimes the answer is no.

But sometimes?  The answer is yes.

No matter how many times you falter.  He will save some “yes’s” for you.

This week?  He finally said YES to Cort’s job prayers after many, MANY no’s.

We are blessed.

*lyrics from “I believe in miracles” by Pearl Jam

If you also believe in miracles, please pray for our nephew(s)/niece(s) in Ethiopia.  Our siblings were dealt a GIANT “no” this week in their adoption process.  Please read about it here.

Click to vote every 24 hours for Sluiter Nation to win the Mom Central grant!

And don’t forget to shop my Thirty-One party!  Ends this week! (go to “my events” and shop my party–Katie Sluiter).


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.

tiny reminder

Spring had come, and with spring, baby showers.

So many cute little jammies and hats and shoes and onsies and teeny tiny pants.

I sat in the middle of the almost finished nursery carefully cutting tags and placing items into a basket to be washed.

My first load of itty bitty items.

The socks were so small.  Would they get lost in the great big washing machine?  Would they get eaten in the dryer?

snip snip snip.

I held each item to my round, growing tummy.

I told Eddie how sweet he would look.

There had been quite a few showers, and as I worked through the pile, I remembered the guests at each one.

Who had given me these cute overalls, and who had gifted my son with the warm jammies, and who had squealed with me as I opened the hand-made hats.

I was happily snipping the tags off what I thought was the last blankie when I saw it.

It was wrinkled and shoved to the bottom of the pile.

The tags had already been eagerly clipped off long ago in hopes of already belonging in the rotation of clothing for a small one.

I picked up the tiny white onsie.

I ran my fingers over the two embroidered ducks and the wording on the front.

“Mommy and Me.”

I tried to brush the cat hair and dust from the front–clearly the cat had been the only warm body enjoying this discarded memento of the past.

I shook my head and threw it to the top of the pile in the basket– and in turn,  the memory out of the front of my mind.

And let my hands rest on my swollen middle.

As if he knew I was distracted, Eddie pushed a heel up and out near my ribs.

I gently rubbed his little foot back into a more comfortable position and realize…he will wear that onsie.

His older siblings never did.  They never made it to the clothing stage of life.

They  never made it to life.

But he will wear it.

He will wiggle and cry and sigh and giggle in it.

He will lie in my arms and sleep in it.

I picked up the harsh reminder again and looked at it.

Then, gently, I spread it across my tummy where Eddie rolled and flutter kicked me.

A smile for what would be spread slowly across my face and moistened my eyes.

Just as quickly as the sadness had come, Eddie took it away.

———

pssst.  I am guest posting today at the lovely Hannah’s place, Peggy Ann Design.  Name sound familiar?  It should!  She is one of my amazing sponsors! This month is the Month of Hannah!  Valentine’s Day, her (leap year) birthday, and her anniversary all in one month!  To help celebrate she asked little old ME to guest post!  yippee!!!

So hop on over to her place and leave a little love on this Friday, would ya?

promises kept

I could never have imagined the power behind the vows I was uttering.

I could never have fathomed that each line would come to fruition in fewer than six years.

For better…

we were three people who were once two, alone in a hospital room.  a family.

me drowsing–belly sore, limbs bloated, womb empty.

Cort resting–eyes closed, feet up on the little couch, head back, a small bundle on his chest.

Eddie sleeping–warm and dry, breathing in the world.

…or for worse…

All eyes on us–the poor children–as we lead the procession into the sanctuary.

We sat alone in the second row–behind only the widow, the preacher, and the eulogists.

Cort, me, Cody, Liz, Kenzie…and mom squeezed in from back in her row up to be next to her daughter to hold her hand and catch her tears. to be there for her kids.

The rest?  Is a blur.

…for richer…

we have each other.

we have a sweet boy.

we have a house.

we have two vehicles.

we have love.

…or for poorer…

We thought it would be me losing my job.

Every year the cuts got closer.

So close I actually saw MY name on a cut list while Eddie kicked happily and obliviously inside.

But it never happened.

I continued to work.

But he did not.

…in sickness…

Cort has a three scars–none even an inch long.

He doesn’t have an appendix.  It left him the same day his dad left this world.

I have one visible scar–probably around close to seven inches long.

It was the best way to become a mother and still stay in this world.

Cort has scars you can’t see.

Battle wounds from a verbally abusive, mentally sick wife.

I have invisible scars too.

Etched on my heart from mastering the art of losing.

…and in health.

Cort lounges sleepily on the couch only slightly aware that a curly-haired toddler is barreling toward him.

Eddie throws himself at the couch and climbs clumsily and awkwardly grabbing at Cort.

Once on the couch he steamrolls his daddy and monsters his way into position next to him.

Not to be left out, I pounce across the room and join the snuggly, giggly pile.

I do.

When Cort leaned in to kiss me for the first time as his wife?  We didn’t feel what happened…but we would soon find out.

Our whole world shifted.

I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

my love boat captain

Is this just another day…this god forgotten place?

First comes love, then comes pain.  Let the games begin…

Questions rise and answers fall…insurmountable.

This week has been one of those weeks where my brain worked on a specific topic from every angle imaginable.  My mind and heart do not process hurt well.  I have taken this particular item and let it consume me–asking Cort questions that seemed silly to him, but were so very serious to me.

My mind is swirling.

My heart is swelling and then aching and tingling with possibility and then crushed with reject.

My perceptions of happiness coming up short and oh so wrong.

love and disappointment and grief a tangled mess.

I’m tired.

Is this just another phase?  Earthquakes making waves…

Trying to shake the cancer off?  Stupid human beings…

Once you hold the hand of love…all’s surmountable.

Bad things happen to us all.  I know this.

Lately I have been obsessed with our list of “bad” and it has been hard to see the good.

I go through these funks.  Where our list of strikes against us seems so big…so…insurmountable.

And this week I just couldn’t take my mind off one burning question: what if it became too much.  What if I had to do this all…alone.

It’s an art to live with pain…mix the light into gray,

lost 9 friends we’ll never know…2 years ago today,

And if our lives become too long, would it add to our regret?

But I don’t have to do it alone.

He reassured me of that.

The hurt?  The pain?  The mountains of obstacles?

They are ours. not mine.

Ours.

And the young, they can lose hope cause they can’t see beyond today…

The wisdom that the old can’t give away.

Hey,

Constant recoil…

Sometimes life

don’t leave you alone…

The idea of forever and love and marriage has confused me.

Possibilities have given me hope, while at the same time have left me questioning myself.

Being on the brink of…I don’t even know…has me antsy and wondering.

I don’t do waiting well.

Especially when I don’t know what I am waiting for.

Hold me and make it the truth,

That when all is lost there will be you.

Cause to the universe I don’t mean a thing,

And there’s just one word I still believe and it’s…

love…love. love. love. love.

He will stay with me.

Because even though we have had a lot of bad…

we still have a lot of bad…

we will continue to be thrown bad….

He will hold my hand.

Love boat captain,

take the reigns…steer us toward the clear

I know it’s already been sung…can’t be said enough,

Love is all you need…all you need is love.

Love…Love…

Love.

My love boat captain

all lyrics from “love boat captain” by pearl jam
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...